My gun-owning friends online here may have problems with this post. I'm going to spout my views and dues on the almighty firearm. In short, the right to bear arms is not absolute.
The Second Amendment 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.
Some folks have taken that to mean that they can own every type of weapon created by man, whether its a slingshot or a shoulder-fired Stinger missile. They claim that this Amendment, through its use of the phrase 'shall not be infringed' makes this law absolute. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that some laws can, in fact, encroach on these phrases. For example, though there is freedom of speech, you cannot slander someone; though you can own a pistol, you cannot own a nuclear weapon. (from the Constitution Library)
I don't begrudge folks from owning weapons to hunt game or protect oneself but there must be limits. The incidents in Pittsburgh, Binghamton, NY, the Unitarian church in Tennessee, starkly illustrate that point and the list is getting longer.
I have no problem with responsible use of firearms, there were guns in my family as I grew up. But when my grandfather died from a gunshot wound to the head, my parents decided it wasn't worth it any more. I've gone hunting with friends and learned to shoot in the military, but I still feel that there are some types of weapons that should never see the light of day in the civilian world.
Responsible use. That's a loaded statement. What actions do we consider responsible?
Scenes from the Real America (from First Draft)
Is this the real America? Swap meet goons selling every kind of hate garbage, Hitler memorabilia, conspiracy theorists' wet dream bullshit. I grew up in a small town, rural and remote as all hell and I still didn't see this kind of shit. There were John Birchers, my barber was one.
There was a case of red baiting that happened in the mid 60's in my hometown that involved John Goldmark. He was a prominent local politician who's career was ended by a story in the newspaper that accused him of being a Communist. He won a libel case against them which set a precedent across the country.
Twenty years later in 1985, his son Charles, a well respected attorney for the Washington State Democratic Party and a delegate to the 1984 Democratic convention for Senator Gary Hart was violently killed along with his wife and two sons by a man who believed they were Communists.
Guns didn't kill Charles Goldmark but a crazy loon who believed the bullshit from folks like the John Birch Society did.
Here's the scoop... If we could ensure that only sane, responsible, law abiding people would own these assault weapons then the most generous interpretation of the Second Amendment would be valid. But we can never assume that no matter what the climate of society is. Given today's volatile atmosphere and the viral hate speech being spewed on television by Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly and on the radio by Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, and Laura Ingraham; we have to realize that allowing these very dangerous weapons in society is a recipe for disaster.
We can't find all the nutcases, nor can we stop them all but we can take away some of the most violent weapons. We have to stop the flow of these weapons through our communities and into the hands of those who want to do us harm. Right now, the Mexican drug lords are using surrogates to purchase hundreds if not thousands of firearms from gun shows in Texas, California, and Arizona.
I don't have all the answers and many of you may think my reasons naive but something has to be done. The gun owning community has got to stop sticking its head in the sand and face the fact that their policies and agendas are putting Americans at risk. Where do we draw the line?
Should we just open the floodgates and allow all weapons to be owned? Could I just saunter down to the local gun shop and buy an Uzi, grenade launcher and a box of anti-personnel mines? Where is the line? Should we do away with background checks and waiting periods and let anyone own these weapons? Just served 15 years for a violent crime, here's your Uzi. Been away at the loony bin for being psychotic? No matter, here's an AK-47 with two boxes of ammo, have fun!
These sound ludicrous and far fetched but without restrictions they will be a reality. Going to the market will be like a scene from the OK corral. Gun rights advocates like the NRA fail to see these points because they will 'infringe' on their rights. Better to blind oneself to reality than to take responsibility for the consequences of their agendas.
To my friends in the blogosphere who may disagree with this, let me know where you would draw the line?
(photos from 'Scenes from the Real America' published by the Washington Independent)
So Mote It Be,