Times have changed
by Terry McQuitty
I enjoyed a guys retreat at a cottage on Buckhorn Lake this past weekend. A group of friends from university got together, played some poker and discussed almost any topic you can imagine. The one conversation that kept resurfacing was that of gun control and the differences between attitudes in Canada and the United States.
Speaking of the United States it was pretty much agreed that possessing a gun is part of the American culture. One of the people at the cottage was Jim Ketchen, Assistant Professor of Law and Justice, Humanities and Social Sciences at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Ketchen spoke about the Second Amendment of the American Constitution, but said that it was not the main factor in the American attitude regarding gun ownership. The real change in U.S. beliefs came after the civil war. Following the conflict almost every surviving soldier brought home a rifle or pistol and eventually it became the perceived right of the American citizen.
We also had a lawyer on hand for the conversation. Bill Kelly of McNielly & Kelly in Oshawa talked about the constitution as a legal document. The fact that the document was developed over 200 years ago says much about the social issues of the day. The fact that the Second Amendment states that citizens have the right to bear arms, it does not include when or how these rights should be enacted.
Kelly also said that a 200 year old legal document has been altered over the years to address social issues of the day. One example is the original document described African Americans as three quarters human.
It is time the Americans defined the right to bear arms and address the need for the general population to own automatic weapons. There is only one use for such a weapon and that is to kill human beings.
Iím glad I live in a country where guns are the exception rather than the rule.
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