Gun Rights

I used to feel very passionately about the topic of American gun rights. Back then, I owned quite a few guns that would have been affected by the previous ban, and would also be covered by the future ban, if the rumors and details swirling around are true. I was a certified instructor and taught a variety of pistol classes each week. Beyond my profession, guns were a hobby and passion of mine. Reading, shooting, trading, and tinkering with them as much as time and money would allow. As I have brought up before, somewhere along the way, my interests veered away from the tactical and moved into the more traditional firearms - bolt action and break action long guns. Not to say I don't still admire a tricked out AR, but perhaps my mind finally fell in line with my pocketbook a bit better. Yeah, that is probably it, because if I won the lottery Monday morning, you better believe there would be some matte black hardware in my safe by the end of the week. But my passion for the topic of gun rights has waned since my interest in traditional firearms has increased. It has almost felt as though I had no dog in this fight. My guns aren't on the list (this one, at least), so why sweat it? But how simple and intentionally naive is that thought?

I hate that gun control is once again a prominent topic of conversation. I hate it because I advocate just as much  personal freedom as we can hold on to. And no sense denying it, I hate it because I enjoy guns. I think new gun control legislation is a poor way to deal with the problem of gun violence. It is treating symptoms instead of treating the disease. Even gun control advocates will admit that, though they assert that some reduction, even if imperfect or incomplete, is better than none. The problem is violence, the gun is simply the multiplier. I've seen today many people point to the China stabbings story as an example of "where there's a will, there's a way."

I will not tout myself as an authority on much of anything. My opinions below are just mine. And I acknowledge the up, and down, side to living in a voting country like ours, is if most people dictate to their representatives in government that they want guns "controlled" or even outlawed, well, I'm going to have some decisions to make.So what are the arguments I feel need to be considered in this conversation?

  • Founding father's intent - I had a civil conversation with a member I respect on Blades and Bushcraft regarding the original meaning of "arms" in the second amendment. His stance was that the founding fathers intentions in assuring American's their 2nd amendment right only applied to their contemporary weaponry. Though not infallible, I believe that the founders were pretty creative guys. As such, I think it is inconceivable to assume they wouldn't see the evolution of weaponry coming in the future. They'd have seen it in the past, and it's common sense to assume it in the future. Even now, we should assume that weaponry is going to progress. I think that fact should be considered in our current conversation. As he jokingly put it, "Type II phasers don't kill people. People kill people." 
  • If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns - I'm sure you've heard this. It is the most often touted argument I hear. If I am being attacked by a criminal, I absolutely, positively don't want to be more poorly equipped than he is. Come on now, would anyone? Having worked in the criminal justice field for almost a decade now, I appreciate the legal system and law enforcement. At the same time, I also caution everyone against putting 100% of their faith in the police for their protection. Police do a dangerous, necessary job and in this country, they are superbly trained to do it well, but as they say, "When second count, the police are only minutes away." In the spirit of American self-reliance, would should your own safety be left to others or your government? And since we're talking about founding father's intent and self defense, a totalitarian government was also referenced as one of the entities you might need a firearm to protect yourself from. Huh, seems like that could be a conflict of interest when if they get to decide whether we keep them or not...
  • Gun control legislation should not be a reactionary response - Yesterday driving home, I heard a coherent (I call him coherent because I agree with him :) )commentator on NPR providing an opinion, I wish I could remember his name. He spouted of a few statistics that roughly equated to this: mass shootings account for approx 200 fatalities a years in this country. Individuals killings account for over 15,000. The point? Enact gun stricter control if you want, but don't pretend/hope that doing so will solve the problem of violent crime. It's a symptom, remember? 15,000 individual killings just shines a spotlight on the fact that we have a violence problem, not a gun problem. And violence is a world problem, not just an American one. Of course, at this point I would jump in with what I believe is the source of our species' violence- a fallen and utterly sinful nature - but that would turn this into a longer post, indeed.
  • How about that background check idea? - With my work, I have a great deal of experience with background checks at the local, state, national, and international level. Particularly here in America, I know where they shine and where they fail. I know some feel that merely being an American means you are authorized to go get a gun, but I see no conflict in requiring a background check prior to a store sale. Let's make it a valuable, thorough one! I am on board with prohibiting certain populations from owning firearms - violent felons, folks suffering from severe mental illness, things like that. Rather than enact what really would be an arbitrary, ineffectual blanket ban on things like magazine capacity, how about we improve the legislation we have? Make it work by giving it adequate funding and attention.  
  • One last note, in the China story referenced about, it mentions that they have upped school security to try and combat tragedies like this, which are a problem over there too.  That seems like the most straightforward, immediate solution. I hope we do this here in the US. 
The international community is often brought into the discussion to illustrate what gun-wielding, blood-thirsty barbarians Americans are. Countries like England, Japan, and Germany can be cited as having less gun violence. A glance at the statistics seems to confirm this. A more important statistic to me would be whether their overall homicide rates are lower, and again this seems to actually be true, though the contrast is less stark. I can't explain this data away, except to refer back to the points above. I think our right to own them pre-empts any solely pragmatic argument to outlaw them. If that right ever changes, I guess our conversation would be different. 

