Honesty On Gun Control

I’m going to eschew the Tommy Franks-style theorizing that recent politics have made popular again, but even if we go beyond theorizing about the Guns-Gods-Gays baiting that the GOP have turned into an art form, it is still important to understand that Democrats still face big challenges when it comes to those who take the 2nd Amendment with them into the voting booth.

Let’s face it, there is absolutely no amount of pandering on the issue that’s going to give us any help. John Kerry proved that in 2004, andI’m skeptical that all of Hillary Clinton’s recent gun talk is truly going to endear her to firearm enthusiasts. We can also argue the second amendment all we want, but that has essentially turned into an ugly and predictable excercise.

One side reads the “right to bear arms” part, while the other side reads the “well regulated militia” part. Rinse and repeat.

I think one of the reasons why there has been so little progress on this issue for either side is the fact that there seems to be so little honesty about it. Or at least, things don’t seem to make much sense. We push for gun control laws because guns are dangerous, and people use guns to make killing other people much easier. People push against gun control laws because it is seen as an deliberate infringement of their rights.

In some cases, it is seen as an infringement upon their culture.

The thing that strikes me funny is that there seems to be room for compromise, but we never seem to get there. Instead, we struggle and push and occasionally win gun control laws that really don’t seem to do much of anything. I mean, limiting magazine capacity is really going to do something? What about the bullets that are already in the gun?

But because we’re either too afraid, or incapable of going against the gun lobby, we take what we can get, even if what we can get really doesn’t get us anywhere closer to where we want to be.

What I would like to see is simple honesty from a Democratic politician on this subject. I don’t want to see duck hunting photo ops, or hear about varmint hunting as a youngster, I want to see a Democrat talk about the issue.

Express straight up to the gun lobbies, like the NRA, our concerns. We don’t want to take guns away. We do respect that guns are a right and a part of the culture for many Americans. But we also want to come up with a system where we can enjoy our second amendment right responsibly. Where we can do so safely.

One thing that both sides want is to keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys, we just have different ideas about it. Pro-gun folks believe the answer is to have bigger and better guns (okay, I apologize, that is likely not true), and more importantly that gun control laws only punish law abiding citizens; law breakers, likely, would only break gun control laws as well. Meanwhile, gun control folks believe that there are laws that can be put on the books, waiting periods, background checks, and perhaps some guns banned or at least limited in availability that would help reduce the probability of the wrong person getting hold of a gun.

I would love to see a Democratic politician approach it from this angle, to not back down out of fear from the points the other side has, but instead to create a meaningful compromise that would actually have the potential to reducing gun violence and related crimes.

I don’t have hardly enough answers on this, but I stand by my old position on this; why not treat guns the way we treat cars?

In order to drive a car, the motorist must be trained, pass a competency test, and jump through other hoops to ensure that that person is a competent and knowledgeable driver. There are still plenty of car wrecks, and plenty more lousy drivers, but at least there’s a system in place that does the job. Can you imagine how bad off things would be if all you needed to drive a car was to own one?

Chaotic.

Why not establish a system like that for guns? Indeed, many of the gun enthusiasts I’ve known have touted the safety of guns when they have a responsible and knowledgeable owner. In fact, to ease the process along, why not invite the gun lobbies and gun enthusiasts to help develop the system? Let them help create mandatory training courses on gun safety and marksmanship, and let them play a major role in developing standards and testing methods. That way they can not only make sure that the system is created by people who love and respect guns, but they can make sure it’s fair, and not geared towards blocking citizens from enjoying their second amendment right.

Not everyone’s going to jump up and down in celebration on this one, but the gun control folks can actually start taking steps towards affecting real gun control that may curb real gun violence, while anti-gun control folks can make sure that the constitution is being adequately defended.

Just a thought.

(edited by DrGail)

4 Responses to “Honesty On Gun Control”

  1. Jason says:

    Great article. I must confess, being prior law enforcement, that I am a big believer in gun ownership because a gun, in the right hand is a very effective levelizer. It gives a 70 year widow a fighting chance against a hoodlum who is breaking into her house. Anyway, my point was, of all of the remarks by liberals and the left on guns, you actually make sense. I am tired of being treated like I am the scum of the earth because I believe I should be able to defend my family with a gun and I think abortion is wrong, and I am especially sick of politicians patrionizing me by going duck hunting! Someone like you, I could have a dialog with. Because you are willing to talk and listen.

