A friend of mine, a middle class blue collar man, a single father to a tween daughter, and an avid hunter–even when it’s well below zero–shared some thoughts on guns in America, the NRA and what may or may not be sensible massacre prevention legislation. I am sharing this with his express permission:
I’m going to lose some of you today, and that’s okay. Because we’re going to talk about gun violence. Some of you aren’t going to like that this is even a topic, and you’re exactly the problem.
Let me first say that I’m not anti-gun. I own a shotgun, a handgun and a crossbow. I’m a hunter, of the Caveman Conservationist variety. My retirement plan involves five acres up north, my boat, a cabin built from recycled wood and LOTS of rabbit stew and largemouth bass. I understand that guns have a place in this society; I just dispute that place is anywhere but the woods or the target range. So just because you’re a gun owner doesn’t mean you can’t have an intelligent debate about the best way to regulate guns and protect innocent people.
Generally speaking, conservatives don’t even wish to have the debate, because they feel that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution grants them the right to have killing machines wherever they want. They also feel that guns aren’t the problem, and mental health is; not that they have any interest in mental health services for the poor. When’s the last time a rich guy snapped and killed 40 people at the Country Club?
The biggest problem in this entire issue is the NRA. People who buy guns and are interested in hunting or target shooting are not the problem. The problem is an organization that convinces them to join based on fears of the government, fears of other races, fears of invasion, fears of the police; FEARS. That’s their agenda.
Once you’ve paid your dues to join this despicable organization, they are free to use that money however they see fit. And overwhelmingly the way that they see fit to spend it is through propaganda, advertising, and lobbying.
Every time there’s a new mass shooting, you can already tell by the nature of the shooting what sort of standard, fear-mongering argument the NRA will bring forward; is it the “maybe teachers should have guns” argument? Is it the “regular citizens carrying would have prevented this” argument? Is it the “see, you can’t trust the police” argument? We all see it coming, they come right out with it, plain as day, and nobody bats an eye. Because Second Amendment.
Let’s take a moment to investigate the Second Amendment, which is the only argument they really have that’s hard to refute without a major change in law.
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
There are two generally accepted versions of the Second Amendment. I’ve selected this one, because this is the one ratified by the states and signed by Thomas Jefferson. The other is preserved in the National Archive, and is the official scribe’s version. I trust the version ratified by the states over the version a writer selected. There are subtle differences between the two, mainly punctuation. If you compare the two it’s not hard to see why gun nuts choose the scribe’s version, since it clearly makes a threat of government involvement, therefore giving them another fear to monger.
As a quick aside, I suggest here Jim Jefferies’ comedy bit on gun control. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth it for a laugh; but don’t you DARE miss the fucking point of it. I’ll wait. Enjoy.
I almost want to say “the defense rests” here. Almost.
The truth is logic won’t break this problem; you can waste your life explaining that fat guys in Crocs carrying assault rifles through Wal-Mart isn’t what the Founding Fathers meant by “well-regulated”. You can try showing how nobody has ever “come to take your guns” even though every four years you idiots fall for that line and continue voting Republican. You can explain that the number of mass shootings in this country has skyrocketed in tandem with gun sales. You can show pictures of dead schoolkids. It doesn’t matter. The NRA has too much power, because lobbying. Because campaign contributions.
So here’s my take:
If you don’t support universal background checks, it’s because you wouldn’t pass one. You don’t count. BOOM.
If you think assault rifles are used for hunting, you don’t count. If you need a 30-round clip to take down a whitetail deer, hunting is not your fucking sport. Go take up bowling. BOOM.
If you have ever said the words “take our guns” and meant it, you don’t count. You’re a conspiracy theorist, and not the kind of fella we want to see armed. Seven years, and Obama hasn’t taken one single gun. Stop that. You sound crazy. The NRA sells you that bullshit every election, and it’s time to grow up. BOOM.
If you use the “cars are lethal, too” defense, then you are ipso facto in support of registration, regulation, licensing, insurance, periodical safety examination and extensive training. BOOM.
If you think the NRA “does a lot of good” or has any of your interests in mind, you don’t count. You’re fucking stupid. BOOM.
And lastly, if you ever quote the Second Amendment, you admit two things:
1. That you understand “well-regulated” doesn’t mean every person, every place, every kind of gun.
2. That you understand an “Amendment” is a flat-out admission that laws can be changed, and sometimes need to be.