In 1791 a second amendment was added to the United States Constitution; “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed“. More than 200 years later this short sentence is still being used to obstruct all attempts to impose any control over the ownership of firearms in the USA. A few days ago 14 people were brutally murdered by a man and his wife who owned an arsenal of assault rifles and hand guns sufficient to arm a “militia”. On average 88 people are killed by guns every day in the USA, more than 20 times the average of other developed countries. The National Rifle Association along with many US politicians oppose even the most modest control of gun ownership, citing this text as their justification and even recommend more rather than less guns as the solution to this horrific problem.
The attacks on America in 2001 by Islamist terrorists and the numerous attacks since culminating in a campaign of grotesque savagery by so called Islam State has also been justified by citing text, this time not a political document but a religious one, the Koran.
No doubt those die-hard fanatics in the US Congress would be affronted by this description of them but their justification that a text written at a period in history that bears no resemblance to our own should still hold sway, makes them common bed fellows with the Islamists who justify their actions on a somewhat older text. An enlightened society would of course reject both and support policies that are of benefit to all humankind. If America has any right to claim leadership of the “free world” then it must at the very least ban all multi-shot weapons and in the long term the ownership of weapons altogether. If the wise counsel of the founding fathers was available today do we really think that they would support the right to bear arms, I think not.