Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Where Did the Second Amendment Come From?

In the wake of the insane shooting that took the lives of churchgoers, for the offense of their skin color, a lot of Americans are thinking this--how the hell did that insane racist get his hands on a firearm? How can we keep firearms from lunatics and criminals?

It's very tough to do this in the United States. For one thing, the NRA is very powerful. It does everything it can to hinder any and all restrictions on firearms. And a big talking point is that there are too many, not too few laws. Another, around here, is how tough the laws are in New York and New Jersey. These arguments sound pretty good unless you consider them a little more carefully.

There's a glaring gun show loophole in the United States. I mentioned this on Facebook, and a commenter replied that New York had very tough gun show rules. However, if 33 other states don't, what difference does it make? You can go to some show, buy a gun, and bring it to New York or anywhere else with no issue. What difference does it make how tough the laws are in New York or New Jersey if you can freely go elsewhere and buy anything?

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and no one checks anyone crossing state borders. That's why Bonnie and Clyde were always crossing them. In Iowa, blind people can get gun permits. I'm not sure they can get driver's licenses, so they may have to enlist friends to drive them over state borders, but you get my point. State laws are largely irrelevant, and a poor argument against regulating firearms. While they don't work, it's ridiculous to determine, therefore, that legislation is useless. That implies Americans should shrug our collective shoulders, sigh, and say, "Oh well, I guess we'll have more churches and schools shot up." 

Another objection I hear is that many of the guns in these incidents are unregistered. Considering that anyone can go to any of 33 states and buy a firearm without a background check, that's not surprising. What's surprising is that any thinking person could oppose closing the gun show loophole. Guns don't magically rain from the sky. Gun owners should be responsible for accounting for their guns and immediately reporting their sale, disposal or theft. Guns need to be regulated nationally, not by state.

Some will argue that this violates the 10th Amendment, or that this abridges their rights under the 2nd Amendment. Some will say this violates the sanctity of the Constitution. But the fact is, the Constitution was not given to Moses by God on a mountaintop. Were that the case, there would be no need for amendments. And the amendments are not etched in stone on those tablets either.

It's our job to prevent further atrocities. It's our job to do everything in our power to remove options from lunatics. I don't see how that hinders law-abiding gun owners, but with all due respect, they are not priority number one for me. The presumption that their right to own guns trumps the right of churchgoers and students to worship and study in peace is a poor one.

This country bends over backwards to accommodate the NRA. It also bends over backwards to accommodate Bill Gates. It's time we do what's best for our people, rather than what's best for those who stuff the most cash into the pockets of our politicians.
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