I noticed one thing after the Sandy Hook massacre, the right blames an imaginary magic sky wizard and the left blames inanimate objects. First let me start off by saying I certainly am not going to solve the problem of gun violence. It is a multi-faceted problem and really the smallest of the symptoms is the access to guns, as all the guns used by shooters in the mass shootings recently were all legally owned and registered as required. Gun crimes by definition are committed by people either using an illegal weapon to commit an illegal act or a legal weapon to do something already against the law. So, I’m skeptical that any new legislation to require more registration, more burden on the law-abiding gun owner will do anything to stem these violent attacks.
Also to frame the argument as gun control advocates versus gun nuts is absolutely a false dichotomy. Every legal, responsible gun owner, even those gun nuts like me in the NRA, ARE gun control advocates. That’s why we take the time to research the laws, fill out all of the paperwork, make sure our firearms are secured and placed away from children and the incompetent. That is gun control. I control, when, where and how the guns I owned will be fired. Enforcing liability for irresponsible gun owners should be a part of any new reform.
Now two people I really respect put out two different arguments on the subject. Well-renowned atheist thinker Sam Harris on the anti-new-regulation side, and noted atheist from the Richard Dawkin’s Foundation for Reason, Sean Faircloth on the the pro-gun ban side as a rebuttal to Harris. You click on their names for their articles, as a primer for what I’m going to discuss.
Second, if liberals are going to have a place at the table discussing legislation concerning gun laws and ownership they need to be educated about guns in general and specifically what laws already exist. Ignorant and stupid comments like this one: “An AR is just a semi auto AK47,” aren’t going to get you anywhere with gun owners. It shows you’re complete lack of knowledge on the issue. So, educate yourself. Because having people that make comments that ignorant on the issue proposing legislation and reform is scary and could actually be dangerous. Your calling for a ban but you don’t even know what the hell you are banning.
As far as party affiliation goes I would say gun owners are split down the middle. I know just as many Democratic gun owners as Republican. All gun owners are now screaming because Pres. Obama is now going to institute sweeping gun reform according to the Washington Post, as they should. The NRA and conservative gun owners rightfully argue that the good majority of gun violence occurs in the inner-cities, population centers of over 200,000 and they’re correct. Republicans are partially to blame for the gun reforms that are coming because the call for stricter laws because of more gun crimes can be correlated to their social policies that have left the urban dweller to their own devices with dwindling assistance from the collective. They don’t want to help the inner-city and the desperate poor. They disparage those on food stamps and welfare, saying the $1 a day they receive for food is more than enough charity. Don’t invest in their schools and communities to help improve the community situation that would have a direct impact on reducing crime and especially the gun crimes that are of issue now. Libertarian environmental standards that allowed lead to be pumped into our environment. Lead exposure as a child permanently effects parts of the brain for impulse control, judgement and ability to pay attention. Parts of the brain that, if effected when you are young, will make you a violent person. Of course the communities have to shoulder most of the blame but the social Darwinism of heartless conservative libertarianism does not help the situation, where generations are born into hopelessness.
The Republican base casts them off as welfare queens and lazy people trying to get something for nothing. They don’t want to invest in improving quality of life the inner city through those dreaded social programs, ergo crime runs rampant as the only means survive. When you pull what little support people have away from them and back them into a corner people become desperate as they feel abandoned and they do what they must to survive. Ask Jean val Jean. So, as they turn to crime they use guns to commit these crimes as is shown in FBI statistics where these population centers own 1/2 the legally and registered guns of rural areas but have two times the number of violent gun crimes. I’m not saying these individuals and community leaders don’t hold responsibility for their actions but when you abandon sections of your country to the libertarian philosophy to each their own, well, each will go and get take care of their own. Not to mention the people in the inner city carrying unregistered/illegal firearms are following the lead of the fringe, minority, gun owners who believe weapons should not be registered or tracked by the government.
