Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why Not a "Well-Regulated" Gun Culture?

With every shooting - from the Aurora theater shooting where the jury just convicted the shooter to the Tennessee military office shooting by a potential ISIS-inspired shooting - the "gun control/gun rights" debate charges back into our national consciousness. And, no progress is made. We're not decreasing gun violence, we're not controlling the shooters, and we're not moving any closer to an agreement. And, yet, the answer seems to be in the original Constitutional language that both sides cite as evidence.

“A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

There is no doubt that regulation of firearms has been deemed Constitutional. No citizen can own a flamethrower or grenade launcher or M-60. Thus, the "right" of the people to keep and bear arms is infringed only in the sense that firearm possession can be regulated for the safety of society. Of course, any understanding of contemporary society and the current debate reveals just how effectively the NRA has been able to manipulate discussion of the 2nd Amendment.

It truly baffles me that in a society where every automobile must be registered and every driver must be licensed that we can't place the same expectation on gun ownership. It seems so simple. Anyone who wants to own a gun should have to pass a test and maintain a license that should be regularly renewed. And, every firearm should require a registration number assigned to a specific person. That same sort of tracking should be implemented for ammunition purchases. Otherwise, it seems unconscionable that a man - mass shooters like Holmes for example - can amass an arsenal of thousands of rounds of semi-automic bullets, and no one knows.

And, I hate to say it, but I am wondering if the ISIS-inspired shooting in Tennessee may finally convince some gun freedom advocates that the potential for terrorism is a justifiable reason to regulate sales and possession. Seriously, at what point do terrorist organizations and individuals seeking to inflict mass carnage realize that America's weakness rests with the reality that individuals can amass un-regulated arsenals with tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of rounds of death. What happens when a terrorist organization hatches the plan to unleash massive gunfire on open crowds ... and we realize they bought these weapons and bullets with no one's knowledge.

What happens then? Will that be enough?

Let's just agree that "well regulated" is the key to both freedom and safety.


Mike Thiac said...

Mike, you’re a bit off:

There is a major difference between the driving and arms. Driving (on the public roads) is a privilege extended to you by the state. To do it you must have a license and the vehicle must be registered, inspected and (in 48 of 50 states) have proof of financial responsibility (generally accomplished by liability insurance).

A point, but something to bring up. Do you need a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle? Does it have to be registered, insured and inspected to operate it? No, as long as it is not on the public roads. A rancher I know has 1980 VB Rabbit he uses to ride around his spread and it’s not got any of that and that is perfectly legal as he’s not using it on the public streets.

The right to keep and bear arms is an extension of your right to self defense. The state cannot issue you a right, it is “endowed by your Creator”. Granted many politicians have a dissuasion of godhood, but that don’t count.

But one thing keeps coming back and it’s as illogical as hell. The demand for a national database of gun owners, etc. Assume you create that, how will you know what weapons the “bad guys” have? They will not comply with a law to register their weapons so the only people on the list will be law abiding. How will that help me find the punk who just did a “drive by” on Scott Street?

BTY, a bullet is not “semi-automatic”, automatic, revolver or single shot, it just is a bullet. I have around 500 .223 rounds for my AR-15, which is semi-automatic. I have a friend on the SWAT team who has an issued fully automatic AR-15 and they fire the same round. Oh, how are you going to track ammunition purchases? I buy 1000 rounds of ammo and an “official of the state” wants to know where they are, I can simply say “I shot them off…” but they are still in my gun cabinet? Or are you going to suggest the state inspector should be able to search my house without my permission or without a “warrant based on probably cause”? Or will you put into your registration scheme you must sign off on allowing a state official to inspect your weapons at all time? You seem to have some generalities here and we need specifics.

A classic example I hear is “We need to toughen our laws so mentally ill people can’t get guns…” Sounds good, but I have a few questions. One, define mental illness? Seriously, what is the standard of mentally ill that you cannot own a firearm. Clinical depression? That’s a laugh, I can’t tell you how many “clinical depressed” people in the hood (Who are drawing Social Security Disability) get into shootouts as part of their life. Bi-Polar diagnosis? What? Also, isn’t this not an issue of requiring someone to expose their medical condition to a third party, in this instance a state official. Oh, wait, we’re heading that way with Obamacare anyway, so what’s the issue. But in more seriousness if you pass this law and say “The ATF Director shall establish standards of mental illness…” we will have a country of insane people pretty quickly. Forgive me, the bureaucracy is not to be trusted.

Mike, the problem is not the guns, it’s the people. If I want to kill you and a group of people, I’m only limited by my imagination. The greatest school mass killing was not an active shooter but a bombing in 1939. Oklahoma City 1995 was committed with a truck and fertilizer. The 9/11 attack was committed with box cutters. If anything would have changed the shooting in Louisiana it would be to remove the “Gun Free Zone” status. All that does it tell potential shots “unarmed targets here”. If a CHL holder was there they, conceivably, would have been able to shoot the shooter before he got more people injured/killed. Again, there is only one thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, a good guy with a gun.

mmazenko said...

MikeAT, I appreciate the detailed argument of all the points that the NRA has meticulously crafted over the years. But "people" with ""guns" in America are killing other people at rates found nowhere else in the world outside of war zones. And there is no logical reason to oppose stricter regulation of gun culture. A "well-regulated" system of ownership is perfectly within the Constitution's guidelines, and the precedent for regulation limiting casualties exists everywhere else. Gun owners and advocates should support strict regulation as a way of proving the value of responsible gun possession. Because right now there is far too much irresponsible possession.

Mike Thiac said...

Mike, the points have the problem for anti-gunners of all being true. Also, if the guns were the problem, why is it most of the gun violence is where guns are out lawed. New York, Washington DC, Chicago are war zones and they are city wide "Gun Free Zones". And we see again it tells the criminals "unarmed victims here".

But believe it or not one of the greatest thinkers of the conservative movement agreed with you. William F Buckley, in the early 90s as I recall, called for gun registration and greater gun controls. But unlike 99.9% of the anti-gunners out there, he was intellectually honest. He said what was needed was to repeal the 2nd Amendment.