This is the post where I take on the NRA. The National Rifle Association. I’ve been searching without success to find the polar opposite organization. Got any ideas? And don’t be a smartass and say the ARN. Hardy har har.
This may ring hollow in light of what I’m about to say, but I want to be clear. I do support the Second Amendment. I do not, however, think that right should be subject to absolutely no controls of any kind. Some limits should be acceptable. This is the subtle point I hope to make.
This is a sensitive and highly inflammatory topic so I’m going to try to keep things simple and brief. I am aware, however, by taking any position contrary to the NRA I’m going piss a lot of people off. I apologize for that in advance. Hopefully my points will stand on their own.
I hope you’ll pull the trigger and make the jump to read more.
“If you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns.”
This is 100 percent patently and provably false. This argument ignores the fact that law enforcement would still have guns. Hell, some police departments are busy getting drone aircraft mounted with rocket launchers. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say people besides outlaws will remain armed.
This famous argument also attempts to force the issue into a binary box. It’s not that simple. It would probably be more correct to say, “If you outlaw guns then there will be less guns.”
One last point: No reasonable person that I know of has ever advocated the outlawing of all guns.
Supporters of gun rights say it’s a Constitutional issue. That’s a fair point. Yet answer this simple question: Which other amendments to the Constitution are written in stone?
There are some limits on free speech. There’s gray area in most if not all of the Constitutional Amendments. For example: The Fourth Amendment speaks about unreasonable search and seizure. Yet the Supreme Court weakened the amendment by allowing things like full-time traffic checkpoints (San Onofre, California) and sobriety checkpoints. The Supreme Court admitted things like these violated the Constitution yet allowed them anyway, citing the “greater good.”
It has been shown again and again that some limits are acceptable. There can be flexibility. There is some wiggle room. What makes the Second Amendment so special that this is the only place where it must remain absolute? That is not reasonable. It’s part of the Constitution just like all the rest and subject to the same interpretations.
Oh Comma Where Are Thou?
Did you know there were two versions of the Second Amendment? One ratified by the Congress and one by the states. The punctuation between the two was slightly different. (Source: Wikipedia.)
Some people think the comma (or lack thereof) makes all the difference in the world when interpreting the Second Amendment. They talk about how commas were used back then and stuff.
My question: If this was about individual rights, why bother to include the word “militia” at all?
For more on this:
Separation of Powers
Our system of government is based on separation of powers. This was designed on purpose so that no single element would gain too much power. I would argue that the NRA, as an organization, has gained too much power. There is no organization that I know of that exists to promote the concept of “equal time” by offering opposite points of view. There is no counteracting force to the NRA. As such, although the NRA complains bitterly about gun laws, the only real laws enacted are the ones they want. Laws that allow handgun magazines to carry 30 bullets (plus one in the chamber) rather than 5. Or “stand your ground” laws now found in a lot of our states.
When Florida’s “stand your ground” law was signed by Governor Jeb Bush, an NRA lobbyist stood just behind his right shoulder, beaming proudly. That’s brazen.
Some Limits Are Acceptable
The NRA argues that any limits would eventually lead to a ban on guns. This is false. Do we not have drivers in our country, even though cars have to be registered? Drivers have to take tests? Drivers have to be license? And yet, somehow, there are still a few cars on the road. Just a few.
Some limits are reasonable. Especially in light of the Supreme Court’s “greater good” standard.
Arguing against background checks is, in essence, saying that anyone should be allowed to own guns, no matter what. This is not reasonable. If you believe in state’s rights then one of those should be to establish local standards regarding these kind of limits.
Killing Is Too Easy
I believe the right to defend your live and that of your family is absolute. If threatened, deadly force is our right. Where this standard truly lies is a suitable subject for sincere debate. It lies somewhere between “unarmed” and “fully-automatic machine guns.” We don’t allow people to carry pipe bombs for self defense, so even our society recognizes there are some limits. That is the discussion we should be having, not this “all or nothing” scorched earth argument that allows no flexibility.
Imagine a neighbor is unhappy with the noise from a loud party next door. Things escalate out of hand. If the neighbor is unarmed or carrying only a knife, he can still make a decision to kill, but it will be difficult. It’s hard to face down multiple people armed only with a knife. Yes, he can still make the decision to kill, but he is less likely to make that decision, and if he does try, he’s less likely to be successful. On the other hand, if he has a handgun, all of those probabilities are radically changed. Suddenly killing has become too easy.
I believe we need an organization to counter the influence and might and single-mindedness of the NRA. That’s just my opinion. Anyone know a suitable organization where I can send my donation? I want to make a difference.