Thursday, January 3, 2013

Second Amendment Fallacies

"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."

To the best of my recollection, this is the only amendment to the Constitution that includes a statement of purpose.  For comparison, here's what the First Amendment says.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishmebnt of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peacably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Straight up prohibition is what you get there.  So, obviously, by including a purpose in the Second Amendment the Founding Fathers, who were responsible for these Amendments as well as the Constitution, wanted to be clear that the right to own arms (and it doesn't even say firearms, so swords and spears could arguably be included) was to serve the end goal of a well regulated militia to secure the freedom of the states.  That means the right to arms is limited only to those who are members of a state run militia.  Well, that's what it should mean.  According to five mental midgets, it means every schmoe on the street has a right to own a gun.

The National Rifle Association has been at the forefront of misreading the Second Amendment and has succeeded beyond all reasonable expectation in turning it into a prescription for gun deaths to exceed auto deaths shortly.  It's close now and is only increasing.  By the NRA's reasoning this is a good thing.  More guns is the answer to every problem, after all. It certainly would remove the need for health care.  Just shoot 'em all.

Here's the thing I don't get.  The NRA argues the need for guns on two premises.  One is protecting yourself from criminals.  The other is protecting yourself from the government.

The first is dubious.  A gun at home or concealed carry is as likely to wind up with the gun owner, a family member, or some innocent bystander dead or wounded as it is an alleged criminal.  And that's the real sticking point.  Shoot first and question later means that there's no due process for alleged crimes.  It also means that shooters are subject to lawsuits for wrongful death or assault.  Assault isn't covered by insurance, either.  Of course, the NRA tries to keep insurers from finding out if someone owns a gun so that the obvious increased risk of harm to someone else isn't known to the insurance company.  Your pool?  No fire hydrants in your neighborhood?  Those an insurance company can find out about.  In NRA  world, your ownership of a gun is not allowed to be asked.  Kind of funny, considering the Second Amendment says the ownership should be regulated.

The second premise is just plain stupid.  You can own all the guns you want.  You can even get together with your friends with all their guns.  There's no chance in hell you're going to stop the government, be it local, state or federal, from kicking your ass.  I'm just waiting for the NRA to argue that the Second Amendment means that you're entitled to own an Abrams or Bradley and some F15s or B2s.  Lets see if the mental midgets are dumb enough to interpret the Second Amendment that way.  Of course, you may as well say there's no government and just a feifdom of warlords, the richest being the only ones able to afford their own private armies.

In the meantime we'll just continue to flood the country with guns so that the criminally minded and mentally unstable can blast away at bystanders, police, firefighters, EMTs and their own family members.

Here's my reasonable proposal for reducing gun violence.  Anyone can own a gun.  It has to be registered with the local government.  Amunition for anything that's not a single shot gun has to be stored at a shooting range.  Shooting ranges have to have security measures to thwart theft and robbery.  Those who collect can then go to ranges to enjoy using their guns and keep the unloaded gun at home to admire and show off.  Those who feel they need a gun for personal protection are limited to a single shot weapon that significantly reduces the chances of carnage like Newtown, Aurora, and on and on.

This won't happen, of course.  A little something called cooperation and compromise is required for that.  The Know Nothings hold far too much sway for that to happen on something as emotionally charged as gun ownership.  Shit, they can't even be reasonable about something as dry as taxing and spending.

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