It’s no revelation that the United States is a nation of guns. Liberal as I am, I like guns. I’ve shot guns, and I’ve owned a gun. However, there is a definite line between what I believe, and what most conservative gun nuts believe.
First of all, there is absolutely no reason in the world that the unregulated public should be allowed to own more than a hand gun or hunting rifle. The AR-15 for example, the mass shooters weapon of choice, can be bought for as little as $600 at any gun show, or even at Walmart. It’s light weight, and can fire up to 8 rounds per second. It was used in the Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernadino, and Aurora shootings. It was designed in the 1950’s, and has been a military weapon of choice ever since. It’s sole purpose is to kill as many people as possible, in as short of time as possible. No one who is not in the armed forces or a police force has any business owning such a weapon. The scary thing is, it is estimated that there are millions of such weapons in the hands of private owners in the U.S. To paraphrase one of my regular blog commenters, it puts America at the mercy of any crazed, one man militia. That’s a sobering thought, and it makes me not want to leave the house-ever.
Second, mandatory background checks and weapons training is not a bad thing. We have to go through training and testing to drive a car. For CDL-A truck drivers, testing and training is even more rigorous. Hell, we have to go through background checks and drug testing just to get a job. Why are there no uniform laws when it comes to buying a gun? In the case of Omar Mateen, a man who was on the FBI radar not once, but twice, he easily bought an assault rifle shortly before his attack on the Pulse Night Club. This is due to the fact that Florida has some of the most lax gun laws in the country. Don’t let the gun nuts fool you: They claim that less guns equal more crime. However, when you combine the 2013 FBI crime statistics, the last full year of statistics available, with gun laws by state, the opposite is true. The homicide rate in states with tighter gun laws is 4.32 per 100,00 people, while the homicide rate in states with looser gun laws is 5.74 per 100,00, based on those 2013 statistics.
Third, is open carry and concealed carry. This isn’t the wild west folks. Unless you’re law enforcement, there is absolutely no reason to be walking around with a side arm strapped to your hip, or under your jacket. I live in Kentucky, an open carry state, and I never felt safe when someone with a side arm walked into the kwickie mart that I worked at. Open carry and concealed carry doesn’t prevent trouble in my opinion, it invites it. Omar Mateen had a license for concealed carry: Does that make you feel safe?
Fourth, the 2nd Amendment is vaguely worded, and was written at a time when all there were only single shot, front loading weapons. Our founding fathers wrote this amendment thinking that it was good for every able bodied man to have a musket ready to form a state militia at a moment’s notice. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be happy, if they knew that most people think the 2nd Amendment give us the right to carry military grade weapons with little to no regulation. On two separate occasions, once in the 1930’s, and again during the Bush II presidency, a conservative Supreme Court stated that the 2nd Amendment didn’t provide for what kind of weapons, nor the processes of buying such weapons. They in fact ruled that state and federal government had the authority to decide on what we could own, and the manner in which we could own.
In my opinion, guns like most things in life, are ok in moderation. There is nothing wrong with owning a hand gun, or a deer rifle. However, guns in the wrong hands are obviously deadly, particularly military grade guns. There needs to be uniform, tightly restrictive laws in place concerning what we can own, and how we own them. As heinous as these mass shootings are, there are still by far more hand gun deaths per year in this country. This is mainly because there is easy access for any whack job, or owners simply aren’t responsible with them. There need to be background checks, there need to be mandatory training programs. Hell, I’m all for psychological exams before buying a gun. In addition, no more open/concealed carry for an unregulated populace.
However, gun violence in this country has gotten out of hand a long time ago, and we can’t continue to wring our hands and offer prayers for the dead and injured. We just can’t. If all else fails, then I say fuck it and strike the 2nd amendment from the Constitution, NRA be damned. I would rather be a country of no guns, than a country full of mass murdering yahoos with axes to grind, even if i do like to pop off a round or six every now and then.
One more thing. I found this interesting: A list of Senators who voted against the last round of gun legislation. I’m betting the NRA expressed their gratitude in the form of good sized donations to each and every one of them. Maybe instead of offering prayers for the dead, they could offer votes for the living. I’m just saying.
As a whole, we are a society that needs to find reason and place blame. Our history bears this out. In the U.S. alone, there is centuries worth of finger pointing. We have blamed and punished Native Americans and African Americans. During the late 19th century, and early 20th century it was Anarchist and Socialist. During WWI it was the Germans. During WWII it was the Japanese and Germans. During the 50’s through the late 80’s it was the Communist. Since 9/11 it’s been the Muslims. The point is that every time we face a period of crisis, someone must bear the brunt of the blame, just or unjust. We are a wary and suspicious society. Mistrusting and mistreating the square pegs who do not fit into our round holes.
In the case of Omar Mateen, I see no proof that his actions were representative of his religious beliefs. There are no manifestos created by Mateen, there are no social media rants that we know of. He supposedly declared allegiance to ISIS, but the FBI claims there is no proof of that. There is no indication what so ever that he killed in the name of his god. Yes, Islam does condemn homosexuality, but so do many Christian religions. If Catholic John Smith committed this atrocity, he would simply be another homophobic asshole with no regard for life. We would be attacking the man, not the religion or any other group he happened to fit into. Furthermore, if Mateen was a radical Islam terrorist, why target one specific group of Americans?
