From the drafting of the second amendment, how did we get here?
There is no denying a gun is designed to inflict damage. Lethal, destructive damage. That's what it does to man and animal when used for that purpose.
So how do we move along a constructive avenue? How do we abide by an amendment and honor each other's safety on such a hot-button issue, both in our homes and the White House?
Like most arguments, it's all about control.
"Most gun control that is proposed, and some that gets passed, is to try and control the criminal and the criminal is not going to obey laws," says Ed Monk, Co-Owner of Last Resort Weapons Training in White Hall.
Jay Barth, Political Science Professor at Hendrix College, says a few events have changed the political temperature this time around.
"The Sandy Hook case has changed that dynamic, and the president, coming off his victory, felt freed up to take a stance," Barth says.
As a West Point Graduate, Retired Lt. Colonel, member of law enforcement and self-defense weapons instructor, Ed Monk knows guns, and says if you are going to join the debate, know what's being debated.
"If you ask people, 'What about assault weapons?' They have a negative connotation. If you ask, 'What is an assault weapon?' They don't know," Monk says.
It's true that there are thousands of varieties of guns, but only three types of modern gun functions:
- A bolt action: You shoot one bullet at a time then the shooter reloads one at a time.
- Semi-automatic: you load the bullets and after firing the first one the gun automatically reloads and will shoot again when you pull the trigger. Some Semi-Automatic guns would not fall under an assault weapons ban. But the Semi-Automatic AR-15 and other military-style guns capable of being loaded with a magazine carrying more than 10 bullets will.
- Fully automatic: Once it's loaded, a fully-automatic weapon, or machine gun, will keep firing as long as you keep the trigger pulled.
"How they function internally, the power of the weapon, how rapidly they fire, there is absolutely no difference," Monk says.
He says there is a very big difference when it comes to fully-automatic and semi-automatic.
Once it's loaded, a fully-automatic weapon, or machine gun, will keep firing as long as you keep the trigger pulled.
Bullets will come out of the barrel like water out of a garden hose. It is considered to be a pure-bred assault weapon.
In most states under current law, you can own a fully automatic weapon under certain guidelines. Ownership is limited, and they have been highly controlled since the 1930s. Its price, extensive local and federal background checks and licensing fees keeps it out of reach for most.
But its cousins, the dressed up semi-automatics take a lot of heat. Politically, Jay Barth says if there is going to be movement, it's now.
"If there is to be new legislation on background checks, and I think now is the moment for that to happen," Barth says.
As far as taking guns from you, Barth says no. It's not only unlikely, but logistically impossible given the fact that we are a nation of millions of guns.
But, when it comes regulating, Barth says, "Just like other liberties can be regulated, guns can be regulated. We just don't know where those lines are."
And, he adds, there is a line already drawn in favor of gun owners.
"The Supreme Court has ruled the right to own is protected," Barth says.
But still, gun owners argue, don't regulate a right by blurring the ink on the constitution.
"People that say, 'Well it's not good for hunting so we should be able to regulate it or ban it.' Again, hunting had nothing to do with our second amendment right," Monk says.
Ever since the gun was carried into the frontier it has been part of our past, present and future.
The argument for and against, who can, who can't, and why would you is forged right along side every barrel and bullet.
Last Thursday Democrats unveiled a 15-point plan that toughens background checks and reinstates an assault weapons ban.
It's a debate that can not be settled with both sides winning, but both sides will have to live with the outcome in whatever form it takes.
While elections have been won and lost over gun control, you hold the most powerful weapon in the fight: your right to vote.