- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
Full of Holes?
There are moments when a debate shifts, the shootings in Newtown, CT may be the tipping point for the national debate on guns. The debate, which seemed to have stalled after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, may have been reactivated by, of all people, a sportscaster. Bob Costas's comments after the murder-suicide of a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. A week after that, a gunman in a Portland, Oregon,mall opened fire on holiday shoppers. A few days after that--Newtown.
As the National Rifle Association, and other groups find their absolutist policies being seen as enabling the massacre in Connecticut. They have made attempts to defend their ideas and even argue that the solution is more guns. This may be a business decision, as The Nation magazine reported, the NRA is little more than a trade group for firearm manufacturers.
Their first defense is actually the most logical and reasonable. The Supreme Court has ruled the 2nd Amendment is a individual right, of course the Court also has decided that corporations have the same rights to as individuals, but not any of the other legal liabilities. The Court has also reversed itself, on segregation, slavery and other issues. There's also the fact that the idea of what a government can do in the name of a "well-regulated" militia. There's also the fact that the concept of the militia that the Founding Fathers had in mind is far removed from the paranoid, para-military groups that groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center monitor today.
The next argument also seems logical on it's surface, that most people who own guns use them for legal purposes; to hunt, to shoot at targets, or even to protect themselves. Why should citizens be forced to obey laws that they never disobey? That argument sounds like mob rule, and it ignores the potential damage that one lawbreaker can do. One person, with a single rifle murdered, 20 children and 6 adults.
The final argument is the most far-fetched, and one that too many in the gun lobby and it's community accept. The idea that citizens need to protect themselves from the government. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence sees these people as insurrectionists. This idea also has some traction on the left. But why would a government want to allow people to revolt against itself? Didn't the Civil War show that the government is willing to crush rebellions? But the idea may seem to have merit as the dominance of White, Heterosexual, Fundamentalist Protestant, America is slowly fading.
As is hopefully the gun lobby's dominance. As it seems that Americans are seeing through these arguments and even taking a stand for some action. We can only hope that the inertia of the NRA, etc can be overcome and America's gun laws may resemble a 1st world nation.