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Posted by Jonathan E Johns


I was considering the Second Amendment recently. I saw an episode of Thirty Days last spring, where a woman from a large city who had a friend who was a victim of gun violence went to the rural areas of America to live with a man and his son, who were both gun advocates. I learned a little about both sides of the argument, but not really enough to understand what is behind the ideas of more gun freedom.

I honestly try to understand the 'other side' of the debate about gun control. I ask a very few people around these parts about it, but it is a dangerous idea to bring up, almost as bad as abortion. But I really want to understand the basics behind the whole thing. I never get anything but regurgitated sound bites from most people, as if they don't even understand the situation or consequences themselves. Most often, the idea is that there are some people out there who want to 'take away' peoples guns. I think that is mostly an NRA preaching point. I've never heard anyone say that anyone wants to take away anyones guns, but I have heard much about restricting the sale of some guns, and that has successfully happened in many places around the country. I have also understood that a handgun can be purchased, but it requires a three-day waiting period. This is also a pretty common thing across our country.

So I would like to start the debate, or questionnaire off with this stuff. It has already passed a majority of the country, is already law in many places, and is commonly accepted. So why do some people think it is dangerous? My idea is that they think is it just a preamble of sorts, leading to more and more, and if an inch is given, and mile is not too far behind. If they can return the laws to the way they were before, they are back at a more even position in the 'tug of war'. But what I want to know is where is their end point? What does complete success look like to them, and why do they want it that way, and what do they believe gives them or anyone the rights to have that level of success?

There are a lot of questions there, but I am truly curious. Does complete success look to them like this; Anyone, anywhere in the United States can buy any kind of weapon without any identification, or waiting period, and use these weapons for any use they want to? As absurd as that sounds, their theory is that if everyone can have them, then the criminals will think twice about using one. A single armed robber in a bank only has to contend with one other armed person in the room, the guard. If the same robber considered that there may be twelve other concealed weapons in the room, he would think twice about it. Which is, all by itself, a reasonable argument. But expanded, it means an armed public, and it means that if you don't mow your lawn on the day your neighbor thinks you should, you could easily be shot for it.

The second question before was, why do they want society to be like that? I think it is that they just don't want anyone telling them what they can and cannot do. I think there is a small minority in the U.S. That thinks that freedom means that each individual in the country is free to do whatever they want, and no one anywhere, at any time can tell them otherwise. Freedom means just that. But because that is a little on the fringe, they use issues, and preach fear to get a larger group of individuals to lean their way. I might tell a room of twenty people that I think everyone should be free to do whatever they want, and everyone looks cross-eyed at me, but when I start laying out a fictitious hypothetical out on the floor, people start to listen. If I start by saying that if the government is the only people allowed to have guns, then the government can do whatever it wants to, and what the founders wished for couldn't possibly happen. Our forefathers wanted us to be able to change our government any way we wanted to, every 2-4 years. If, just for example, the populace wanted to have communism as its dominant party, we could elect a communist government, but if after 2 years, we decided that it was ludicrous, we could easily vote for republicans or democrats to fill the House, and then 2 years later, vote for a president of a different party. But, if the government decided not to let us have our way, we could gather arms against that government, and revolt. Without freedom of arms, we would be defenseless. So therefore, it was put as the very second thing the forefathers decided on, the right to bare arms.

Now the room starts to listen more intently, and people say that that guy is crazy, but he has a point. The he starts talking about hunting, and fishing, and in reality, in some parts of our country, hunting is not just for sport, but for both sustenance, and defense. Try fighting off a grizzly bear in Alaska with a taser, or an air horn. Sure either might work once, but if the bear starts to charge, it would be nice to have a high-powered rifle next to you to keep the bear away from your children.

This is how I believe the minority gets more and more followers on its side. With fear, and hypothetical situations.

But it doesn't really answer my question. What do they think gives them the right? Well, the Second Amendment does. But in its own vagary, it is interpreted in many different ways. And although the founders probably thought it was actually quite clear, they did leave us a system which could amend, and interpret for the future. Currently, our rational leadership in government also believes that you should be able to protect your child from a grizzly bear, so that hypothetical doesn't hold water. The government also supports hunting and fishing, it even has a Cabinet level position in charge of it all, the Department of Interior, and we are also taxed and regulation on our hunting to insure both safety, and the support of the wildlife for future generations. True hunters and fishermen are some of the most fervent conservationists in our country. So then, it must be in the interpretation.

It must be that they actually think that every man woman and child should be able to own the same kind of weaponry as the government, including tanks, and nuclear weapons. Sound outrageous, but I think that is what the extreme minority believes, and have spread their virus of theory out to parts of the mainstream. The problem that the minority understands, and we all should, is that the types of people who sway their way are uneducated, and just don't understand anything but what they are told. And if there are only extremists telling them what is what, then that is what they believe.

If those twenty people in the room heard an opposing view, and saw evidence that the Bear attacking children idea does not hold water, they would hesitate, and that might be the only thing we need to push the minority back down.

I think everyone should be able to own any legal gun. I think our state, and federal governments should listen to us, and represent our feelings as well, if the majority of us want AK-47's, then so be it. If we decide that is too extreme, we can vote them out in two years, and get a new law passed. I think a three day waiting period is reasonable. A gun is an item which requires a great amount of responsibility to both own and use, and if you are too irresponsible to plan ahead, maybe you should reconsider owning that .357 Magnum. Around here, it is hunting season, and people of all types go out into the woods and look for a legal deer to shoot, and then have processed, and eat. Parents and children bond during this time, gun safety, and conservationism is passed down the generations, lessons about life and death are learned. The mass majority of hunters follow the existing laws, and enjoy this time of year, and recall with great joy previous seasons. But the fringe minority goes out driving their big trucks, spotlighting deer, and shooting them with fully automatic machine guns, and taint the entire situation.

I don’t think it is a time for more gun control, but it might be an opportune time to educate the masses about what the second amendment really means to us.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 2:59 PM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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