- Posted January 20, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
The Wrong People are Advocating the Right to Bear Arms
When some people ask how I could criticize the popular rhetoric they parrot about weapons ownership, a thinly veiled sneer of contempt on their face and the whiff of condescension in their words, I look at them and respond, “That’s why.”
For months now, we have been inundated with so-called points about weapons and the 2nd Amendment. Talking heads on every channel opining some perspective to obfuscate plain-as-day facts, misinformation campaigns spreading like flu, and hundreds of acquaintances and friends plastering links on every social service they can. When I point out any of the flaws, “hypocrite”, “liberal”, “fascist”, or some variation tend to be part of the retort.
The fact is that I am part of the drowned majority of armed private citizens. Our voices aren’t heard for a number of reasons. But the voices being presented as advocates, I feel, are the ones most responsible for endangering our rights.
Here are a few of the reasons I think the wrong people are advocating on behalf of the 2nd Amendment.
The NRA is led by extremist ideologues
A basic political reality is that it is much easier to gain support when your message is that someone else wants to take something that is yours away from you, personally. But over the past few decades the NRA has galvanized its position to mean that any regulation, that any attempt to address firearm violence within the system, even that any monies paid to scientists and sociologists to conduct research is the sum result of the Federal Government demanding all of your weapons at gunpoint with the FBI staging a siege on your two bedroom rambler. And while the majority of NRA members do not support this line of thinking, they have failed entirely to remove the extremist leadership from the organization or promote responsible ownership.
The responsibility for gun violence lies anywhere except guns
We should look at mental health as a serious part of the firearm violence problem. After all, the leading cause of death by firearm is suicide. Like the vast majority of responsible owners, I believe we should keep weapons out of reach of felons, the mentally ill, domestic abusers, and stalkers. And like a wide plurality of owners and non-owners alike, I believe weapons should be owned and maintained responsibly. This is why I am so consistently infuriated at organizations like the NRA, which claim to be standing up for my rights, systemically and unrelentingly fighting any and all measures to prevent weapons from getting in to those hands in the first place.
It undermines us when we note that it takes less than a second to switch magazines as an argument against capacity limitations in one breath but then fight proposals that firearms be secured in a safe or lockbox in the next. Biometric safes and briefcases take less than 3 seconds to access and restrict availability to anyone except the owner.
It may also be worth noting that people who can’t wait for a three day background check or escalate dialogue on guns to screaming matches or who don’t recognize that open access to firearms may have something to do with firearm violence in this country may be precisely the sort of mentally ill we would wish to keep weapons away from.
Guns are not tools. Guns are weapons
Obfuscation of what a firearm is doesn’t work on anyone except possibly yourself and the gullible. Making a gun a tool instead of a weapon both denies and redefines its history and purpose. The ultimate giveaway here is when a talking head refers to the 2nd Amendment in one breath, which uses the words “the right to keep and bear arms”, and then refers to them as tools in the next.
Enforce the laws on the books instead of making more
By stating that there are 20,000 laws on the books, it clouds the honesty that extreme lobbying and interest groups have effectively neutered them with just a few amendments to bills and targeted lawsuits. Here’s one thing we all know: a visibly intoxicated person can instantly purchase an AR-15, two handguns, thirty magazines and 1000 rounds at a gun show or thousands of private dealers and no federal gun law was broken.
I know ‘gun grabbing wives’ paranoia festers at shows but how is it possible deadbeat ex-husbands are the constituency of weapon owners we’re trying to protect here?
Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Now I’ll point at a multiple victim murder by a baseball bat
This transparent argument can’t be made without fervent acceptance of the ‘guns are tools’ fallacy. There have been seven mass murders by guns in the past year alone but the anomaly with a hammer is presented as rebuttal? Why are you making owners like me look so ridiculously stupid?!?
<Insert Founders Platitude Here>… because we may soon need to rise up against a tyrannical government
Despite this being the most utilized argument currently by advocates, I’ve put it near the bottom of my list because that’s just how ridiculous the argument and the people that use it are. The mere utterance of this sentiment groups millions of responsible weapon owners like myself with delusional separatists and cults praying for Armageddon when the cities will burn and the time of ‘true of heart’ will come to bring America to its potential. These are people who deem themselves patriots but preach the good that would come from New York being wiped off the map. And this is who you think we, the vast majority of weapon owners, are and want to be represented as?
It’s not lost on anyone that these arguments are only used when Democrats have a seat, but the mere opposition to Democrats existing in the first place is no possible cause to infer a position that longs for the days of the Confederacy.
And let’s also acknowledge some other obvious points. We should start with the fact we just completed an election cycle wherein the majority of the federal government was up for the ballot. We should end with the fact that it is an insult to history to pretend that there is or ever has existed an individual right to attempt to violently overthrow the government.
We need more armed people <and any variation of this i.e. 'if only the victims had guns'> to take down or prevent more massacres
This is the worst argument in the arsenal.
Nancy Lanza clearly believed this probably until the moment she was murdered with her own weapon. There was an armed guard at Columbine. There were armed civilians at Virginia Tech, Clackamas and at Casas Adobes who realized they could hit innocent civilians and prudently opted not to do their best Rambo impersonation.
Security should be part of the solution. But it is not a cure and even ardent 2nd Amendment advocates know this because we all know that President Ronald Reagan was surrounded by dozens of the best trained armed guards in the history of the world and still got shot. Why is this ever presented as an argument?
The right message would sound like this...
People who advocate or perpetrate overt or covert violence in any way do not represent the views of responsible gun owners. The vast majority of gun violence is preventable and meaningful steps must be and should be taken to address this long standing scourge on our society.
Responsible gun owners believe in the Constitutional Right to bear arms and we demonstrate our responsibility by buying from responsible dealers, respecting that our guns are not toys and not meant to be easily and casually available to anyone but ourselves, and by practicing restraint in tense situations. You don’t have to like that many people enjoy hunting or target practice or just shooting a firearm any more than we have to like that some people strongly believe all firearms should be confiscated. However, as we are law abiding citizens who are willing to cooperate with authorities and take reasonable measurements to help address the larger problems with gun violence, we demand the same reasonable respect and cooperation in return.