Last Monday, a gun-owning friend of mine posted a bunch of internet memes on his Facebook page, culminating with “There are two types of people: gun owners and victims.” Someone please remind me what last Monday’s holiday was for — was it gun owner James Earl Ray or victim Martin Luther King, Jr.? I forget.
There are lots of things our government does that I disagree with. Throughout our history, our government has taken away rights of individuals, and we have been able to make great progress without actually taking up arms against the government.
For instance, the civil rights movement led by King helped to convince Americans that the law had to be changed, and they accomplished this with non-violent protests. Other advances were made through our political system (by electing politicians who promoted change) or through our legal system (with lawsuits to force the government to extend rights). In a truly democratic form of government, this is how you progress.
But some gun owners believe that if you don’t get your way in America, it is perfectly fine to advocate violence. They read the 2nd amendment in a way no court has done, and in a way counter to the majority of Americans, but insist, like religious fundamentalists, that they and they alone know exactly what the Constitution means. “We must obey the Constitution!” they scream. “We are true patriots, obeying the will of the Founders! And we will use violence against the government if you try to stop us!”
Yes, because the Constitution must be obeyed. Oh, except that part about treason. That doesn’t count.
(EDIT: It is pure coincidence that as I am writing this, I hear on the news that there is another shooter killing people in a Mall. I could have re-rerun my “Gun Control Shuffle” post, but I’m getting tired of having to run that every few weeks.)
I believe that responsible gun ownership is fine. I also believe that there should be a mandatory testing and training course for anyone who wishes to buy a gun. Basically, getting a ‘license’ to buy and own one. Have a special license for those who want to be collectors else you can only buy a maximum of X (with X being a single digit).
One of my favorite arguments is that guns are what made America – that they are engrained in our history. The same can be said about swords in Japan but guess what people aren’t allowed to own over there?
I own a gun. Said gun has saved me and a woman from some serious violence one night.
Other than the above, it’s sat (and is there now) in a gun case in the bottom of my closet.
I used to own a shotgun. I sold it as during a dark time in my life I realized it was too easy of a temptation.
In a controlled shooting range, a hot shell casing jumped down the back ofm my shirt. I jumped from the pain and pulled the trigger at the same time. I don’t know where the bullet went but after the bang, the gun was pointed at my foot.
Those are my personal stories with guns.
I’ve written about my views on what gun controls would be reasonable here before. You can’t deny though that there are extremists who not only believe ANY regulations are unconstitutional, but also that this means it’s OK to commit treason if the government doesn’t do exactly what you want.
Many of us think prohibitions against gay marriage are unconstitutional, but I’ve yet to see anyone claim that therefore we should all get guns and kill Americans until we get our way.
I have read that at one time Martin Luther King Jr.’s house was like an arsenal, for self protection. He applied for a concealed carry permit (and was denied) to defend himself and his family.
“You can’t deny though that there are extremists who not only believe ANY regulations are unconstitutional,…”
And I have seen extremists who don’t believe ANY regulation is unconstitutional and everyone should just shut up and do what the authorities tell them. If there is an extreme in one direction you can bet there is one in another.
“… this means it’s OK to commit treason if the government doesn’t do exactly what you want.”
All of the Founders of this country were traitors to their original allegiance and would have been hunted down and hung if the Brits had won.
My comments are about a democracy. The Founding Fathers were not protesting a democracy. An armed revolution was needed for them, because it’s not like they could file a lawsuit to get their rights or vote in a new king.
In a democracy, there are ways to change government without the need for violence.
“An armed revolution was needed for them, because it’s not like they could file a lawsuit to get their rights or vote in a new king.”
And right now we have the spectacle of a failed President who more and more aims to rule by decree, by executive orders. We have an IRS going out of its way to attack conservative groups. We have an NSA determined, despite the 4th Amendment, to deny us any privacy whatsoever. We have SWAT police squads also ignoring any concept of a 4th Amendment and breaking into people’s homes without warning, and sometimes killing people who mistake their thuggish actions as criminal invasion.
Story the other day out of New Mexico where police held a guy for a number of hours, because they thought he “clinched his buttocks” and forced him to submit to body cavity searches, an enema, and body scan (and nothing whatsoever was found).
As to democracy solving the problem, that only works when you have responsible citizens, and not a majority dependent on government for their living.
And P.S., Governor Cuomo telling conservatives and believers in the right to keep and bear arms they have no place in New York.
Yes, well, you’re not paying attention. Of course there are violations of our rights every day, and we need to fight against them. If we don’t they just get worse.
But it’s actually been even worse in our history. There have been times when union members were shot at by government goons, and where state militia shot peaceful protesters who were merely trying to be able to sit at the lunch counter. And things improved and the law changed without anyone having to declare treason against the government.
