I’ve wanted to
write something on the gun issue for a long time, but have never really found a
way to encapsulate the complexities of what I feel on the issue into one
column. The day after the most recent massacre of innocents in Colorado took
place, a friend of mine posted a short statement on Facebook deriding our
government for doing nothing about this scourge of gun violence. I then posted
a short comment stating that we should be ashamed of ourselves as a nation. A
friend of his reacted and responded to my comment very quickly. This began a
back-and-forth on the issue that allowed me to address the arguments of
anti-gun control folks far better than any column.
SC: We can't do a
damn thing about it--all because of one freakin' organization that owns a
political party. It didn't even matter when kindergarteners were mowed down. We
should be ashamed of ourselves.
TB: No, "we" can't do anything because
of a small document called the Constitution.
SC: The Constitution allows for a "regulated
militia" carrying muskets. It in no way foresaw automatic weapons and
"us" having a huge standing army. That Constitution argument is so
lame it needs crutches.
TB: If you think the only reason the 2nd Amendment exists is
to allow for people carrying muskets, or that the founding fathers didn't
figure there would be more advanced weaponry in the future or a standing army,
then you need to go back to school.
But by all means, in
addition to that myth, go on believing that gun control laws will prevent this
kind of thing from happening. Just look at Chicago ... toughest gun
control laws of any city in the US. Nearly 350 deaths this year by guns (so
far) and another 2000 people shot. Yet the mainstream media doesn't want to
cover that. It's only when a crazy person goes off their meds and shoots people
that the outrage happens. People that intend to harm other people will always
be able to find a gun, no matter what roadblocks the government attempts to put
in their way. If you believe otherwise, you are naive.
I'm not a gun owner, or an NRA supporter, but I will fight to the death to make
sure if the US government wants to take away guns from law abiding citizens
they do it the right way (amending the Constitution).
SC: Oh Lord, where to start with this Swiss cheese argument.
I know the founding fathers were smart guys, but no—they were not writing
the Constitution with mail-order assault weapons and armor piercing bullets in
mind. The only reason for the 2nd amendment
was to allow the people to protect themselves from tyranny and to allow for the
easy formation of a militia because we did not have a standing army. It was not
so a petrified population could arm themselves to the teeth.
If shouting “Second Amendment” is gun law opponents’ first line of lame
defense, citing the fact that laws in some big cities don’t work is number two.
I’ll give you credit though it’s usually DC that they use as an example. Of
course gun laws don’t work in DC when Virginia right next door has virtually no
gun laws. Chicago? Give me a break. Indiana right next door is a freaking
armory and the rest of the state is virtually gun-law free. Pass national
regulations and this would be a completely different story. Want to cite a
city? Try New York City. They passed real gun legislation—carry a gun in a
public place and get caught—you go to jail—period. Even applies to rich asshole
wide receivers that shoot themselves in the leg. The gun violence there has
dropped off the map since. Australia had the two worst gun massacres in the
world a few years back. Changed the gun laws nationally and they have been
The “mainstream media” another gem—what the Hell is that? What exactly does
that mean—media that is not sponsored by Rupert Murdoch?
“People will always be
able to pick up a gun.” Really? Where? Like these little shut-in freaks that go
off and blow away a bunch of kids are going to be going into the back alleys to
buy guns from criminals—yeah right—some kid who lives on his PC and is afraid
of his mommy, sure.
“When some crazy person goes off their meds.” You mean like every couple of
weeks? And yes CRAZY people—who should not have access to fucking guns. 10,000
Americans a year die from gun violence---10,000!!! Australia, Germany and Japan
combined have lost 300 people in the last decade, yet we still get the same old
Constitution argument here. Like Jefferson and Adams would have sat around like
this lot and done nothing while 10,000 citizens-a-year got lost to the wind.
And BTW, who is talking about taking guns away from law-abiding citizens?
What does regulating assault weapons, a thorough background check, no more gun
show sales and a waiting period have to do with taking away people’s hand guns
and hunting weapons? Just another bunch of crap to scare people, when what they
should be scared of is getting massacred in the mall by some little twat who
thinks he’s The Joker because he’s carrying a machine gun.
I AM a gun owner. Making it harder to get a gun than a damned fishing
license and keeping crazy people from casually picking up an assault rifle in
the mail does NOTHING to infringe on my rights.
TB: So Scott basically proved several of the points I tried
to make earlier. Makes my job easier, so I'll leave with the following:
1) He agrees that the 2nd Amendment was at least partially put in to allow
people to protect themselves from tyranny. While some would argue that there is
no way given the US Military that anyone could hope to oppose tyranny anymore, I'd
argue that the British were far better armed, trained and supplied than the
colonists were during the Revolution, but somehow they managed to win the war.
Of course it would be far more difficult now with the restrictions that are in
place, and would be even more so if more restrictions were passed.
