Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Right To Bear Arms

There is always a lot of talk about the "Right to Bear Arms" as a guarantee in the Constitution and that any discussion of regulation or restriction of that right as being unconstitutional. 

Now don't get me wrong, the document does contain that guarantee. Of course this might have something to do with having been written at a time when most of the country was full of wild animals and hostile humans (actually not much different than now). I for one, have no objection to someone who wants to own a gun for the purposes of hunting or to defend their home and family. Unfortunately though, we don't get to have discussions on this or anything else where gun laws are concerned without being accused of being unAmerican. Instead, we have extremists and wackos defining the argument, and it is to this that I most object. (OK, maybe its the extremist and the wackos themselves that I object to and not their arguments, but that's a conversation for another day.)  

Hunting is an interesting hobby, and though I am personally unprepared to get that close to, let alone kill myself, anything that I intend to eventually eat. I have no objections moral or otherwise to the practice, just no interest in participating. I occasionally ask myself why someone who hunts would then decide to have the creature dispatched in such a manner stuffed and mounted so that their former meal could look at them, but not too often as the resulting confusion makes me dizzy. I do ask myself, and those around me however, what need the hunting public might have for a fully automatic weapon (or one that can be converted into one). If someone can explain to me the need to empty a magazine or two of ammo from a deer or duck blind, I will be skeptical, but willing to listen. I have to think that when the phrase "rate of fire" becomes part of the discussion in such a pursuit however, that the word "sport" should be removed. If this begins to sound reasonable and there is some agreement on this, can we begin to think about taking these kinds of weapons off of the table and off the market, and relegate their use to the military? As for the defense of one's home let's face it, the world is an increasingly scary and dangerous place. 

One could easily make the case for the concept that anyone who feels that they need a weapon to defend home and castle should have the right to. Now personally I am not ready to go down this path either, but I won't stand in anyone else's way. Again there is no moral or ethical objection to the practice, it's only that I am not the brightest bulb on the tree, and in a panic situation am as likely to injure myself as any person breaking in. I should also note that I have angered a woman in my life from time to time and would not like to tempt them with the opportunity to end me as the problem that I have become for them. 

Again, I would like to think that some common sense would put limits on what kind of guns might be permitted for such use (and that rate of fire would figure into this discussion as well), but I don't expect that to ever happen. Not being an expert, I would think that when in doubt, a shotgun could always be a considered a valid solution.  

As for concealed carry permits, you people just scare me. I can't even stand in a line for any length of time without getting mad enough to want to pummel someone. Rush hour traffic, cell phones in restaurants and theaters, and the manners of children in public places all make me a little crazy and I am usually grateful afterward that I didn't have a gun in my possession. I have a little trouble understanding the threat that someone might feel that they are under (with rare exceptions of course), that carrying a weapon would appear to be the only answer to their continued survival. 

I won't attempt to object to such permits however (or the people who absolutely feel the need to have them), as you might be carrying now. I can however recommend a couple of very good doctors who treat paranoia. I will also ask that you wear special clothing, or at least a sign, that tells me when you are packing so that I can keep my distance and stay out of the line of fire.  

There is a whole other issue of the ammunition for these weapons, but I have to admit that I don't know enough about such things to be able to speak with any authority (I'm a wimp, I know). I will say however that I don't know why any non-military personnel would need or be able to purchase ammunition that could (or has been) labeled "cop killer" and leave it at that.

Now I am sure by now that many gun advocates are already feeling like their heads will explode and that they would like to get me up close and personal with their particular weapon of choice for suggesting that limits on their constitutionally given rights are possible (which only makes my point by the way), but don't responsibilities come with rights? We have the right to free speech, but not the right to shout "fire" in a crowded theater. We have the right to assemble, but still need to obtain a parade permit for some types of gatherings. We have a right to worship as we choose, but not to make that worship into law (see Islamic Terrorist).  

We don't have a right to guns that fire faster than a politician talks, bullets that pierce body armor, or clips that are larger than the guns they go in to. We do have the right to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" however, and current gun legislation doesn't seem to contribute to any of those things. As to rights, in the end and at the very least, don't we have the right to talk about it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

to many guns already out there.....put the control on bullets..... $5000.00 apiece. ala chris rock