I do my part as a defense attorney fighting against police who abuse their power, and I can accomplish an awful lot with words and paper. I don’t need a gun to get the government to change.
That’s the point.
“I do my part as a defense attorney fighting against police who abuse their power…”
You have my unqualified support in fighting real police abuse (and I fully support police when they just do their duty and respect the rights of individuals).
“I don’t need a gun to get the government to change.”
I have given a lot of thought to how that could work out. If you read the Federalist Papers (#46 I think) Madison talks about a united militia directed by the states defeating a Federal army trying to establish tyranny. In his day that was perfectly feasible. Today the equation is very different, and the difficulty of armed citizens defeating the Feds seems more like a fantasy than reality. But no one really knows. If citizens acted like the Viet Cong did in my war, the equation could be pretty grim. Look at what happened in Hue during the Tet Offensive for clues.
“But it’s actually been even worse in our history.”
Thinking of the almost unbelievable computing power being used today by government, especially the NSA, have you ever read the book “This Perfect Day” by Ira Levin (a good read by the way, with an optimistic ending even)? Given fundamental changes brought about by technology I am do not entirely agree with your assessment for the future.
But I understand your view, and I wish you well in your battles, and I most certainly wish you, and people like you, can protect against that vision of the future.
“If you read the Federalist Papers (#46 I think) Madison talks about a united militia directed by the states defeating a Federal army trying to establish tyranny. In his day that was perfectly feasible. Today the equation is very different, and the difficulty of armed citizens defeating the Feds seems more like a fantasy than reality.”
Not far-fetched at all, if you consider that there is a likelihood that in a truly justified rebellion, portions or all of the military could take the side of the citizens against government. It is only unfeasible in the case that all current “government enforcers” continue to fight on the side of the government, which is unlikely considering that the most likely leaders of a citizen revolt are going to be ex-military (current militias are often led by former combat vets) and they are often friends – or at least have the sympathy of – current military personnel.
And then there’s the idea that a citizen revolt won’t be fought force-against-force. It will be fought as a guerrilla war using what we call “terrorist tactics” today. (And also may, in-fact, look more like the Arib string than the American revolution. (And remember, the Egyptians won without traditional arms in the hands of the populace.)
I think an armed revolution would have a fair, if not absolute, chance of winning, depending on the circumstances of its beginnings, and how the hears-and-minds of the patriots fighting on both side feel about what is going on at that time.
Of course, avoiding war – and the government backing off with their intrusive, oppressive behaviors – is the better solution. Vote the criminal politicians out!
Dan Lineaweaver wrote:
“…portions or all of the military could take the side of the citizens against government.”
Yes, have thought of that. My son who is currently serving in the Marine Corps and contrary to the views of some, they are not all a bunch of “bots” who will follow any order without question.
“It will be fought as a guerrilla war …”
Anyone thinking about possible eventualites should read about the history of the city of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. After the Marines took back the city they had thousands of bodies of government supporters, employees, and sympathisizers to dig up and try to identify. A guerrila war like Vietnam is not just a war between combatants. It may seem like we live in a civilized country, but it wouldn’t take many government atrocities before some people would take out their revenge on anyone they could get their hands on.
Probably film it with their iPhones and post it to Facebook if the government didn’t shut down the Internet.
“I think an armed revolution would have a fair, if not absolute, chance of winning,”
I don’t know. It would certainly have the potential of devolving into a horror few can imagine.
“Of course, avoiding war – and the government backing off with their intrusive, oppressive behaviors – is the better solution. Vote the criminal politicians out!”
I agree with that. Have been in enough wars for one lifetime. Don’t need another. Getting too old.
If we ever got to the point where a President declared marshal law and the army supported him and he/she took away all our rights, then what I said would not apply. I am talking about democracies where there other options. My concern is that many gun owners seem to be defining “tyranny” as “anything our elected officials do that I disagree with.”
I don’t think it is the fact that they do things we disagree with, rather the fact that they do things that the supress individual freedoms, and our belief is that that kind of behavior is unconstitutional, and in fact criminal.
In the case of personal firearms ownership, those rights are inalienable – constitutionally protected and absolute – and anyone who threatens those rights will be seen by us as clearly evil, power-hungry, or just plain wrong/ignorant.
The second amendment isn’t so short and sweet because the founding fathers wanted to keep it loose and up for interpretation. It is simple, because there was supposed to be no question… words like, “Shall not be infringed” in no way welcome “alternate interpretations” in meaning, IMO.
I understand that is your opinion. It is not, however, the current law. Even the Supreme Court (no bastion of liberalism) disagrees, and holds that the 2nd Amendment allows for reasonable gun control.
I have many opinions about the Constitution and disagree with the Supreme Court all the time. But I don’t claim that my view is the only one and the correct one. I have my opinions, and if I were on the Court I’d vote that way, but even the Founding Fathers didn’t agree on the meanings.
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