The middle on guns
Much like any other argument today we are seeing the two sides (right & left) fight it out with little to nothing being done. As in anything I write this is IMPO.Part of this is based on the public face of the topic and not individuals. What each other group says about each other and what they say about themselves.
On the right you have a group that sees a personnel freedom they hold dear being assaulted by people who want to tell them how to live. This is despite the fact many of these are the same who want to ban gay marriage, enforce blue laws, and essentially tell you how to live.
1. To many a gun is a tool for something else such as home protection or hunting. To these people the concept of gun violence is idiotic. “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
2. Then you have the gun lobbyists who are paid by the manufacturers who see their business being made illegal. This leads to the false assumption that all members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) are against any regulation.
3. The third are the people who are afraid that one law will eventually lead to a total ban on personnel freedom. This has precedent. When Ohio voted on a state wide smoking ban in public the population was told that private clubs (VFW) could still allow smoking. Shortly after the vote passed the group that pushed for the bill went to court and had any exemption ruled as unconstitutional (state constitution).
On the left you have people who see what is around them and think that society is being torn apart my violence and indifference and think that we can do better. The irony in this is that many of these are the same people who will fight against any personnel abridgment against their rights. Now many of this group also own a gun and think that this is a fight to limit the type of gun we can own. “Do you really need an assault rifle to hunt unarmed ducks?”
1. To many people guns are as big a problem as cancer. They would say that like anything else if you have a gun you will try and find a use for it. This group will point out how many people could have been saved if their shooter did not have access to a gun. It asserts the notion that by possessing the gun brought about the action and not another possibility. These are the people you can’t argue with because if you want a gun then you are not intelligent enough to make a decision.
2. Like with the right you have the people who think that we can have limited reasonable gun control. I know many hunters who don’t see a need for an AK-47 to hunt deer and ducks. One man (an NRA member and a hunter) said “the AK is a poor gun to take hunting because of the weight and control.”
3. Then there are the people who see our culture (movies, books, video games, etc) as being too violent. This “Gun Culture” has helped spawn a wave of apathetic violence a sort of disconnect between the act and the result. This also tends to bring about the argument that only people who where involved in an act of violence involving a gun should have an opinion on gun control. Or the “how could you defend gun ownership after the school shooting” argument as if one was connected to the other.
We can argue over words and meanings but most of that side of the argument is window dressing. Propaganda meant position one side as being right. A rifle becomes an assault weapon or a weapons ban becomes a ban on guns. One provides an image of a violent action while the other sets the concept of outright prohibition.
Our history has shown us that prohibition does not work and more over creates new problems. Banning alcohol helped fuel organized crime. Banning drugs just put the people who are addicted into jail instead a program designed to help. This also fueled violence both in homes and on the streets. A whole culture had developed around the mythology of the drug dealer and the power of using a gun.
Now this is not to say that we can’t have laws to protect the public. We ban texting while driving as well as driving while drunk, but texting or drinking are not illegal. The concept that “when guns are illegal then only criminals will have guns” is small thinking. Without a constitutional amendment voiding out the second amendment or a Supreme Court that is willing to reinterpret the second amendment to say it means the state has a right to a militia any outright ban on fire arms will be ruled unconstitutional. This is not to say that the argument has not been made that the wording on the second amendment really means that we should allow only those who belong to a militia (National Guard) to own a gun. Any fan of The West Wing has watched this argument. History has also shown us that opinions change with the time. Today capital punishment is constitutional but in the past it wasn’t. How our descendants interpret the constitution is up to them. The way we see it today is different from our ancestors. The constitution is a living document changing as we change.
One definition of society is the boundaries in which any group of people decides to live by. This means that without boundaries we would have no society. In this context most aspects of society will require some sort of limit. We all have laws that we agree with and we don’t. History also shows us we can have limits without elimination.
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The problem with the debate over gun control is the same as with any other debate today. No middle ground.