Saturday, February 17, 2018

Response to Staying In Your Lane

So you say we should outlaw “assault weapons”? Reduce the size of ammo “magazines"? Maybe instead of more gun regulation, we should all be jibber-jabbering about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally unbalanced!  How about raising the age for buying firearms? Think that’ll work?

Seriously? The answer is no, of course not. It hasn’t worked so far, so what makes us think those measures will work in the future?

So many of us who don’t like guns have compromised over the years, saying, okay, people should be allowed to hunt with guns, so sure, maybe we can just fine-tune the rules of gun ownership, or maybe improve the government record-keeping, so we can keep guns away from dangerous "gunmen".

But you know what? Too many people who own guns don’t believe in compromise, don’t like the idea of the government keeping records of who owns what sort of weapon that can kill our children someday, and because of that, we have several mass shootings every year and, unlike most countries in the world, thousands and thousands of gun deaths, including suicides that could be prevented.

They don’t do any of that crap in Japan! If you want to own a gun in Japan, you can only get a shotgun or air rifle — no pistols, certainly no semi-automatic "assault rifles" like an AR-15 — and you have to take a written and shooting test and score no lower than 95%.

And if they award you a shooting license, it’s only for three years. And when you die, your survivors have to turn the firearms back in.

That’s why there were only six gun deaths in Japan in 2014; that same year, there were 33,599 gun deaths in the U.S.

Yeah, I know. A country in which hardly anybody gets shot to death? That’s un-American! So maybe what we need to do is become an “un-American” country, where people don’t die in all these school-shootings, because there won’t be any!

The only way to keep guns out of the hands of someone who shouldn’t own one is to keep them out of everybody’s hands, like they do in some other countries. So maybe we should try that, since whatever we’re doing obviously isn’t working.

Have you ever noticed that, after every mass shooting, we all discuss solutions that don't pertain to the most recent massacre? After Parkland, there’s talk about not selling guns to someone with mental problems or a criminal background, neither of which would have helped in Florida, since he had no record of either.

But the only real way to keep someone with a criminal record or a mental disorder from buying guns is to prevent everyone, even someone with a clean record, from buying guns.

I think what we really need now is to think the unthinkable:

Repeal the 2nd Amendment!

We really don’t need it anymore anyway, since it was only cooked up by the founders as a way of making up for the fact that we were creating a country that was planning on having no military.

It’s true! You rarely hear it, but one thing American colonists really didn’t like about Britain  a mistake they swore they wouldn’t repeat when they created their own country  was Britain maintained a “standing army”. The thinking was, if you had an army, you'd want to use it, and then you'd find yourself in all sorts of useless mischief.

So we were actually planning to go without! We figured the “Minute Man” concept worked just fine during the Revolution, so we were going to give the “well-regulated militias" idea a shot.

We tried that in the War of 1812. It didn’t work so well, so we changed our minds. Now we have a full-time military and no longer require everyone to bring muskets to the battlefield.

But you say you need a gun to defend yourself from a government invasion of your town? Hey, if you can’t trust America, maybe you should move to a country you trust more.

You say you need a gun for small game hunting? Sorry, you’ll just need to go buy your food at the Piggly-Wiggly like the rest of us.

If we let you own a gun, that means we have to also allow Nikolas Whatsisname to buy one, so he can go kill and wound people in South Florida.

Allowing you your hunting hobby is not worth even one of those lives, much less all 17 of them, nor one of the lives of someone shot in a home invasion, or workplace in which some disgruntled employee comes back to shoot everyone after being fired, or the ex-wife shot by her ex-husband, or even the person who is temporarily depressed and decides to buy a gun to end it all before he can come to his senses.

By the way, it's not just the murders, suicides, and accidents that come from little kids finding where you hide your guns, but guns are also used in so-called "lesser" offenses, such as robberies and rapes. Without the help of a gun, many of these crimes would go away.

You want the constitutional right to own a gun so you can defend yourself and your family? From what? From some “bad guy” who, by the way, has the same constitutional right to own a gun that you do?

If neither of you had a constitutional right to own a gun, then we can take it away from the “bad guy”, and then you won’t need yours! We'll be just like all those other countries that don’t have their citizens shooting each other to death on a daily basis.

Every attempt to get weapons under control, despite the overwhelming support from most  of America, is countered by the NRA, a trade group that protects manufacturers’ rights to sell what, in the old west, were referred to as "widow makers".

So maybe somebody should start a list, like Grover Norquist’s anti-raise-taxes pledge, that says, “I will not vote for any candidate who refuses to sign a pledge not to take any campaign contributions from the NRA.” If you don't promise to not take money from the NRA, voters will either vote for your opponent or vote for nobody at all.

And after that whittles down the number of elected officials beholden to the gun lobby, maybe what we need to do is pass a law that says, “If the government can’t reduce annual gun deaths in this country to near-zero by such-and-such a date, then we automatically begin the process of repealing the Second Amendment.”

At first, for a limited time, we buy guns back. After that expires, we won’t punish you if you voluntarily surrender your weapons (but nor will we pay you.) And if we later catch you with guns you never turned over voluntarily, we punish you.

All confiscated guns should be totally destroyed, so they don’t end up in someone else’s hands.

I give up. No more playing around. We need to start thinking the unthinkable, and doing what we should have done a long time ago:

Repeal the 2nd Amendment.

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(No trolls, please! As a rule of thumb, don't get any nastier in your comments than I do in my posts. Thanks.)