Feb 152013
 

Some time has lapsed since the horror that was the Newtown shooting, and now there have been even more gun deaths, and five people were shot accidentally on “Gun Appreciation Day,” hastily thrown together by the gun nuts. I grew up hunting with my Grandfather and other friends. I know my away around guns, and believe they are something that responsible people should have for sporting purposes, but extremists have gone entirely too far with the rhetoric, and their arguments that every person should have totally unfettered access to any kind of gun. So I want to put my spin in the discussion and dissemble the arguments that I keep hearing circulated.

funny-christmas-cards-second-amendment-christmasFirst, let’s cut right to the chase on the primary argument that seems to be implied by nearly every gun nut out there. They seem to think that any regulation whatsoever results in them having their guns “pried from their cold dead hands.” I’m tired of hearing this. None of the laws I’ve heard proposed make anyone surrender any guns, and nothing that’s been proposed includes the elimination of all gun sales. We have always had regulations for the sale of guns, and there are still plenty of guns in circulation.

As a society, we have, for nearly the entire life of the Republic, recognized that many things we are entitled to as rights, can still be reasonably restricted to make sure we can all get along. You have a right to free speech, but can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. We live by the principle famously attributed to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

So stop already with the claim that any regulation would somehow prohibit you from owning a shotgun for shooting quail, or even a handgun. It’s just not true.

The other continuing meme that Obama is preparing to take all our guns is beyond ridiculous. His base has been in favor of stricter gun control for the entire time he’s been in office, but up until Newtown, his Administration had never touched the subject.

I’m also tired of the argument that the Constitution provides carte Blanche for gun ownership. Let’s take a look at the language of the Bill of Rights. Amendment I famously begins with the prohibition, “Congress shall make no law…” The founders clearly gave thought to the wording of these original documents. They proscribed the making of laws that regulate some of the rights they believed we inherited, and they used very specific language to do that. They did not, in Amendment II, make any statements limiting the authority of Congress to regulate the ownership of guns. I believe, given the wording of other Amendments, had the people of the time intended for gun ownership to be completely without regulation, they would and could have written it right there in Amendment II.

Furthermore, it needs to be noted that even if you buy into the fact that the government can’t prevent one from owning guns, there is nowhere the Constitution prohibits the regulation of the gun industry. The government already prohibits the manufacture and sale of things we believe to be especially harmful and dangerous, or restricts their use to those properly licensed. I can’t go in my backyard and build a nuclear reactor, and I’m pretty sure my neighbors wouldn’t support might right to do that. We don’t allow drug manufacturers to manufacture and sell drugs deemed to be too dangerous, and those with serious side effects but beneficial aspects are prescribed only by people licensed to prescribe and dispense them. So let’s not pretend we don’t give the authority to regulate to the government. We demand it.

This dispatches any argument the government can’t regulate guns and gun ownership.

Krazy Kristian Kook, David Barton, took to the airwaves to explain that what the 2nd Amendment says is that citizens have the right to defend themselves from their own government…to have weapons equal to the government’s. Well, no David, we already don’t allow that. A military M16 will fire in automatic mode (it’s a machine gun). You’re already not allowed to have one of those, and most sane people agree that’s a good idea. The government has mortars and artillery and grenades, and military aircraft with a vast array of highly destructive weaponry.

So, NO, David, you can’t have enough of the type of weapons it would take for you to defend yourself from your own government. Even if that’s what the founders intended, we are way past that. I hope Barton is aware the government can fly a nearly silent drone over his house and put a smart bomb right down his chimney, and no David; you can’t have one of your own. For good or bad, we’re way past this citizen’s militia thing. If the government wants to come take you in, trust me, they can.

The former head of the NRA, Marion Hammer, warned against an effort by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to ban assault weapons by comparing it to racism, and “banning people and things because of the way they look.”

Hammer was speaking on Wednesday on the NRA’s news show, The Daily News, when she made the comparison. Ginny Simone, the host of the show, first commented: “And they even admit this is about banning the ugliest guns; it’s about cosmetics and it has nothing to do about how a firearm works.” “Well, you know, banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago,” said Hammer. “But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It’s just bad politics.”

I guess when one has played out all the 2nd Amendment arguments, and the majority of Americans still believe some sensible gun control is a good idea, try your best make it sound like it’s some sort of racial-civil rights kind of issue. Maybe that will inflame black folks, and cause them to be against gun control. Well, sorry Mr. Hammer, that’s just the worst kind of racism thinking African-Americans are too stupid to see what you are doing.

