Gun Control, Divided We Fall
I am disgusted. After seventeen people lost their lives last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, We lost our collective minds….again. From news headlines to social media posts, pundits and politicians, everyone has something to say. Whether Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal Progressive, most of what’s being posted is nothing more than ignorant emotionally charged talking points, none of it promoting anything truly objective or useful. The Far Left uses every mass shooting as a platform to push their anti-gun agenda. The ultimate, though unstated, goal of which is to eliminate the private ownership of all firearms. The Far Right then pushes back, hiding behind the Second Amendment, to push it’s ultimate, though unstated, goal of complete and unrestricted access to all firearms. Most of us don’t espouse either extreme, but we lean Left or Right. It seems no one is centrist in this debate, though many claim to be. There are valid points and arguments on both sides, but we have dug in our heels, armed ourselves with our favorite talking points and have stopped listening to each other. The sad outcome of this obstinacy will be more needlessly lost lives.
To restore some reason and civility to this debate, both sides must accept some inevitable truths. Those of us on the Right must realize that the majority of Americans support universal background checks. Many also support expanding the minimum purchase age to include shotguns and rifles. It is inevitable that there will be change to gun control policy. Rather than opposing this change outright, we should take control of the narrative. We should support legislation that prevents the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining firearms, without restricting the rights of law-abiding adult citizens to purchase them.
Those on the Left like to hold the rest of the world up as the paragon of virtue when it comes to the possession of firearms. They must understand that the United States is unique in its treatment of firearms ownership. The United States is one of only three countries that has a Constitutional right to gun ownership. It was the first to protect this right in its founding documents, and the only one that has no Constitutional restrictions against it. Second Amendment proponents understand that this amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It has to do with a citizen’s right to protect himself and his property. Whether it is from an intruder or an overreaching tyrannical government. This amendment protects the tools by which we can defend liberty. Liberty for everyone, Right, Left or somewhere in between. The only way the Second Amendment will ever be repealed is with a bloodbath that will forever split out nation in two. Is that what you really want the ultimate legacy of the Liberal Progressive movement to be?
Here are my personal positions on this issue. I’m pretty sure Leftists will hate them, and Conservatives will think I’m selling out, but this is just common sense to me.
I support universal background checks with an exception for guns willed to or gifted to family members. However, the law should hold responsible family members who knowingly buy guns for another family member who wouldn’t pass a background check.
I support increasing the age to purchase a rifle or shotgun from eighteen to twenty one. The law should apply only to the purchase of a weapon. Persons under the age of twenty one should be allowed to posses and use a firearm under the supervision of an adult.
I support training in firearms operation, safety, maintenance and law. I would not oppose this being mandatory for the purchase of a firearm.
I support the banning of “bump stocks”.
I support increased funding to diagnose and treat the mentally ill. While compassion for mentally ill persons is important, when it comes to firearms, the safety of the patient and the public should be the main concerns. However to protect the rights of a patient, a person would have to be declared unfit to possess a firearm by a licensed mental health professional.
I support holding accountable the agencies responsible for performing the background checks for gun ownership. I also support holding accountable the agencies that fail to report dangerous individuals. The inability or unwillingness of these agencies to enforce the already existing gun laws is a great threat to public safety and will render any reform of gun law useless.
I oppose the banning of so-called “assault style” weapons. This is an unquantifiable term that concerns the cosmetics of a weapon rather than its action. It is a term meant to play on the emotions of people unfamiliar with firearms.
I oppose the banning of high-capacity magazines. It places an unnecessary restriction on law-abiding gun owners, and a well-trained marksman can change magazines fast enough to make such a ban useless. Again, it is a knee jerk reaction, meant to play on the emotions.
I oppose any form of gun registry or database of gun owners. To require gun owners to register their firearms and to maintain a database of those persons and their residences goes completely against the spirit and purpose of the Second Amendment.
The recent trials of Curtis Reeves and Michael Dunn are sure to add fuel to the arguments for the increased need for more gun regulations. Reeves is on trial for the murder of Chad Oulson. Reeves had repeatedly asked Oulson to quit texting during the previews for the movie, Lone Survivor. He even went so far as to report the texting to the theater manager. Oulson, tired of being harassed by Reeves, picked up Reeves popcorn and threw it at him. Reeves then lost his cool, or panicked, or both, then took out his gun and shot Oulson.
Michael Dunn, is on trial for killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn was at a gas station in Jacksonville, FL and asked a group of teens in an SUV to turn down their music. After the teens castigated Dunn with a barrage of threats and profanities, Dunn claims he saw a weapon in the SUV (no evidence of which was ever found) so he fired several rounds at the vehicle, presumably in self-defense.
