Don't get me wrong here, this is not to say that I am going out tomorrow to buy some land in Montana, purchase a bunch of automatic weapons, and start to gather a cult following whose uniform involves a lot of camouflage. (Nothing against Montana, but it's just too damn cold and empty out there. Besides, camouflage doesn't go well with my eyes.) Nor is it to say that I am still not concerned with a lot of the guns that are out there. I just don't think that the government has any business interfering with a Constitutionally guaranteed right.
This recent epiphany is not even so much about guns as it is my growing detestation for the insidious, incremental encroachment of the government on the federal, state and local levels on the freedoms that I was guaranteed when the states signed the Constitution. I, like far too many people in this country recently, had been fooled into believing that I could gain some measure of safety from the horrors of life around me if I was only willing to give up a small portion of the personal freedom that the Constitution granted me. Well Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said:
"Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
On the other side of the question, this does not mean that some level of monitoring or licensing is not required. You have to reach a certain age, take certain training, and pass a test in order to get a license to drive. (The truth of the matter is that we require far more from a person to allow them to drive than we do to allow them to vote. Try and figure out that one.) Similar monitoring could be applied where guns are concerned. I would not care to see weapons in the hands of convicted criminals or mentally unstable individuals. Likewise I would prefer not to see machine guns, grenade launchers, or hand-held surface to air missiles in the hands of anyone outside of the military. Some responsibility, balance, and order needs to be discovered and maintained; but that can and should be done with the least government involvement possible.
Few realize that as recently as September of 2005, we saw local law enforcement officers and military personnel confiscating legally purchased and owned firearms from people trying to defend their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The government imposed its will in strict violation of the 2nd Amendment with no warning, little fanfare, and no outrage from either the national media or the rest of us. If such a gross encroachment on our freedoms can happen once, it can happen again.
As for me, I still have no intention of ever owning a gun. I don't think that there is anything wrong with them, but I have no desire to be a gun owner. That decision is a free choice that I make, and should time and situation change, it is a decision that I would like to be able to reconsider at any future date. That being said, I am still considering a membership in the NRA for no other reason than to help insure that the 2nd Amendment is protected. I find these days that while I am still afraid of the violence that might be done to me with a gun, I am even more terrified of the "nanny state's" desire to protect me from anything that they feel might be a danger to me, and their confiscation of my liberties in the process.