This man, Grady Mateen was a monster pure and simple. He was violent, as his ex wife will attest t. He mistreated and beat her regularly. He hated those who were LGBTQ. His disdain for two men kissing in public months before would bear witness to that. He was a misogynist and a homophobe. He was mentally ill. He was a product of a society that routinely denigrates women and hates those of same sex orientation. If you don’t believe me, go on Twitter, where you’ll find many tweets from so called Christians who are cheering Mateen for his actions. It’s sickeningly ironic that the same people who would rage against people of Islam, are now holding a Muslim up as a hero for slaying so many gay and transgendered in one fell swoop. These internet bullies are as grotesque as the man who seemingly did their dirty work for them.
In conclusion, blame the man who committed the act, not the religion. Place shame on a person who would be so filled with malevolence, that he drove 5 hours to massacre those who were born different than he. Furthermore, blame a society that marginalizes and castigates the LGBTQ populace. Blame a public mindset that places more value on guns than people. Blame a government that protects assault weapons instead of human beings.
It’s ok to point fingers. In fact, go ahead and point fingers as if you were in a doughnut shop.
Just be mindful to point the finger at the right doughnut when you do.
Still think that Wal-mart AR-15 is needed to fight off tyranny? Just to be clear, there is no fucking way that an army of pseudo Rambos is ever going to fight off the most well trained, well armed military the world has ever seen. Seriously, just do us all a favor, and stop frothing about your 2nd Amendment rights. We do have the right to bear arms, but state and federal government has the authority to dictate what we can own, and what we have to do to obtain them. Ask Justice Scalia: He’s the one who made that statement back in 2008.
Besides, if y’all want to keep up the bravado of over throwing the government, you’re liable to find yourself on the business end of a Flying killer robot. Believe me folks, a lack of AR-15’s and 30 round magazines are the least of our worries.
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.
Look familiar? It should: it’s from the 2nd Amendment, and it continues to be the most quoted and argued phrase when it comes to gun control. Both pro gun and gun control advocates alike work very hard to interpret this clause in order to support their arguments.
Gun advocates such as the NRA argue that the amendment guarantees the right of the individual to own a wide variety of firearms. The gun control advocate believes that the amendment merely guarantees the states the right to operate a militia. So which interpretation is right?
In any case involving the interpreting of the Constitution and it’s Amendments, many turn to the courts to get a clear understanding. As far as the definition of the 2nd Amendment, the Supreme Court case of 2008, District of Columbia v Heller, seems to hold the most clarity. Essentially, in order to reduce gun violence in the D.C. area, a statute was passed banning hand guns in the city limits. The law brought forth many challenges, and ended up in the Supreme Court. The law was struck down by a narrow 5 to 4 vote.
In perhaps the only time I would ever agree with Justice Scala, he had this to say about the decision ( I’m paraphrasing here folks)
1. The right to bear arms is consistent with the overriding purpose to maintain strong state militias. In other words, and individual can own a gun whether in a state militia or not.
2. The decision should not cast doubt on laws restricting ownership of guns by felons, or the mentally ill, and bans on especially dangerous or unusual weapons would most likely be upheld.
Simply stated, the crux of the Supreme Court’s decision is this: As Americans, we do have the right to own guns, militia or not, as long as we are not convicted felons, or mentally ill. However, state and federal law makers are enabled to determine and consequently ban any weapon that is overly dangerous or unusual. As a gun owner myself, the last part of this sentiment is what has a strong meaning to me.
In my opinion, we do have a right to own guns. However, there should be concise laws regulating what we can own, and what qualifications we should meet in order to own them. I have no problem with laws that ban guns which are deemed as assault weapons. As citizens, we simply do not need automatic or semi-automatic weapons. These weapons were designed to kill as many people in as little time possible, they are barbaric, and should absolutely be illegal to own by the public.
The liberty extremist would argue that we should be allowed to own such weapons, in order to call up state militias and protect ourselves from a government suddenly turned tyrannical. This is malarkey, how often has this country needed to fight off our own government since the Revolutionary War? Furthermore, if by some chance, someone managed to gain control of our military and over throw the government, how much of a chance do you think a poorly trained, hastily thrown together state militia would stand against a well armed and highly trained military? None, zero, zilch, nada. We would be squashed like grapes in a wine press. Even if we were an army of Rambos and John McClains, we wouldn’t stand a chance, no matter how many AR-17s or whatever assault rifles that are available we can muster.
In addition, the argument that if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will own guns is bogus. Apply some common capitalist sense here: If assault weapons are illegal, demand for them goes down, commercial gun makers either stop or limit how many guns are made, so supply goes down with demand. Whatever supply is left would see a dramatic increase in cost. It’s supply and demand 101 folks, it’s not that hard to reason through. If assault weapons are too hard to find and too expensive to buy, I doubt very much that a criminal is going to have the capability to get a hold of one.
If we want to see the elimination of these tragic mass shootings, and we all do of course, any solution to this murderous epidemic must include a discussion about bans on assault weapons. The conservative leaning Supreme Court of 2008 tells us that it is not unconstitutional to ban them. We can’t own tanks or nuclear weapons, or any other WMD, why are mass killing assault guns viewed differently? They shouldn’t be,they serve the same function.
And that my friends, is where we should draw the line on gun ownership. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m taking my pistol to the gun range to practice.