2) If all the Chicago or DC shooters are just going to an easier place to get a
gun, then he also agrees that someone who wants a gun will go to whatever
source they can to get one in the easiest way possible. By the way, the New
York City example isn't one I'd be hanging my hat on now. Gun violence is
higher this year than 2013 and a higher % of murder victims were killed by
guns. That crazy introverted kid that sits in his parents basement is still
going to go down to "gangland" and buy a gun if he really wants one
and that's the only way to get one. But they aren't the real worry. The real
worry is all the gang violence over drug territory. Take away all those
murders, and the US gun murder rate starts to look a lot like all the other
countries everyone likes to cite as success stories when restricting weapons.
3) Scott wants to know where it's being said that people want to take guns away
from law abiding citizens? Well he mentioned you can't even carry a gun in NYC
period (I'll assume this is true). Even if you are law abiding. What happens
when some arbitrary entity decides that 30-06 hunting rifle you own is now a
"banned gun". Slippery slope when some arbitrary entity starts
deciding who is "law abiding" or eligible, or what kind of gun is
"OK" to trust the population with. I am in favor of registration.
That in no way infringes upon anyone's right to keep and bear arms. It's when
the restrictions come in that it causes a problem for me because ... wait for
it ... it violates the Constitution, which says very clearly "shall not be
4) If you believe that the Founding Fathers never envisioned the kind of guns
we have now (or other weapons) and would never have stood by and allowed this
to happen, I won't argue that with you (wild speculation on your part, but
let's assume you're right). I will argue that they wouldn't have enacted gun
control laws with the stroke of a pen (Executive Order), or through direct laws
passed by a governmental agency. They would have done it the right way, by
going through the proper procedure to amend the Constitution. And that is my
point. If the majority of the people in the required number of States believe
that the 2nd Amendment goes too far, there is a procedure in place to correct
things. The Founding Fathers believed the Constitution was a living and
breathing document. They never intended it to be the final word as originally
written. I'd argue that they would probably be appalled that it hasn't been
amended more often.
5) And, in closing, if
people want to amend the Constitution, I might just support them (depending on
what they want to do). For example, a mandatory background check, no one
convicted of a gun related crime, or mentally ill could own one ... those are
things I could get behind. Restricting what kind of gun someone is allowed to
own, not so much, but if the majority of the people and States want it then
fine. I feel for the people who have lost their lives by the hands of another.
Mass shootings ... check .... Gang shootings ... check ... Wars ... check ....
Domestic Violence ... well, you get the idea. It's bad all around. But as long
as any guns are available anywhere or by any means, you are always going to
have gun violence. Restrictions don't cure that. In fact in most of the recent
mass shootings, the killer obtained their guns legally or took it from someone
they knew that had purchased it legally. If you really want to improve the gun
death statistics, I'd argue that figuring out how to keep kids off ADD and
other mind altering meds, and figuring out how to get the gangs to stop killing
each other would do far more good than any background check will. And yes, I
realize that both of those are just as difficult as making any corrections to gun
laws the right way according to the Constitution.
SC: Okay TB, last chapter on this stuff. I’ll address your
points as you did mine.
Point one: By tyranny I was referring to King George’s armies—not our own
government. Unless of course you are referring to the black helicopters and
door-to-door gun collections
that make up 90% of the fantasyland anti-gun law folks have been living in since
the Clinton administration. Oh yeah, wasn’t Obama supposed to be invading Texas
last month? Geez. What tyranny do we face now--high cell phone bills?
Point two: Yes, having guns come across state borders does mean that people
will do what’s easiest to get their guns—that’s the whole point. They are
undermining the laws of one state just a few miles away. Gangland murders do
suck—but that’s criminal on criminal—not innocents being gunned down in
classrooms and churches. No other country comes anywhere near the mass
shootings we have, to suggest otherwise is just bogus.
If you think these little weeny freaks that commit these crimes are going
to go out in the world and deal with real gun traders and criminals you’re
high. If they were illegal, the guns they used would be so expensive they could
never have gotten them—and if they showed up with that kind of cash downtown,
they’d get their asses kicked worse than Nebraska at the Horseshoe (sorry,
couldn’t resist). Editor's
note: TB appears to be a very big Nebraska fan.
Point three: Yes, the gun homicide rate in NYC did go up a bit last
year—from all-time lows following tougher laws. I never said you could not have
a gun in NYC—you just cannot have it in a public place, like a bar or a
restaurant or a park. That’s no different than old Dodge City or
Tombstone—surrender your guns at the city limits. Of course they were saner in
the Wild West than we are today. The hunting rifle example is hyperbole—no one
has ever proposed anything like that. Can’t believe I left the “slippery slope”
thing off of my earlier list of pat responses.
I mostly agree with you on point 4, but our founding fathers would never
have been in the back pocket of sleazy lobbyists or organizations like the NRA. I also don’t think they would need to amend the Constitution, because the
Constitution does not say that everyone can own all the guns they want.
"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." How in the world do you interpret that to mean that all people can have any type of gun they want in any capacity with no oversight? It was meant for us to have a militia--because we had no standing army--not so every jackass could own an Uzi and carry it to the supermarket. If you want to follow it to the letter as you suggest, we need to disband the standing army and draft all gun owners into a people's militia.