The right to bear arms 56



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The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution, adopted on December 15, 1791 (part of the first ten amendments to the constitution, collectively known as the Bill of Rights), protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.

Effectively this means an individual can own guns for their personal use and for use in the militia. Whilst upholding the Second Amendment, The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the right is not unlimited and does not prohibit all regulation of either firearms or similar devices. State and local governments are limited to the same extent as the federal government from infringing this right.

Before the Bill of Rights, in countries with an English common law tradition, the long standing right to keep and bear arms was recognised, as pre-existing in common law, prior even to the existence of written national constitutions. In Australia, such rights are not legislated; in fact, it is just the opposite. We have no right to own guns for private use, with few exceptions, and each firearm of any description requires registration.

What the second amendment has become is a thorn in the side of legislators trying to control gun related violence.

Our Starts at Sixty publisher, Rebecca Wilson, posted a picture from the USA of a Christmas gift available from Walmart – look and weep. Pretty isn’t it? A pink gun makes it so much more acceptable to a young woman don’t you think?

I find this photo terrifying! We lived on a farm as kids and Dad had a gun to deal with vermin. We all knew where the gun was kept and that the area was out of bounds. Yet even so, my father always so careful to check the gun was not loaded, and to hide the bullets, managed one day to put a bullet through the floor as he picked up the gun. Even as semi-rural-dwelling kids, we never received our own guns for Christmas, not even pretty pink ones!

Comedian Chris Rock is well known for his raw comedy. I am not a fan; I prefer more subtle comedy, with no blasphemy and coarse words. So why am I quoting him in an article about the right to bear arms? Because his Saturday Night Live rant makes perfect sense to me:

“You don’t need no gun control, you know what you need? We need some bullet control. Men, we need to control the bullets, that’s right. I think all bullets should cost five thousand dollars… five thousand dollars per bullet… You know why? Cause if a bullet cost five thousand dollars there would be no more innocent bystanders.

Yeah! Every time somebody get shot we’d say, ‘Damn, he must have done something … ****, he’s got fifty thousand dollars worth of bullets in his ***.’

And people would think before they killed somebody if a bullet cost five thousand dollars. ‘Man I would blow your ******* head off…if I could afford it’. ‘I’m gonna get me another job, I’m going to start saving some money, and you’re a dead man. You’d better hope I can’t get no bullets on layaway” 

So effectively Chris Rock says “don’t change the constitution” – people can bear arms to their hearts content – BUT they have to pay heavily for their bullets. Now that is lateral thinking! The Second Amendment confers the right to bear arms; it does not offer a price guarantee.

I started this blog before the tragic events in Martin Place and then I hesitated to finish and publish it. Please read it in the spirit in which it is written, an opinion. It is not a commentary on current events.


What do you think, will Chris Rock’s $5,000 bullets reduce the gun crime in the USA? If so, why? And if not, what is another solution?

Karen OBrien Hall

Karen O'Brien-Hall followed many careers in her life and loved each one! From accountancy to the hospitality industry, from managing an employment agency to Executive Assistant to the Chairman of a multi-national, when she retired Karen was in Public Relations. Whatever her career path at the time, Karen is a lifelong volunteer. Married to "the love of my life", John, her second love is community theatre where she enjoys acting and directing. Karen enjoys time in her garden and can always finds time to read, around 8 – 10 books a month. Her reviews appear on Starts at Sixty, Goodreads,The Reading Room and her own page

  1. Karen, thank you for the article. Anything that makes society think about the matter is worthy. Even after many years thinking it through, I only wish I knew the ultimate answer.

  2. A friend and I have been saying this for years. Make the ammo more expensive also make the dies for home made bullets at $100k.

  3. Sitting among friends one day I announce that when I am crowned Empress of the world my first action will be to close all the arms factories right across the world. But $5000 dollar bullets might also work.

  4. Brilliant idea. Governments tax the hell out of tobacco and alcohol so why not bullets and guns for that matter.

  5. Interestingly enough on the New Zealand Statutes is the Bill of Rights 1688, an imperial statute, and it is this statute that legitimises parliament to make laws, I assume this statute also forms part of Australian law as well.

    Right to bear arms article VI
    Disarming Protestants

    By causing several good subjects, being Protestants, to be disarmed, at the same time when Papists were both armed and employed, contrary to law:

  6. Love the idea and totally agree with Geoff Hunt we can,t help it if the gun slingers cant afford bullets

  7. Plenty of shooters make their own ammo. so making it more expensive will achieve nothing. The reality is that the US actually has it’s own military these days, so the public don’t need to worry about defending themselves from the red coats anymore. Let’s face it, the gun laws are 200+ years out of date, but it’s probably too late to do anything about it now anyway…. 😎

  8. No guns.. people kill and use guns as a weapon, you can kill 100 with a gun very quickly but it is not so easy to stab that many

  9. Guns only as part of working life ie for farmers,rangers, Vets etc. & make it hard for these people to obtain gun licence, s & restrict type of guns. & strict storage guidelines.

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