8 comments:

  1. ok. It's snowing hard outside, I have my chores done for the day, so I'll respond.
    Here are some of my thoughts at the moment, though I think they'll be none too popular. My thoughts today go more broad than 'gun control', which, to me, is only a symptom of something larger.

    We are at the end of a great cycle. The 'old world' must die, a 'new' one must come into being.
    The great American experiment in 'freedom' is over. Done. It's gone. We're just living on fumes at the moment.
    The world, the 'old world', has gone insane, literally.

    Was it Aristotle who said that man has the soul of a slave? I think so. We are slaves. Born and bred that way. I think very few really want actual freedom, rather they want their chains to rest lightly on their shoulders. Comfort rather than freedom.
    If one depends on a government (for example) to grant them 'freedom', they are actually in no way free.
    ( a line from the Matrix comes to mind...Morpheus says to Neo something like; 'do you really believe that's air you're breathing...in this place?' )

    Some time ago, I withdrew. I try and participate as little as possible, difficult as that is. (there is a lot unsaid in that statement, for obvious reasons)
    You can't save the world, you can't save the country. You can try and save yourself and your family. That is all I'm trying to do. Live life as simply and fully as possible in these times.
    A hard rain has begun to fall, it's going to get harder and last a long time.
    It's up to you, no one else, to take care of you and yours. Yes, I believe you can gain freedom, but it comes from inside you, not granted from something outside. The price is high. It calls for withdrawing from the circus, the spectacle of consensus reality (again, do you really believe 'that's air you're breathing, in this place?') and living your life. The seed of freedom still living in your soul will direct how you use whatever 'tool' you have in your hand, or in your mind.

    Disjointed, incomplete thoughts, I know, but it's cold outside and I've had too much coffee...

    Onward...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Crime in the UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. If the news didn't publicize so much when there is a problem with guns, perhaps there would not be as many people wanting to kill others and make a name for themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. Why allow even their name to become a household term?

      Delete
  4. Obviously the answer isn't in the control of guns, but in another direction!

    These shooters are sick. For whatever reason, they are allowed to still walk around free from any supervision at all!

    In China some of the most brutal attacks on schools and children have been done with knives and axes! So much for guns! Crazy people will always find ways of killing or hurting others!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am absolutely baffled by what kind of depravity it would take to attack children. Mass killings can be hard enough to wrap your mind around, but at least there is usually some sort of warped ideology behind those to point a finger at. But children?

      It would be quite a task to ID everyone who might have some sort of dangerous mental illness, but surely by the time an individual is sick to the point of a mass killing, there must be consistent, visible signs that could be detected? Surely!

      Delete
  5. Another article worth reading: http://shortlittlerebel.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/urgent-update-on-connecticut-shooting/

    ReplyDelete