It is easy to blame these murders on an angry racist subset of society, with too easy access to firearms. But that only gives us an excuse not to look deeper. The uncomfortable truth, one that most of us are guilty of, is that as a society, we have lost our sense of civility. We have forgotten that good manners are not something that we demand to be bestowed upon us, but rather something we bestow upon other people. It used to be an automatic attitude, drilled into us as children, that in order to live peaceably with others we sometimes had to endure some inconvenience and discomfort. We took our unruly children outside the restaurant or theater; we made our calls and answered our beepers outside or in the lobby. Even though we might be tired, we offered our seats to the elderly and handicapped. We didn’t push to the front of lines, or cuss out store clerks. As children we were taught to respect our elders and those in authority. We said please, thank you and excuse me, because it was how people with a good upbringing behaved. Not because they were “magic” words we could use to get our way. We recognized that driving was a privilege not a right. We didn’t tailgate, cut people off, run red lights, or poach parking spaces on purpose.
We were also taught how to control our temper. We learned early that a tantrum would not get us toys or candy, but it might get us a spanking. Punching walls throwing things or otherwise destroying property wasn’t tolerated either. We were taught to try to find polite solutions to the people or activities that irritated us and if no polite solution was found, to remove ourselves from them.
Our homes, our schools, our churches and even the TV shows we watched, all taught us that everyone had rights. No one’s rights were more important than anyone else’s and those rights were to be respected. Sadly, not anymore.
Today’s gadget driven society feeds our egocentricity. We can be out in public without actually interacting with anyone. We have superficial conversations with friends, family, and even complete strangers, while ignoring the people right in front of us. We can hide in the apparent anonymity of a Face Book post or Twitter feed, and never have to really see the results of our words. We can blame guns, we can blame racism, we can buy into the ideal that we need more laws and stronger laws to protect us from each other. What we really need to do is some soul-searching, both individually and as a society. We need to ask ourselves how many more people have to die a senseless death before we recognize that our society is morally sick. It’s the kind of sickness that happens when people ignore the needs of their souls. It’s a sickness that no law, no government program can fix. It’s something we must recognize and heal ourselves.
Let’s Get Fired Up
Saw this video on Chicks On the Right. When will those in the government learn that they work for us. There are those who understand what this country was founded on and will not stand by and let our Constitution be trampled.
Your Voice on The Safe Communities,Safe Schools Act of 2013
Congress is now debating Senate Bill 649 The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. As the Obama administration continues to increase the strong-arm of the government over us, it is important that you contact your representatives and let them know your view. We cannot depend on the media to accurately reflect the views of conservative America, they won’t be taught in the schools. If we are to change the culture and return this nation to its once exceptional state, we must make our voices heard. Here is an example of an email I sent to each of my state’s Congressmen. Feel free to copy, edit, or write your own letter, JUST DO IT. You can find the addresses for your representatives here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
As a registered voter in the state of _________, I am informing you of my opposition to the various gun bills, specifically S. 649, the “Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013”, introduced on March 21, that are being introduced in Congress. As you debate these bills in the coming days, please keep the following in mind:
There is little evidence that any of the proposed measures would indeed reduce violent crime, however there is evidence to show that in many areas of the country where the legal ownership of guns is encouraged, violent crime has been reduced.
The Constitution guarantees our right of gun ownership for more than just hunting and personal protection against crime. It was clear from the other writings of our Founding Fathers, that gun ownership was a way to protect the citizenry from the overbearing tyranny of a government out of control. As an informed voter, I would strongly reconsider my support for a Congressman who votes in favor of any bill that would increase the stranglehold of governmental power, while decreasing my right as a citizen to maintain control over it.
Common sense dictates that one of the best ways to increase safety in our schools and communities is to improve services to the mentally ill. Our system now is a revolving door where treatment is fragmented and inadequate. Steps need to be taken to make it easier for parents, legal guardians and law enforcement officials to commit violently mentally ill persons for treatment. There also needs to be in place a system by which such persons are monitored to be sure that treatment plans are followed.
All schools should be required to provide adequate armed security based on the number of students and staff on the property, and funding should be made available for this purpose. This security could take many forms, from district created police forces, to support from local law enforcement, to the training and arming school staff. The choice on what form this should take should be left up to the local school districts.
Background checks are an important tool to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. I personally do not object to background checks for the personal sale of firearms. However the exchange of guns between family members, whether through sale, gift, or inheritance should be exempted from this requirement. Furthermore the checks should be accomplished using existing databases. There should not be any database created to track applications for background checks, or gun purchases.
We were all horrified by the slaughter of innocent children at Sandy Hook, but as terrible as these types of incidents are, it is important that as a representative of your constituents, you put the emotional considerations aside and base your vote solely on the constitutionality of the bills at hand. Our personal liberties are precious and come time for reelection, my vote then will be heavily influenced by your vote now.