Friday, October 23, 2015

Lets Talk About Gun Control

Whenever you are reading this, I actually wrote it awhile ago. I didn't want to post it immediately in the aftermath of the latest college slaughters as I thought it would be disrespectful of the victims (although less so than the vile statements of Ben Carson and others who did not think the deaths worthy of discussion in any real sense) and because I don't believe we should ever have a knee jerk reaction to big events, in our life or in the world.

Let's start with the Constitution. It says, "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." Sorry, the Constitution does not give you the right to own a gun to hunt, protect yourself or involve yourself in attacking the government or it's institutions. It says that it is necessary because we needed a "well regulated militia". Now, if you are against the supreme court interpreting the constitution then you would have to be for limiting gun ownership to those who join the National Guard or some other state sponsored militia. By the way, there are limitations on what weapons the National Guard can own. No state has it's own nuclear bombs or intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Let's ignore the constitution for a second and ask a rational rather than a legal question. What weapons should individuals be allowed to own and for what purposes? Should you be allowed to own a machine gun so that you can rob banks or kill groups of people that you don't like? Are those valid reasons for owning weapons? Should individuals be allowed to own atomic weapons and use them against foreign countries that they don't like? If you are for unlimited weapon ownership than how can you justify stopping foreign countries like Iran and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons? Are you consistent in your beliefs?

There are those on the fringe right that claim everyone should have a gun and that somehow we would all be safer. Let's follow that logic a little further, if everyone had access to a nuclear bomb, do you really believe the world would be safer and that nobody would use it for evil and senseless purposes. If you really believe that, would you have allowed the insane shooters of Columbine, Aurora and the more recent shootings to own personal nuclear bombs? That would be insanity and is the insanity of the argument that everyone should be armed.

The standard conservative response to the latest batch of mass shootings is to say that we should get better at finding the mentally disturbed. It does not however address whether or not we should deny the mentally disturbed access to weapons. A knife can be used as a weapon; but, unless you are actively suicidal or homicidal you should probably have access to some type of knife if only to cut up your steak. Perhaps a plastic knife for really disturbed people. Do rational people really think we will all be safer if crazy people can own tanks or cannons or machine guns?

Perhaps the weapons you may own should be limited based on what weapons we can trust you to use properly. Limit the crazy to plastic knives, members of state militias to non-intercontinental weapons and no weapons of mass destruction. I would not allow local police to have military jets with tactical weapons. The police are supposed to protect and serve us, not kill thousands of innocents. I am not even for the militarization of the police and oddly enough, neither are most libertarians or far right conservatives. They should try and be consistent to. If you don't want the police to have certain weapons then you cannot promote individuals owning them.

I have a relative who sold drugs a very long time ago, decades ago. He was convicted of a non-violent felony and is no longer allowed to own a gun. In fact, he will not stay in a place where there are guns and has been on the straight and narrow for decades. I might allow non-violent offenders to own a gun to protect themselves or to hunt; but, if you use a weapon in a crime or violence, yeah, I don't think you should be allowed to own a gun or machine gun or sniper rifle or weapon of mass destruction. Does that belief make me a crazy radical gun controlling commie? I don't think so and the founding fathers would have agreed with me.

Can we at least agree that limitations should be put on weapons ownership by the insane and violent criminals? I don't believe either group would have been allowed in a well regulated militia. The Constitution certainly does not give them a right to own guns. I am pretty sure that it didn't allow slaves to own guns. Do you think all slaves should have been allowed to own guns and how do you think that would have turned out in the south? Heck, it was a crime to teach slaves to read. Wave that confederate flag fascists everywhere.

There is a statement made frequently on the left and the right that with rights comes responsibility. If you agree with that then perhaps we could agree that your right to weapons should be aligned with the responsibility you show for limiting your ownership to valid uses. Now, overthrowing the government is not a valid use, that is called treason and you can go to jail for that, so, it would be irrational to expect to government to protect your right to use weapons against the government. If you think you should have the right to own a weapon for hunting then you should probably be limited to owning hunting weapons and having a hunting license. If you believe you should be able to own a weapon to protect your family then you should be probably limited to weapons that do not cause collateral damage. You don't need a machine gun that is powerful enough to kill the police and innocent bystanders to defend yourself from an intruder into your home. Now, the constitution does not say that you can own weapons for the purpose of hunting or to protect yourself; but, those are things I can support IF limited to people who are sane and not violent criminals.

Sorry, we need to talk about something else. You know where it said "a well regulated militia"? Wouldn't that require that people know how to use a weapon and are trained in it's proper usage as a minimum? In California you need a doctor's note to say that you would benefit from marijuana; but, you don't need a certificate from the state or a private agency to say you have a valid reason for owning a weapon. More conservatives are against marijuana legalization for any reason, including medical than are against unrestricted weapon ownership. How many died from smoking marijuana last year and how many died from being shot?

I would have posted this today possibly, as the Oregon mass killing has had time pass; but, a couple more mass killings in recent days means that I shall delay posting as it is too soon to expect either side in the debate to actually think about their positions. I do not know when enough time will have passed. I shall wait until the news articles have slowed and the mass killings have stopped for a bit.


So I wrote the above a week or two ago. Here is a question, why did the 2nd amendment bother stating why people should have a right to own arms? Why didn't it say that because you have a right to protect yourself and hunt you should have a right to own arms and limit it to a national need for a well regulated militia? Why did the constitution use the term "well regulated" to further define militias that should have weapons? The term "well regulated" presumes that the writers of the amendment did not believe every militia was or deserving or a right to weapons. Do you really think the founding fathers would have allowed states to give weapons to all their citizens with the express purpose of taking over the federal government?

Unlike the constitution, I believe people should be allowed to own weapons to protect themselves and to hunt. I don't think we should only be allowed to own weapons to protect the country, I think we should be allowed to protect ourselves too. I also believe we should change the constitution to clearly state that. Lets take to a vote. Lets write a law, a constitutional amendment that we can all agree on. What would that look like? What weapons should people be allowed to own and for what purposes? Who should be allowed to own weapons of mass destructions, we did go to war in Iraq over that, should average Americans be allowed to own weapons of mass destruction, how about of mass murder?

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