Sigh. It’s been a few days since the tragic shooting in Orlando and the anti-gun rhetoric is in full swing. No surprise there. I just got done reading an article by a Mr. David Cohen from Rolling Stone Magazine titled: “Why It’s Time to Repeal the Second Amendment”, and I am reminded once again why I don’t read this magazine or take anything in it seriously. I generally make it a point to not bring up politics in my blog posts but find it all but impossible not to comment on the current political climate regarding gun control. I think the catalyst was my wife telling me last night that my bother, sister, and father had all signed a petition on Facebook to ban the AR-15 rifle. Its no surprise considering the complete opposite political spectrum they sit on and their lack of any real knowledge about firearms. Regardless it seriously depressed me and kept me up late last night thinking. As a firearms enthusiast I am always interested in what the anti’s are saying in an effort to limit or eliminate our 2nd amendment rights. I chose Mr. Cohen’s article because it was easy pickings. According to Mr. Cohen the 2nd amendment is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact. I have no doubt that Mr. Cohen is a very intelligent individual but I think he has a profound misunderstanding of the purpose of the 2nd amendment and the spirit in which it was enacted.
As a father I find it absolutely imperative to teach my children history to help them understand how our nation was formed and possibly help them insure that as a society we don’t repeat mistakes of the past. As an owner of firearms I believe understanding America’s firearm heritage is an important part of that education. That education often begins with the War of Independence. There were many reasons why we fought the Revolutionary War. Those reasons were primarily financial in nature. Taxes were the chief issues but other philosophical issues also contributed. The Colonies at the time had little voice in British Parliament. The term taxation without representation became a powerful message among the colonist. But how did the Revolutionary War Start? Under what circumstances were the first shots fired? The conflict began very simply when British troops attempted to disarm the colonial citizens. They realized the impracticality of taking away each individuals firearm and instead targeted caches of powder and ammunition. The similarities are striking when one considers recent efforts in this country to attempt to legislate the purchase of ammunition.
So is the 2nd Amendment outdated?
One of Mr. Cohen’s arguments relates to the AR-15 rifle itself and the understandable lack of foresight for the eventual and inevitable evolution of firearms. He argues that the founding fathers could not have predicted the effectiveness of such a weapon. That may be the case, but it is entirely the wrong argument. The AR-15 is the natural evolution of the civilian rifle. What the founders of the Constitution truly couldn’t have predicted was the nature and evolution of our military. If they had, I believe the language contained in the 2nd Amendment would have been that much more clear. The AR-15 or any other semi-automatic rifle for that matter is the least we can hope for in combating and protecting ourselves from our own military and our rulers should the need ever arise again. The intention of the founding fathers wasn’t to insure that the people had muskets or rifles for hunting but rather insure that the people would never be at the complete mercy of a tyrannical government. The founding fathers had just survived a bloody revolutionary war that could not have been won without the common man having the means to pick up arms and overthrow their oppressor. They recognized the importance of this right and took steps to insure its sanctity. I highly recommend this article originally published in the Journal Of American History : The Ideological Origins of the Second Amendment. It is an excellent exploration of the influences and philosophies of the founding fathers when the amendment was ratified.
Is it a threat to liberty?
A large part of Mr. Cohen’s argument for the repeal of the second amendment relates to preserving personal liberty. As he says, we have the right to go to school, a movie, out to dinner or to a club. All without the fear of being gunned down by a madman. Mr. Cohen is right of course. We do have that right. I also have the right to drive to work or wherever and not fear being hit by a drunk driver or a inattentive driver on his phone. Nevertheless it happens all the time. Are cars or alcohol a threat to my liberty? Are bad drivers? Is texting? It’s not cars or alcohol or cell phones that are the problem, it’s their irresponsible and dangerous use.
I find it especially ironic that Mr. Cohen wants to preserve personal liberty by taking away one of our most fundamental HUMAN rights: personal preservation. You know what will never change? There will always be bad people. People who hate your religion, or want what you have, or fear your sexual orientation. There will always be hate. I don’t own guns for personal protection but I certainly see their value in that regard. You can be sure that I have an action plan in place if I ever have to use a firearm to defend myself or my family. I don’t live paranoid but I do live prepared. Contrary to what you may believe, read, or are told, there are many instances of firearms being used in true self defense. Before Mr. Cohen lobbies for the repeal the 2nd amendment I would ask him to answer this question: Would you use a firearm to protect yourself and your loved ones if your life and their lives depended on it?
Is it a suicide pact?
I gather what Mr. Cohen means by suicide pact is that by the mere presence of a guns we are more likely to have more deaths. His argument that if one or more persons was carrying a concealed firearm in Orlando than more people would have been killed is short sighted. Would the knowledge that other persons or potential victims might be carrying a firearm have a deterring effect on the individuals that perpetrate these mass shootings? The choice of targets by many of these individuals would seem to suggest that they purposely choose vulnerable targets. In fact, many are imposed “gun free zones”. Of course, the only persons who have to abide by those impositions our law abiding citizens. The idea that an armed civilian in that nightclub would have resulted in more chaos and death is just an effort to play on people ignorance and fear. Would an armed civilian stopped the killing? Maybe but likely not. Would fewer people have been killed? Quite possibly but maybe not. What if the gunmen instead of being able to fire indiscriminately into the crowd had to take cover himself?
The notion that more guns equals more deaths simply holds no water. Statistical data is clear on this point. Gun ownership has continued to rise and gun deaths have fallen dramatically. I am not attempting to establish causation, its just not that simple. Mr. Cohen however would have you believe: “The gun-rights lobby’s mantra that more people need guns will lead to an obvious result — more people will be killed. We’d be walking down a road in which blood baths are a common occurrence, all because the Second Amendment allows them to be.” This assertion is just not backed up by any facts but is meant, as it has time and time again, to prey on ignorance and fear.
One of the fundamental flaws of gun control in this country is that it largely only punishes law abiding citizens. The majority of firearm homicides in this country are committed by criminals. Many if not most of these firearms were not obtained legally. Furthermore, very few of these murders were committed using rifles like the AR-15. In 2014, according to the FBI statistics, nearly three times as many people were murdered with hands, fist and feet than with rifles. Interestingly, some of the most dangerous Cities in this country can be found in states with the strictest gun laws. I unfortunately live in close proximity to the deadly city of Baltimore in the great state of Maryland. Last May after Freddie Gray’s controversial death, Baltimore had 43 homicides in one month. The most deadly month in forty years. Maryland by the way has very strict gun laws.
Disarming the people won’t stop gun crime and it absolutely won’t make us safer. Where there’s a will there’s a way. France has very strict gun laws. As we saw recently, those laws only disarmed the populace. The bad guys were armed to the teeth. Could an armed citizen have made a difference? I would rather answer that question optimistically than ask my self whether I will be one of the lucky ones who has the fortunate opportunity to run or hide if this ever happens to me.
America is the greatest county in the world. I believe that without reservation. We are not without fault though. In the hearts of some men is great evil. That evil won’t be stopped by gun legislation.
Categories: Random Rants & Philosophizing