Friday, October 1, 2010

Gats and Rats

A recent study claims to have found that 50% of all illegally used handguns come from 10 states with the most “lax” gun laws. Wielding this study like an Uzi, large numbers of politicians are clamoring for “tougher” gun laws. So the “pro-gun” and “anti-gun” fanatics are locking horns again, and neither group seems to care who gets caught in the crossfire.

I’m not “pro-gun” or “anti-gun.” To me that’s like being “pro-hammer” or “anti-hammer.” A gun is just a tool. A tool isn’t in itself, “good” or “bad.” It’s how it’s used that matters. (For those of you who will say that guns are made for killing, I’d suggest you look into how many people have been killed with hammers and other blunt instruments. Might surprise you.)

But while I’m not a particular fan of guns per se, I’m a real big fan of the Bill of Rights.

(Remember the Bill of Rights?)

There are a couple of different issues here.

First, the purpose of the second amendment is to protect the people from the government. It isn't about hunting, sport or even self-defense from criminals. So an argument could be made that it was not intended to apply to the everyday carrying of handguns. Not saying I would agree, but it's a reasonable argument.

It could also be argued that all "assault rifles" (functionally, not just cosmetically) would be protected under the second amendment, too, as would any other weapon that could be "born" by the individual soldier/cop (who can tell the difference anymore??).

But there's a difference between owning guns and keeping them in your home, and carrying a piece in public. Let me use an analogy. Motor vehicles are involved in far more fatalities and injuries than firearms. Yet, you can buy a car without waiting for a "background check." They don't expect auto dealers to see if you've ever been convicted of DUI or even used a car in a bank robbery.

You don't generally need a drivers' license to own and use a motor vehicle on your own private property -- for example on your own farm. Lots of farm kids are driving trucks long before they're old enough to get a DL.

What we license is your privilege to drive that motor vehicle on tax-payer-provided public roads, because we want to keep the highways as safe as we can.

I have no problem with licensing people to carry concealed firearms in public, provided the requirement is that they take a (free) course on firearms safety first, and provided there is a presumption of entitlement. That is, it's up to the state to PROVE you shouldn't be allowed carry a gun; it's not up to you to prove you should. And that should be decided by a jury.

There is no good reason why any citizen should be deprived of the capability of protecting himself/herself from a criminal assault.

And there's plenty of reason why We the People should never find ourselves out-gunned by government goons.

Folks who think that's "paranoid" don't know much about history -- ours, or anybody else's.

Me, I don't "like" guns any more than I "like" life-jackets. But when the circumstances demand, it's a good idea to have one around, and not just be wishing that you did.

Liberty and justice,


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