Can 2nd Amendment extremists tune out this kind of violence, forever?
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 Rochester, NY - I suppose there has always been an uncomfortable marriage between the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and those who are troubled by the increased sophistication and fire power of firearms available for purchase by American gun enthusiasts. However, lately, and mostly fueled by ratings driven-types in the mainstream media, the uncomfortable marriage has been flirting with divorce.
Either-Or thinking, and the 2nd Amendment
Most Americans would agree that some semblance of the 2nd Amendment should and must remain intact. But of course it is to what extent our right to keep and bear arms should be respected by current and future federal governments that is in question here. Trying to effect a delicate (and deadly?) balance between adherence to the Bill of Rights, and then again, respect for the wishes of parents, educators, and average citizens regarding ones expectation to be able to move freely in this society, without undue fear of being gunned down by an AR-15 (or more likely, a hand gun); this is the challenge that lawmakers have before them.
No one, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo or President Obama, is talking about eliminating the 2nd Amendment. What is, and should be discussed are reasonable, rational limits on private gun ownership.
As an analogy, if someone wanted to collect flame-throwers, or working tanks, or if someone alleged that it was their constitutional right to pursue, acquire, and experiment with weapons grade plutonium, or enriched uranium, I feel most Americans would not favor such idiocy.
I support a citizen's right to own a shot gun, or single action hunting rifle. Period. Anything else, including hand guns and assault weapons, I believe is not such a good idea. We don't want criminals or "law abiding citizens" having fire power that competes with the police, SWAT, National Guard, or the military. And weapons that can be concealed, outside someone's home or place of business, is just asking for trouble. So how can private gun owners rest assured that despite the reality of soon-coming (already here?) new gun control initiatives, their ultimate constitutional right to keep and bear arms won't be fully trampled upon?
- There are about 310 million private firearms in America.
- Even if not another fire arm is ever sold or purchased in the U.S., there is likely enough fire power in private hands to put up a good fight against a repressive government in Washington (for a time, until the tanks come rolling in).
- 'Grandfather' laws have thus far not been discussed in the mainstream media, or in legislative bodies, to my knowledge, so it appears there is little appetite on the part of lawmakers and executive branch-types to even discuss outlawing previous gun purchases, which avoids the messy and constitutionally troubling specter of having law enforcement demand access to any cache of private firearms.
The Straw Man fallacy of the Law Abiding Citizen versus "The Criminal"
Every murderer, or violent criminal of any kind, started out as a "law abiding citizen." The NRA types seem to suggest that only "law abiding citizens" should own guns. But how do you or I know, by just scanning a crowd, who is the law abiding citizen? It's impossible to know.
So, should we (could we?) as a society of individuals have already known, and therefore have been able to stop killers like those in Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO, Columbine High School, or Virginia Tech? Of course not. No one (not even God?) can ever know which mentally disturbed individual will become the next Charles Whitman, who in 1966 played sniper one day in a bell tower in Austin Texas, shooting to death 14 people and wounding 32. But this argument works both ways.
Both ways, meaning that Liberals cannot assume, and therefore ultimately restrict the sale of some types of guns to nearly anyone, because again, Liberals, Democrats and Progressives will never be able to anticipate which gun buyer might be the next Charles Whitman. In addition, Conservative Republicans cannot with a straight face use the argument that America should only sell guns to law abiding citizens, and thus implore the federal government to simply weed out the bad guys, and restrict criminals from obtaining AR-15's and Glocks.
None of us knew that George Zimmerman would shoot Trayvon Martin, until Zimmerman shot the unarmed teen. Should we have restricted or done away with Mr. Zimmerman's purchase of a hand gun, before the fact? Even if we wanted to do the impossible, we could and cannot. It's the risk of living in a free society, and maintaining a 2nd Amendment.
Finally, I support the indefinite continuation, and protection thereof, of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In fact, I feel everyone should. But I also feel it is long past time to better define exactly what kind of weapons should be lawful to sell, and which kind should be outlawed, period.
Frankly, I see nothing in the recent proposals by elected executives like Cuomo and Obama that suggests that the 2nd Amendment is in any real danger of eradication.
Hell, even that alleged staunch Liberal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, doesn't support an assault weapons ban.
-Christopher J. Wilmot, Pittsford, NY
[RELATED: Rochester, the Culture of Guns, and the Choice to Disarm]
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