Charles Borden, an editor and writer who has lived in Moscow for the past 26 years, and worked on various investment projects in Russia and in Europe, joins the programme.
Guns, it seems, have been a tradition in American society right from the early settlers. "It was guns that brought us to the new frontier. The first settlers arrived in 1620, my family in 1635, and it was guns that protected people from various incidents….The revolution in 1776 [against the British] was an uprising, with guns."
Host John Harrison points out that we non-Americans look at American society and really cannot understand the fascination with guns because we live in societies where it is not possible to own them unless you have a bona fide reason for doing so. The recent shootings have only heightened our feeling of alienation with America in this regard.
Charles says: "I can't say that America is calm about it, and this isn't the first shooting we've had, and every one of them with an AR 15. The nature of weapons has changed a lot since the 17th and 18th century, we no longer use muskets. What's changed is the nature of what is an ‘arm'. The 2nd amendment, the Bill Of Rights, allows Americans to bear arms. Bearing arms is subject to definition just like the 1st amendment which gives us the right to free speech"….The United States is somewhat different from other countries where power came from the crown, as power is ceded from the constitution." The necessity to bear arms is therefore embedded very deeply within American society.
Charles stresses that the definition of what a weapon is has changed over the centuries. "Does ‘arms' mean a nuclear weapon? Does it mean a bazooka, does it mean a stinger missile, a hand gun?,…there have always been limitations on that freedom to bear arms, the question is: what are the boundaries of those limitations? The other freedoms of life: liberty and happiness can be infringed by the right to own arms…." Condoleezza Rice recently suggested that it is perhaps time to revisit the 2nd amendment.
Other topics discussed in the programme include President Trumps' recent comments about arming teachers, and the possibility of making changes to the constitution.
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