A gun is not a car, and while there are many valid arguments to make regarding the limitations and responsibilities imposed upon drivers of automobiles under the law, no one intentionally buys a car with the intent of using it as a weapon to kill someone.
In Thursday’s New York Times, attendees of a meeting with West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin to discuss gun control, implied that “going after guns and ammunition capacity would be much like banning box cutters after the September 11 attacks, or limiting whisky and six-pack sales to cure alcoholism.” To that I say, NO. It’s not the same thing. A gun is not a box cutter. A gun is not a bottle of whiskey.
Everyone wants to find the perfect analogy for their gun control argument, whether it’s for or against. I’ve come to realize, albeit slowly, that what results is often specious. Also, we’re wasting time. If the NRA and gun control opponents want to treat the Second Amendment as if it were uniquely closed to interpretation – even though it is quite possibly the most poorly worded of the Framers’ Bill of Rights – then they must at least adhere to the agreed upon definition of a Militia. From Merriam-Webster:
- a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency
- a body of citizens organized for military service
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.
In other words, one cannot detach the first sentence from any of what comes after. The majority of Americans know (and yes, I’m confidently using the majority argument again), they understand, that the Second Amendment was about defending ourselves from attack – not possessing the firepower TO attack. Also, let’s be honest: the Framers lacked the imagination to consider the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle down the road.
Most of us don’t own guns because we’re afraid of them. Even if we don’t put our finger inside the trigger, the majority of us see them as weapons and only weapons, manufactured for the sole purpose of killing. Whether a gun owner possesses a firearm for that purpose, or for protection, sport/target practice, or hunting, a gun is not to be confused with anything else. Pull the trigger and a bullet comes out with the velocity to maim and kill.
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama, with the assistance of senators like Dianne Feinstein, are simply attempting to slow and then stop the existence of high capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons, and prevent the sale of guns to individuals with criminal backgrounds or without the mental capacity to own a gun responsibly. They are NOT attempting any form of tyranny. Let’s not compare cars or whiskey to guns. Let’s not label an honest attempt to prevent the senseless murder of children and other innocents as an attempt by an oppressive government to control its citizens through fiat. These are our elected officials – meaning the majority of us voted for them to represent us and implement laws that best allow us to enjoy certain unalienable rights. I would count among those – in addition to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – an ability to attend school/a movie/a local political event, without fear of being shot and killed.
Guns will always be available to those who insist upon owning them. A great majority of those same people are law-abiding citizens, uninterested in seeking out opportunities to use those weapons, unless it is to hunt animals. As Dianne Feinstein said on Thursday, “No weapons will be taken from anyone. The purpose is to dry up the supply of these (high capacity/assault) weapons over time.” In addition to actually implementing background checks, without ridiculous interference from the NRA, that is all we want, nothing more. A discussion about mental illness and crime is valid and necessary, but right now, I’m talking about guns.
The more we speak out on the issue of background checks and an assault weapons ban, the easier it will be for individuals like Dr. Lynne Fenton to raise high a red flag when alleged Aurora shooter James Holmes tells her he wants to kill; when Colorado police were alerted to the possible dangers of Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Even if these mentally unstable men – not simple ‘bad guys’ described by Wayne LaPierre – got their hands on guns, perhaps they wouldn’t be Bushmasters, and instead of twenty children dead in Newtown, only ten would have died. It’s a morbid thought that ten families in Connecticut wish were the case.
Did you see “Lincoln”? Do you know how many government officials insisted that Lincoln was crazy in his attempt to pass the Thirteenth Amendment? They said it would be IMPOSSIBLE. It wasn’t. Many of our elected leaders – gun control advocates themselves – are saying the same thing about new gun legislation. As Vice President Biden has said, we won’t ever prevent all incidence of gun violence, but for the sake of our fellow man – the children of Newtown/Columbine/Virginia Tech/Jonesboro and the victims of Tucson/Auroro/Ft. Hood, among so many others – we have to try.
Please take a look at this timeline from Mother Jones, “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America”, and then convince yourself that Dianne Feinstein is right when she says: “This is really an uphill battle. If anyone asked today, ‘Can you win this?’ the answer is, I don’t know, it’s so uphill. There is one great hope out there and that is you. Because you are stronger than the gun lobby. You are stronger than gun manufacturers … Only if you stand up, if America rises up, if people care enough to call every member of the House and every member of the Senate and say, ‘We have had enough.’”
In addition to sending a note to your U.S. senator and House representative, you have every right to email other senators, almost unanimously Democrats, who are either friends of the NRA or wavering on their support of new gun control measures. (I’ve included links to their websites below.) Every vote will count and by letting your voice be heard, you CAN make a difference.
Do it. Send one email today. I’ll remind you to send another tomorrow.
Mark Udall: D-Colorado
Max Baucus: D-Montana
Mark Begich: D-Alaska
Jon Tester: D-Montana
Joe Manchin: D-West Virginia
Tim Johnson: D-South Dakota
Kay Hagan: D-North Carolina
Mark Kirk: R-Illinois
Susan Collins: R-Maine
Bob Casey: D-Pennsylvania
Dan Coats: R-Indiana
John McCain: R-Arizona
Martin Heinrich: D-New Mexico
Joe Donnelly: D-Indiana
Michael Bennet: D-Colorado
Life, Parenting, Politics