The Second Amendment and owning a gun has nothing to do with hunting and, here’s a kicker, I don’t believe the Amendment has complete bearing on whether or not Americans have a right to own something privately in their home so long as they don’t harm anyone else, it goes more to privacy and being secure in your person papers in effects. I have never hunted probably never will but it has nothing to do with me owning a tool or a machine. The 2nd Amendment has to do with a well-regulated militia having weapons, so militia members can have firearms to protect the government from a revolting mob, not to protect a mob from government. Conservatives are often confused by this and have obviously never heard of the Whiskey Rebellion. But there is no exclusion anywhere else in law that does not allow a law-abiding citizen to own a firearm…or a chainsaw…or an axe…or a Sanyo television. It’s a tool, but it’s the tool of a free man. There are limitations and constraints in the laws as to which firearms you can own but no prohibition. Why? Because in this country prohibition has never worked. How many people smoke pot? The purchase of that pot was just as illegal as buying a black market gun. Anyone remember when we tried to outlaw alcohol? All it did was create a HUGE criminal market. Really, you want to push the purchase of all guns to the criminal market with NO checks, no bureaucracy where everything goes to the person that can pay? That seems like a horrible idea. If you’re advocating total ban, that is what you are advocating.
Arguing that we didn’t have assault rifles in 1776 so people shouldn’t be able to own assault rifles is asinine and stupid. We had rifles and muskets which were the deadliest small arms of the time. So, whether you know it or not you are making the argument that we should only be allowed to own up to the most efficient small arms of our times…the AR. We didn’t have the internet, television or radio when the First Amendment was written, does that mean the protections of the First don’t apply to those media. I know, I know, I said above the 2nd isn’t really the whole reason we should be able to legally own guns, it’s not the whole reason but it does have some bearing.
So we can’t ban them, then what is the answer? Well think outside your talk radio box where all you hear is how evil guns are and how crazy anyone who owns a gun must be. Gun owners are Americans and they deserve the rights afforded to them under the Constitution. Freedom is scary and dangerous. Yes, more people will get shot by guns, stabbed by knives, killed by drunk drivers. But that’s freedom. I don’t like the idea that we have to legislate away every little thing that is scary to one group or another. Freedom takes courage.
The pissing and moaning of a bunch of ignorant, knee-jerk reactionary liberals calling for bans and prohibitions won’t help get any meaningful reform accomplished. Every time you put someone like Sen. Feinstein on TV to talk about guns, all you do is entrench those on the hard right and lose those in the middle to the right who feel they are protecting one of the few alleged rights we have remaining. We don’t need to ban anything.
So, what can we do? And believe me I don’t like some of these anymore than any other gun owner but compromise comes out of concession. And reasonable, responsible gun owner need to add their input or the rules will get made without them and do you really want a bunch of hippies that have never seen a gun in their life setting the national laws for firearms.
For fuck’s sake the first thing we need to do is close the gun show loop hole. It’s stupid that we haven’t. Every responsible gun owner that purchased their firearms from a reputable dealer that did the background check should want this as well. People with bad intentions are getting armed in these places and making it more difficult for us legal, responsible gun owners to enjoy our freedom. BLUF: it’s fucking it up for all of us.
1) National standardization of requirements for firearm ownership, addressing, training, security of firearms and civil and criminal liability if reasonable means aren’t made to secure your firearms and they are used to commit a crime. ie. Adam Lanza.
2) A national law that sets the standards for concealed handgun licensing and carry. This would piss off the "Tenthers" taking it out the hands of the states that all have 50 separate rules and laws and makes it very confusing and potentially legally hazardous when traveling. This has been a complaint of all gun owners no matter their political stripe for years. These permits would be issued by the FBI or ATF. In the process we'll be creating a whole new bureaucracy with lots of jobs just to make people feel better.
These are your carrots and here's the catch to gun owners which they will hate, especially the civil libertarians, but who gives a shit about civil liberties anymore would someone think of the children?
What you do with all of this is you add national gun registration, which is a concession on part of the gun owners.
I, like most gun owners, don't like the idea of registration but I would even go so far as to say that maybe we do need to register all firearms; if that is the course we need to go to make you feel better. I don't like it but on my side that's a concession I'm willing to make. I don't think it will be prohibitive of any crime and I'm not sure what good that would do because the people committing heinous and illegal acts certainly aren't going to make sure they fill out the proper paperwork to make sure their gun is registered before they go shoot up a school, but it would hold gun owners liable and responsible for making sure their weapons are secured properly and kept from the incompetent.
Sam Harris Article link: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-riddle-of-the-gun
Sean Faircloth’s Rebuttal: http://richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/1/4/sam-harris-neglects-the-most-important-evidence-about-guns#.UOm1z6Vb0sk