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Revive the Militia Act of 1792 and make America safe again

    2015 has turned out to be one murderous year. Baltimore has topped 300 murders for the first time since 1999. St. Louis passed last year’s lofty level a couple of months ago. And, in Chicago, a person is murdered every 17 hours. Most of these homicides are committed with guns. Nearly 300 Americans are shot every day and more than 30,000 of them are killed each year
Al Ortbals    There have been 35 mass shootings in the last 10 years in America. Every time one occurs, the media jumps all over it; the liberals call for gun controls; and then everyone moves on with their lives.    
    By now, every real American has come to understand the wisdom in NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s declaration that, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” So, at first blush, it doesn’t seem to make sense that we would have so much gun violence in this country when we have 283 million firearms in civilian hands and another 8 million being manufactured each year. After all, that’s nearly a gun for every man, woman and child in the nation.
    But, upon further review, we discover that those nearly 300 million guns are consolidated in the hands of relatively few. Gun owners have an average of seven guns, meaning that only about 40 million Americans have a gun in the home. If you figure that some percentage of those 40 million are bad guys, obviously, there are a lot of good guys who do not own guns. In other words, there are a lot of good guys out there who are shirking their responsibility. Not only that, but the number of these shirkers is growing. Some 54 percent of American households had a gun in 1977. It’s only 33 percent today.
    It’s not that guns are hard to get. They’re readily available at many retailers and you can buy them from gun shows and assorted individuals. So, it’s not that good guys don’t have access. It must be then that they are simply neglecting their civic duty.
    So, for the sake of the country and the safety of good guys everywhere, I think we need to require people to buy guns.
    This is not as farfetched as it may seem.
    In May of 1792 Congress passed a pair of Militia Acts. The second one required every free, able-bodied, white male citizen to provide himself with a musket, bayonet and belt, two spare flints, a cartridge box with 24 bullets, a powder horn and a quarter-pound of gun powder.
    If this was good enough for the founding fathers, I think it’s good enough for us. Obviously, we would need to update it to fit modern norms. We no longer have slaves so there’s no reason to limit the law to free men. With the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, we would have to drop the exclusion of non-whites. And, since women have gotten the vote, we probably should include them as well. Essentially, we would require every adult to own a gun and ammo.
    I think we can safely assume that there are many more good guys than bad guys and, with everyone armed, we’d have the bad guys greatly outgunned. But we couldn’t stop there. If you haven’t noticed, every time one of these nut jobs loses it and shoots a bunch of people, he goes to a gun free zone to do the deed. It’s not going to do any good if the good guys own guns but they leave them at home or in the trunk of their car so we need to outlaw gun free zones and require people to not only own a gun but to carry it at all times. So that the cops don’t have to go around stopping and frisking people to make sure that they are abiding by the law, we’d also have to replace concealed carry laws with open carry requirements.
    Imagine if bad guys everywhere found themselves constantly surrounded by armed good guys. Crime would drop to zero. Not only that but consider the jobs created manufacturing guns, ammunition, holsters and all kinds of other firearm paraphernalia. You’d have to assume that accidents would happen so there would also be more business for hospitals and undertakers. And I think with the enhanced safety, tourists from around the world would be flocking to the United States. This Ann and Andy Get Your Gun law would be an economic boon!
    This kind of common sense legislation is something I think everybody can get behind. If we hold the founding fathers in high esteem — and we do — Congress should revive the Militia Act of 1792 and make America safe again.
    Alan J. Ortbals is president and publisher of the Illinois Business Journal. He can be reached at or (618) 659-1977.

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