The idea of a universal background check sounds good on the surface and most people see it as a reasonable thing to do in order to try to make sure that those attempting to purchase a firearm are not known to be someone who should not have one. Proponents claim that it will stop felons or mentally disturbed people from acquiring these weapons. Opponents claim that this is nothing more than a placebo that is just feel good legislation because there are too many ways for these people to acquire weapons outside the channels that would be required to perform them. It is sort of like thinking that laws against using or selling drugs will keep drugs off the streets and keep our children safe from them. Some opponents believe the purpose of the universal background check is to build a completely updated list of which law abiding citizens have what weapons and because there is also a call for this on the purchase of ammunition, they believe it would also provide data on the amount of ammunition that is in the hands of law abiding citizens. They complain that it would do nothing to gain any insights on outlaws since outlaws would not participate, so it does not make sense to view it as a means to try to control outlaws. There are already background checks in place that tend to keep outlaws trading on the black market and no matter how universal they make the requirement for a background check, there is no way to get the black market to participate. Opponents also express concern about the reasoning for universal background checks if it really does not do anything to limit unwanted firearms sales? There is concern that this information would allow for the confiscation of the arms and ammo from law abiding citizens if the government decided to. Even if this is not the intention, it certainly does present the opportunity of this government or any invading force to use this information to this end.
If we are to believe what we learned in history class then our forefathers reached a point of revolution over the taxation of tea. Certainly there were many more issues, but this tea tax was the proverbial straw. Tea was a basic commodity of the day that was consumed by most colonialists and the tax had a direct impact on them all. When you consider what the colonial leaders had to put at risk and what their chances were, is the idea of revolting against our government today even a possibility any more? Surely today we are subject to much greater taxes, and some would say these taxes have a greater impact on our lives than the tea tax did on colonial life. With tis healthcare law we are looking at the prospect of such an increase in taxation that it will truly have a greater impact on our lives.
The question of the second amendment rights seems to always point to a couple of areas; that of hunting and protecting oneself from would be assailants. There is also an undertone along the idea that weapons of today could not be foreseen and that our forefathers would have done things differently had they known.
With respect to the technological advances in weaponry, it is often mentioned that the only weapons at the time were muskets which were very limited in their ability to do harm. This is not a true statement. There were a number of other weapons available during that era. The blunderbuss, a shotgun of sorts, capable of placing a swath of projectiles into a target area up to 50 yards away. Mortars and cannons were used to deliver bombs that were powder filled projectiles that exploded on delivery. The cannon was also used with a number of other types of “shot”. Case, container, grape and pineapple shot, which were essentially a way of placing many lead or iron balls into one projectile resulting in a spread much like the blunderbuss but with a range up to 600 yards. Split shot was simply a cannonball split in halve so that it took two paths upon firing. Chain and rod shot was the use of split shot (or two separate cannonballs) joined together by either a chain or a rod, resulting in a device that rotated around its center of mass used to target the mast and rigging of ships or the legs of horses and/or men. Hot shot was iron shot that was heated red hot in a fire and used to deliver fire-causing attacks. In addition to the blunderbuss, mortar and cannon, there were also pistols, and though they were limited in range and accuracy, they were something that could be concealed. And finally, in addition to other weapons being available, though limited in availability, the advent of grooved barrels improved both accuracy and range of the musket and could be considered the technological advancement in weaponry of the time.