Louie Gohmert, perhaps, along with Michele Bachmann, the dumbest person to ever be a member of Congress, can always be counted on to come up with the most  says he won’t “play the game” of defining an assault weapon because the term is so broad it can mean lots of weapons, such as hammers and machetes.

On the “Dennis Miller Show,” guest host Larry O’Connor asked Gohmert about Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who commented yesterday: “I really don’t know why people need assault weapons.”

“Why would anyone need an assault weapon as they’re defining it?” O’Connor asked.

“I refuse to play the game of ‘assault weapon,’” Gohmert said. “That’s any weapon. It’s a hammer. It’s the machetes. In Rwanda that killed 800,000 people, an article came out this week, the massive number that are killed with hammers. Homemade bombs, those kinds of things. The issue is why should you have the right to bear arms, why should you have the right to free speech even though I don’t like what you’re saying?”

Then along comes NRA spokesperson, Wayne LaPierre to give the industry group’s response to the shootings (and make no mistake, the NRA does not represent the interests of gun owners exceptwhere they overlap with the interests of their primary funding source, the gun manufacturers). The gun industry’s response was (big surprise here) that the solution to gun violence was…wait for it…MORE GUNS! Yes folks, never mind that just before LaPierre spoke three were shot and killed near Altoona, PA, or that early on Christmas Eve; in Webster, NY, two volunteer firefighters were executed when they responded to a house fire by an ex-con using the same kind of gun used at Newtown. Never you mind that on in Sacramento, CA on New Year’s Eve; a 22-year-old opened fire in a bar, killing two and wounding others, in a fight over a spilled drink, or that about 1,793 people have died from gun violence in America between Newtown and February 14, 2013.

A couple of months ago here in Florida (with its now infamous “stand your ground” law), a man got impatient in a Hungy Howie’s Pizza store, so another patron shot him. No, the only answer to all this is more guns, so buy stock in Colt, by all means.

Now if LaPierre thinks he’s telling the truth, then why would he and NRA put pressure on Congress some years ago to pull funding on gun violence studies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? If he’s right, wouldn’t those studies have highlighted his solution as a scientific fact? LaPierre says with the conviction of man who believes it to be fact.

This argument is just the simplest to answer. Go ask Jim Brady or Ronald Regan (if he were still alive) about how that, “the only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns” meme. Those two men were moving within the tightest and most secure bubble offered a human being. They were surrounded by heavily armed and highly trained men whose job it is to prevent the President from being shot…but there it was. Three people got shot, with a small army of “good guys with guns” surrounding them.

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It’s also worthwhile to note that while Fox banned all talk of gun control, it did not banish talk of other explanations for the atrocity in Connecticut. Fox had no problem with laying the blame on mental illness, movies or video games. Fox host Mike Huckabee was permitted to go on the air and blame the killings on the absence of God in the classroom (which does nothing to explain similar shootings that have taken place in churches). What a hateful and vengeful God Mike Huckabee worships.

I’m also tired of hearing the following excuses for NOT doing ANYTHING:

  1. We need to take our time, and give this careful consideration. There are lots of issues that contribute to this problem;
  2. Requiring universal background checks would not have prevented the Newtown tragedy, and Simply eliminating assault weapon sales won’t stop people from having guns, and the old tired and true (and it’s companion memes), “if guns are made illegal, only criminals will have guns;”
  3. Just reinstating the assault weapons ban won’t stop all the gun violence, so what’s the point of doing that?

First, if not now, when? how many more shootings will it take? The rolling five-year average for gun deaths in the U.S. is 32,000 per annum. put that into some perspective, there have been just under 5,000 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And yes, I agree that no one law, regulation, study, background check, etc. will solve the problem. It’s a huge problem, and its complex. It will need a number of initiatives, so all the more reason to start now. Let’s have some sensible gun regulation, and let’s not allow any more high-capacity, rapid-firing weapons on the street. Let’s implement a more complete system of background checks and close the gun show loop-hole. We know, scientifically, those things help reduce gun violence, so do them, and then continue working on the rest of the problems that lead to this senseless dying in the streets and the schools of America.

If not now, when?

It’s certainly not scientific, but let’s see what readers here at Deep Something think about some reasonable gun control rules.

Is it reasonable to place some controls and regulations on gun owners and manufacturers?

  • I don't know (0%, 0 Votes)
  • No (33%, 2 Votes)
  • Yes (67%, 4 Votes)
  • Maybe (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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