  2. Aardvark says:

    This “treat guns the way we treat cars” is a common sentiment, but it is flawed. Firstly, anyone with the money is allowed to OWN or KEEP (or even USE) a car, on their own property, or off public roadways. One is not required to attend drivers ed, be of legal age, have a clean record or be of sound mind to simply buy or own a car. In fact, I have seen one writer in support of gun rights praise the “the way we treat cars” argument for exactly this reason. Likewise, I do not consider unrestricted concealed carry to be necessary for my personal safety or my family’s safety at home. I only want a gun for the home. Treating guns “the way we treat cars” would mean ANYONE passing the training and test over the age of 16 (in my jurisdiction) would be allowed to have or “operate” a gun on the streets! Youth would have impromptu speed draw and shooting competitions, the way they compete with (their parents’) cars. Perhaps they’d even be firing off guns in public for show, the way they perform burnouts in public with automobiles. (As a matter of fact, concealed carry of firearms is in practice, not permitted to civilians in my state.) Is treating guns “the way we treat cars” REALLY what “gun control” supporters want? This requires more thought. If what gun control supporters want is to take or keep guns from millions of law abiding citizens, they need to be honest enough to argue from that basis, and deal with the resulting controversy.

  3. Heh. Aardvark, you point out practical flaws in my proposal, but please please please let’s not assume that I want to “keep gusn from millions of law abiding citizens”.

    I don’t. And really, what Jason speaks to above you, that’s what I’m going for because, I’ll be honest with you, my interpretation of the second amendment is not kind. There is the “well regulated militia” clause that I think is important, and then there is the “arms” word that itself is important.

    Arms, you have a constitutionally protected right to own an arm, it does not specify what kind of arm, and most definitely does not say firearm.

    My point is not to be antagonistic, though, it is so you understand where I come from. I don’t like guns, never have, never saw the big deal. I’ve lived in some shitty neighborhoods before in my life, and I’ve stared down the wrong end of a gun at least once, and nothing has convinced me that I want to have anything to do with firearms.

    BUT

    That’s me. I am who I am. I know many gun enthusiasts who are completely different than me, they own many guns, they collect, hell an old friend of mine used to show off a picture of himself holding to ak-47’s with a big old smile on his face. And I recognize that gun enthusiasts have a right to collect, own and use guns, and I don’t want to infringe upon that.

    I have that opinion because I have hobbies and things that I’m passionate about that I probably would go buy a gun if someone threatened to take them away from me. If our Federal government all of a sudden said that I couldn’t write about politics and current events anymore, you bet your ass, I’m mounting up.

    Oh, hell yes I would use the second amendment to protect the first.

    But I’m getting off topic. The point is that just because I can’t get enthused about guns doesn’t mean that I don’t want to protect the right for other people to own them.

    I simply have two concerns I want to address:

    -Keeping guns away from criminals

    -Making sure that legal gun owners are responsible gun owners.

    Now, there’s not a lot you can do for irresponsible behavior other than to punish it, but the point behind the driver’s license idea is to create a system where at least we know that everyone who purchases a gun does so with a certain level of training to make sure they can be responsible gun owners. Things like never leave a gun loaded when not in use, if you have children make sure that your guns are locked up and out of reach, or whatever…

    And one thing that responsbile gun owners may not understand is that, this isn’t knowledge that comes naturally, or is passed down from one family to the next. I mean, you want something really scary? The actual idea of me going out and buying a gun. I would probably accidentally use the gun to burn the house down or something.

    No, really, I can be that stupid.

    So that’s where I’m coming from.

    Jason, thank you. You know, I try to be open minded, and I try not to sell myself for something I’m not. If I’m going to disagree with you, I’m going to disagree with you, but the thing that I think a lot of us have gotten used to is that we talk right by each other. Like, you brought up abortion, you know what? I don’t like abortion either, but I’m pro-choice, and I have my reasonings for that, and I have ideas and potential solutions that would probably exist in a middle ground for you and I, but those will have to wait for now as I’ve spent the last twenty minutes on this comment and I have to move on to something else, and give my fingers a break.

    Thanks both of you for stopping by and I hope you’ll come be a part of our discussion again.

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