The U.S. Supreme Court, in D.C. v. Heller in 2008, clarified that an individual does have a right to possess a firearm independent of service in a well-regulated militia – which means the National Guard and not terrorist groups like Proud Boys or Oath Keepers. In that same ruling, the court clarified the government can indeed pass gun regulations. Despite this ruling, many cite sensible gun restrictions as "infringement."

Gun regulations are not an infringement on anyone's Second Amendment rights, and if you do not have any felonies on your record, why are you so concerned about expanded background checks? The expanded checks are designed to keep firearms from falling into the hands of unstable and dangerous individuals. The 2015 Charleston shooting is a prime example of the loophole that allows firearms transactions to proceed, despite an incomplete background check.

I see ridiculous memes on Facebook that employ totally flawed logic regarding the recent convoluted meme that reads “Let’s reduce drunk driving by taking cars away from sober drivers.” First of all, there are too many people in America who are incredibly delusional who believe the government is going to embark on a massive gun confiscation program, and this meme makes the apples-and-oranges comparison to drunken driving. If you want to pick apart the logic of the meme, you have to remember who loses a driver's license in the aftermath of a drunken driving conviction. It is not the sober drivers who lose their driving privileges.

The government doesn't want to infringe on a person's Second Amendment rights, but rather make the country safer. Gun control is effective, and in the wake of the Port Arthur, Australia, shooting in 1996, the Australian government implemented a strict licensing and registration program, as well as a massive buyback program.

The Second Amendment rights of Americans are upheld, but if you as an American citizen violate the federal or state statutes from a felony standpoint, you lose that right, and a person who has been convicted of especially violent felony crimes deserves to lose that right. This is a gun-obsessed nation, and when you compare homicide rates around the world to the U.S., this becomes clear. It is as if the U.S. has become a country where millions of citizens champion the idea of unregulated firearms over voting rights, considering that over 40 state legislatures have voter suppression bills on the table.

One argument I grow extremely tired of hearing is the idea that gun control will prevent law-abiding citizens from acquiring firearms, and that the criminal element will manage to always procure guns. The expanded background checks are designed to keep convicted and violent felons from purchasing firearms, thus this type of sensible gun control is a measure that will keep a dangerous assault weapons from winding up in the hands of a potential mass shooter. An American whose background is devoid of any felony convictions can successfully purchase a firearm after the screening comes back clean, so why do gun enthusiasts continue to be so skeptical of such sensible measures?

In the final analysis, justices on the high court in Washington, D.C., have made their clarification perfectly clear regarding the Second Amendment, yet many still claim gun regulations are an infringement on their constitutional rights. My question to all of those people is, which branch of American government is the final arbiter of the U.S. Constitution?

Brent Been is a Tahlequah educator with an emphasis on civics and history.

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