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A Response

08 Feb

Earlier today, I tweeted Sebastian’s post regarding the House Democrats’ 15-point gun safety plan. One of my closest friends responded on Facebook:

So, I’ve been quiet on a LOT of gun stuff lately, because I’ve felt that things needed to settle a bit–that I should wait until some actual plans ere put forth rather than speculation about what plans would be. Can I ask you a question now?

Looking at these 15 points, with the important exception of numbers 3 & 4, which I grant are easily infringements on the 2A, how is this a bad plan? Allowing sales among the law abiding, strengthening background checks, cracking down on illegal purchasing…how are these things bad or infringements? The Fathers did’t write, and i don’t mean this with any sarcasm, “the right to easily purchase arms,” (I know there’s still the problem of the AW ban…but let’s put that aside for now), a law that slows but does not prevent purchase of a gun doesn’t seem to me to be an infringement.

The gun rights activists that I hear all say that we cannot in any way keep guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens, and I agree with that. But we must find ways of at least TYRING to keep them out of criminals hands. And the mentally incompetent. How is “Clos(ing) the holes in our mental-health system and make sure that care is available for those who need it” a reduction of the Second?

And I must say that the blogger’s opinion that democrats don’t support the First because the want to “Address our culture’s glorification of violence seen and heard though our movie screens, television shows, music and video games.” That’s not a ban. That’s not a restriction. Wanting to talk about the problems that these kinds of speech create is not against the First, it’s addressing the use of the First–it’s having a dialog about how we as a society view and value violence and in what ways. Is talking about that a breach of an amendment?

These and similar questions are ones that I want to understand the answers to. I believe I”m simply operating on a different paradigm that prevents me from seeing how these things are troublesome. Honestly, it seems that the problem is that it came from the mouths of Liberals.

For the sake of these arguments, let’s say that there is NO way of getting a ban passed, and that it’s a non-issue. I know it IS an issue, and I’m against that ban mostly, but I”ve heard so many of the other things attacked that I can’t understand why.

I am answering his questions here because my response is too long for Facebook. I also want to broaden the discussion. If you choose to participate, please be courteous to all parties involved. Discourtesy is not only unproductive, it also shows that you are not yet ready for the discussion.

Here are the 15 points and my response to each:

  • Support the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans

Appears okay, on the surface. However, when laws become too restrictive, you can instantly turn the “law-abiding” into criminals.

  • Support citizens’ rights to possess firearms for hunting, shooting sports, defense, and other lawful and legitimate purposes

Again, sounds okay. Comes back to your definition of “lawful” and “legitimate.” As I understand the antis, there is no legitimate reason, or purpose, to own a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. In the case of New York, 7.

  • Reinstate and strengthen a prospective federal ban on assault weapons
  • Reinstate a prospective federal ban on assault magazines

Violation of the Second Amendment, as previously mentioned.

  • Require a background check for every gun sale, while respecting reasonable exceptions for cases such as gifts between family members and temporary loans for sporting purposes

Ah, the much discussed “gun show loophole.” The argument usually goes as follows: “Who could possibly be against a universal background check? What are you afraid of? Or what are you trying to hide? Background checks will prevent criminals or the mentally ill from getting firearms.”

Except, they won’t. Background checks didn’t prevent Newtown, Virginia Tech, or Columbine. One can always wonder how many shootings have been prevented, but that’s all one can do is wonder. A concern arises in that a right can be removed simply by bureaucratic fiat. All it takes is the stroke of a pen to declare that anyone who has taken or is taking an anti-depressant to be determined “mentally ill” and thus unfit for firearm ownership.

  • Strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database

Strengthen how? I say let the states coordinate with each other. The Federal government does not need to be involved in this any more than it already is. When I purchase a firearm from a dealer, the state of Utah runs a background check on me through both the state and federal databases. A firearm cannot be legally purchased by an out-of-state resident without the firearm being transferred from one FFL (Federal Firearms License) to another, and a background check must be passed before the FFL can release the firearm to the purchaser.

  • Prosecute those prohibited buyers who attempt to purchase firearms and others who violate federal firearm laws

Is this not currently being done? While we’re at it, we should prosecute every single person in the BATFE, Justice Department, Legislative Branch, and Executive Branch who knew about Operation Fast and Furious.

  • Pass legislation aimed specifically at cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and straw-purchasing

Oh, I know, let’s make it MORE ILLEGAL! Also, see #7

  • Restore funding for public safety and law enforcement initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence

Like the funding of school resource officers that the Obama Administration cut.

  • Support initiatives that prevent problems before they start

What does this even mean? Hopefully, it means that the Federal government will start supporting initiatives like the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.

  • Close the holes in our mental-health system and make sure that care is available for those who need it

Something that probably shouldn’t have been taken away from the states. Too late now. I’m sure that they’ll find a way to leverage this through the Affordable Care Act, which will continue to push premiums and costs way up. I’d like to know what the “holes” are.

  • Help our communities get unwanted and illegal guns out of the hands of those who don’t want them or shouldn’t have them

This just sounds like a massive smoke screen. “Hopefully, if we keep screaming nonsense about ‘assault magazines’ (I don’t even know what that is), and scare people enough, they’ll demand that we do something.”

  • Support responsible gun ownership

What does “responsible” mean? Is keeping firearms disabled and locked away “responsible?” Are mandatory trigger locks “responsible?” Are magazines with no more than 10 rounds “responsible?”

  • Take steps to enhance school safety

See #9

  • Address our culture’s glorification of violence seen and heard though our movie screens, television shows, music and video games

If they are serious about this, then I applaud them. Unfortunately, our country would have to admit that our two largest economic drivers are pornography and small arms, and by small arms I mean arms sold to foreign military establishments; comparatively, civilian sales are just a drop in the bucket.

“Talk[ing] about the problems that these kinds of speech create…” does not necessarily equal addressing the issue. Addressing may be discussion. Addressing may be doing something because well, it’s what you do instead of something (as SayUncle says). A constructive dialogue is the place to start. Unfortunately, this issue will not be solved legislatively. Not until the people have said, here, this far and no further, will the issue begin to change culturally.

As to some other points. “A law that slows but does not prevent purchase of a gun doesn’t seem to me to be an infringement.” A right delayed is a right denied. Apply this logic to other rights protected by the Bill of Rights.

  • Needing to pass a background check before you can practice your religion, practice free speech, peaceably assemble, or petition the government for a redress of grievances
  • Needing to pass a background check before you can be tried by a jury

When states try to enact voter ID laws, those laws are attacked. All the state is trying to do is run a background check, to verify that person can legally vote.

In the end, this 15-point plan appears to be little more than House Democrats saying, “We support the Second Amendment, but…” and that’s the problem. When you say but, then you don’t support it. Take a look at your significant other. Look deep into his/her eyes and say, “I love you, but….”

This cuts across both political parties and across the political spectrum and forces us to call into question what we truly believe. I encourage us all to do so.

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