This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
According to CNN, December 23, 2012
Washington (CNN) -- For National Rifle Association Vice President Wayne LaPierre and many other pro-gun Americans, the task is clear: The best way to protect children from becoming victims of a slaughter like the one seen last week in Newtown, Connecticut, is to make sure every school in America has "qualified armed security."
For President Barack Obama, many Democratic leaders and a slight majority of the American public, the solution starts with tougher legislation on assault weapons, universal background checks and limits on high-capacity magazines, the first steps needed to begin to make it harder to get at the kinds of firearms that kill thousands of Americans each year.
Where some may have hoped for concessions on the NRA's staunch pro-gun, guns-don't-kill-people-people-kill-people stance, the NRA stayed the course, and even doubled down. They offered no willingness to consider any of the proposals offered this week to amend gun laws including limiting access to assault weapons, requiring universal background checks, limiting sales at gun shows and increasing the use of trigger locks.
Instead, the group pointed to media sensationalism, violent video games, gun-free zones in schools, the failure to enforce gun laws already on the books, issues with the nation's mental health system and other societal problems as feeding the spate of gun violence.
Obama appealed to the pro-gun lobby who he said "has members who are mothers and fathers" likely impacted by the shooting. But then he also invited them to "do some self-reflection."
Authorities must work to make "access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun," and the country needs to tackle a "culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence," he said.
According to FoxNews.com, December 30, 2012
JERUSALEM – Americans intent on ensuring a school massacre like the one in Newtown, Conn., never happens again could learn a lot from Israel, where the long menu of precautions includes armed teachers.
The Jewish state, which has long faced threats of terrorist strikes in crowded locations including schools, takes an all-of-the-above approach to safety in the classroom. Fences, metal detectors and armed private guards are part of a strategy overseen by the country’s national police. And the idea of armed teachers in the classroom, which stirred much controversy in the wake of the U.S. attack, has long been in practice in Israel, though a minority of them carry weapons today.
Congress and The President vs. The Constitution
US Constitution; 1st Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
US Constitution; 2nd Amendment
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.
US Constitution; Presidential Oath of Office
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
We the People:
We are seemingly faced with choosing to violate the Constitution either by restricting speech or by restricting it gun rights. But this is a false choice; there are other options. If speech restrictions are needed to regulate video games, then amend the constitution if you can. If gun restrictions are the right thing to do, then amend the Constitution- if you can. However citizens from both sides should send strong messages to our leaders not to violate it. In the meantime, having armed trained officials in schools has a long-established precedent and does not violate the Constitution.