For those who have just returned to the United States after being liberated from prisons on planets in other galaxies, you might not be aware of today’s gun control debate in the US. The remainder of the population seems equally informed or misinformed because in today’s climate there can’t be a middle ground. It is strange, however, that I personally know staunch advocates from both sides who actually agree on some common principles.
This piece is not an attempt to be pro or anti gun, but an attempt to let some very good friends on both sides of the argument see that they have more in common with each other than the advocacy groups which purport to champion their position. I think we agree that injuries and fatalities resulting from firearms or for that matter practically anything is devastating.
I’ve seen many misquotes, so here is the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Those 27 words and the placements of the commas, however, have led to a plethora of interpretations best compared to a group of individuals separately describing the shapes of clouds in the skies. Whether anyone wants to look back at James Madison in Federalist Paper 46, jump to D.C v. Heller, anywhere between, before, or after, actually has little to do with the arguments today. It’s even sad that many who love to cite “the importance of the 1st and 2nd Amendments by our Founding Fathers” do not realize that “first” and “second” refer to ratification and not the order of the 12 potential amendments submitted to states for ratification. If they want to play the importance of numbers argument, just shoot back (pun intended) with the size of the House of Representatives and even pay raises for Members of Congress were thus more important than free speech.
Isn’t President Barack Obama going to take everyone’s guns?
In 2008 at the Democratic Primary Debate in Philadelphia, then candidate Obama stated: “I think it’s important for us to recognize that we’ve got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respect the Second Amendment and people’s traditions.”
That does not sound radical to me, and not much happened in terms of weapons legislation during his first term.
Well we never had restrictions placed on gun ownership in the history of the US? At least not until recently with all the commie liberals.
Yes we have had restrictions on guns throughout the course of the United States. In the early United States, under the Constitution of the United States, many individuals such as slaves were barred from gun ownership. Just recently, I heard someone use the Dred Scott property argument to counter, and I watched him storm out seconds later after being countered with additional citations of not just free men of color but also restrictions on law-abiding whites and the various militia laws. Also, take some time to read of the Wild West and the differences between living in the territories versus many of the settled towns in respect to gun laws. It is quite different than many believe.
Some historians will argue that the modern day NRA message on gun control is merely a continuation of the movement led by the Black Panthers in response to the gun control laws of the 1960s. The Panthers argued that gun ownership was not about hunting and sporting activities but fundamentally about self defense. Civilians need guns to protect themselves not just from criminals but from threats from the government usurping the rights of its citizens. That lineage often creates friction with many groups today who claim the threats to the 2nd Amendment today. That mere recognition of friction leads me to look beyond many of the arguments today.
Just humor me here…
For the sake of doing what is probably in the minds of many, I say let’s isolate the radicals on both sides. Despite what some say, the 2nd Amendment is not being repealed. Activities like hunting are not being banned. The same ability you have today to protect your family and property will be the same tomorrow. For others, do you really want every person carrying a weapon? How many hotheads or people lacking common sense who you refer to as friends or family would you want to have any weapon around your children? In school, if a student in the back stands and yells, an object crashes into the classroom door, or something strange happens, do you really want a teacher opening fire? Even armed guards can become the perpetrator or be overpowered and have that weapon used against others. In the mass shooting tragedies in our lifetime, you will see that in some cases there were “good” people with guns. In others, “good” people did not have weapons. Still, innocent people lost their lives. In other cases, innocent people survived different situations where “good” people had guns and situations where “good” people did not. There are no clear solutions as each event differs.
Agree or disagree?
Is the most important aspect about the gun control issue to prevent as much violence as possible and to promote responsible handling and usage of guns? Unfortunately like many issues, there are no easy answers because the problems are not that simple. My feeling is that we need to work on a process which allows law abiding citizens the ability to own and use firearms, methods to instruct those individuals on how to safely use and store that weapon, work on ways to treat those with mental illnesses who might not have the ability for responsible usage, and work on ways to remove guns from individuals using them for criminal purposes or passing weapons to others who can harm themselves or others.
None of that is going to be easy, but if enough people take the time to actually discuss the issues and share ideas it is possible. Among the majority of the people I know with very different views on the subject, neither side is a threat to the other. Anti gun friends have no issues with those friends who hunt or in practically all cases with those friends who carry weapons for protection. Typically, the only issue about protection is the security of that weapon to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands or an accident from happening. Friends who hunt or most likely have a weapon on them when they read this most assuredly want to keep their weapon secure and prevent accidents.
Despite what these 2nd Amendment repeaters and gun control and confiscation theorists propagate, the majority of the people are in the middle when they simply discuss the issues and pull party labels and organizations out the mix. The extremes on both sides profit, and sadly force attention away from the real issues by making everyone feel threatened and that everyone else is the enemy. You know, the enemy might just be those who are unwilling to discuss differing ideas on how to limit violence in society via guns or anything else and those who claim rights for themselves but not the same for others. Fortunately, I’d like to believe that it’s only the loudest who care nothing about responsibility and that most law abiding people who own guns and who do not are most concerned about knowledge and responsibility.
One quick note on registrations and that paranoia.
Do not confiscate anything, but just drive door to door in your neighborhood. How long does that take? If there were any legitimate efforts to confiscate weapons from law abiding citizens of the United States of America, don’t you think there would be a massive number of videos appearing around the globe? Wouldn’t you hear non stop gunfire? Even if you want pull the “liberal media” card, could some type of action of that nature be kept quiet and completed without everyone being aware? The US government could not accomplish those types of tasks with a far lesser population, so what makes anyone believe that they can today? My guns are still stored in the same location, and the only time they have left that location has been via my own hands.
I am not endorsing this organization because in its short existence, I am not familiar with the course it will ultimately take, but I doubt that anyone can question either a belief in the right to bear arms or a desire to prevent gun violence from Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. A Washington Post article on their organization can be found here: