I wish I lived in a different country.
The country I’d like to live in doesn’t exist, but I can imagine it.
It would be a country with lots of colleges and universities. The people would be free to criticize the government without fear of being arrested for it. The weather would be, in most places, pretty nice for at least half the year. And they’d have thriving fields of science and medicine and entertainment. So far, it sounds pretty similar to where I live now. But this fictional country would have a very different approach to firearms.
In this fictional country, only members of the national guard would be allowed to have firearms. Most police officers would carry non-lethal weapons. If you joined the national guard, they’d train you for sixteen weeks on how to be a responsible soldier, including proper use of a firearm. Then they’d issue you an assault rifle and a sidearm, with bullets to go with it. In the national guard, you’d spend one weekend each month and two full weeks every year, on duty. When you went home, you’d take your weapons with you to your house, and you’d be personally responsible for keeping those weapons safe and ready. As soon as you left the national guard (for whatever reason), you’d have to give back the weapons and account for every single bullet they’d issued to you.
In this fictional country, the national guard would be very professional, well practiced and well disciplined (or, to use an old-fashioned term for it, “regulated”). Not just anyone could join. It would have to be that way, because there wouldn’t be a standing army. The national guard would be our first and last line of defense against attackers. In a time of war, they could be called up at a moment’s notice. And they’d never go on offense, traveling halfway around the world to attack someone who hadn’t attacked us. It would be defense only. That’s why I like the name “national guard” instead of “militia”, because it emphasizes the fact that the purpose is to guard the nation, not to go attacking other nations. So, “militia” would be a good name too, but we can’t let it sound like just a bunch of unorganized people with guns. It would be a well-regulated militia (a very professional and highly organized national guard).
This fictional country would have a national law saying that, as long as you’re a national guard member in good standing, local governments can’t disarm you. Maybe they could require you to wear your uniform while you are carrying the weapons, but they couldn’t force you to leave your weapons locked up. I mean, obviously you can’t be ready to defend the nation at a moment’s notice if the militia has to keep the weapons locked away in an armory somewhere miles away. The people who are in the militia should keep their weapons at home or carry them around.
In order to remind people of how important it was to keep this defense ready (and to emphasize the fact that it only applied to members of the militia who are in good standing), the law would state quite clearly its purpose. The purpose would be to ensure the security of the country, not for hunting or for stopping burglars. So the law would start with, “A well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state,“, just to make that clear. Then it would finish with, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
So everyone who seriously cared about the security of the country (the state), and not just their own security or their family’s security, could apply to join the national guard (the well-regulated militia). After completing extensive training, and only while they kept up their membership, they’d be required to keep their military weapons ready to defend the country. No local law could infringe on that.
In this fictional country, it would be almost impossible for an unhappy teenager to get military weapons and shoot up a school. There wouldn’t be very many weapons around to try to get. Such weapons would be extremely expensive on the black market. It would be very hard to raise that much money. And people who are mentally unstable would never make it through basic training, so they’d always be outmatched by professions who were better prepared. A soldier who suffered a breakdown would be given mental health treatment, but they would not carry weapons unless or until they were cleared to return to duty.
Of course, this law would be subject to change. I mean, this all sounds like a great idea now but it’s hard to predict what unexpected problems would arise in the future. So we’d have to emphasize that, when necessary, the law itself could be amended. For example, if we ever decided that a standing army was a better way to ensure our security, then maybe the militia wouldn’t be necessary anymore. And we could then change the law, obviously. Or maybe language itself would evolve over the centuries, to the point where we’d have to rewrite the law for the sake of clarity. Maybe we’d reword it to say “As long as our country needs a professional and well-trained national guard, local laws shall not prevent members of the national guard from storing and carrying their issued weapons.”
I wish I lived in that fictional country.
But, instead, I was born in a country where we have a completely different law. The law we have here guarantees that anyone, with or without any training, can have a gun and use it for hunting, or shooting trespassers. And you don’t even have to belong to a militia at all, let alone a well-regulated one. Totally different. And there’s absolutely nothing that I can do about it because this law absolutely cannot be changed.
Oh well. *sigh*