What's Behind the Gun Craze in the U.S.?
In December 2012, following the historic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—in which Adam Lanza forced his way into the school and, with a semiautomatic assault weapon, mowed down 27 people, including 20 first graders—the gun-control debate, to no one’s surprise, was immediately refueled and quickly took center stage in the nation. President Obama, in his teary-eyed, heartfelt speech to the bereaved families, promised to renew efforts to regulate gun ownership and high-capacity clips. In so doing, he was responding to the challenge given by Governor Andrew Cuomo and answering to the polls that support some measure of gun control. A Quinnipiac poll found that 92 percent of voters support background checks on all gun buyers, including 91 percent of gun-owning households, according to Huffington Post.
Few people believe, however, that anything in this regard will be done. “In recent years, there have been calls for action on gun violence after a series of horrific mass shootings, including the 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007, the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and 18 others in 2011, and the deaths of 12 people at a movie theater in Colorado in July 2012. But the bills that were introduced—including ones to restrict the sales of 100-bullet magazines or to tighten background checks—went nowhere,” stated an article in The New York Times.com.
Whether any legislation will be enacted into law this time is indeed an open question, but one thing is absolutely certain. The 4.3 million-member National Rifle Association will threaten elected officials who seek to regulate gun buying in America, using their deep pockets and political influence to suppress any effort. After a week of silence, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the NRA, came out with all guns blazing.
LaPierre lost no time making it clear that the NRA’s answer to the Sandy Hook massacre is not to regulate gun-buying but to put armed guards in all schools, mostly paid for by the government. His now famous line is “the only thing that stops bad guys with a gun is good guys with a gun.” Testifying before congress, he made it clear that the NRA is against background checks. Becoming more irrational, and even more hypocritical, he ran an ad targeting President Obama’s children, saying in essence that if his children are being protected by armed guards, it is “hypocritical of him to stand against the implementation of using armed guards at all schools across the country.” Chris Wallace, on Fox News, challenged him by asking if he regretted making the ad. He squirmed, saying “the ad was not picking on the president’s children.” His answer was ridiculous and Wallace told him so. But LaPierre did not back down.
As soon as the president began to talk about gun control, gun enthusiasts renewed their rush to purchase guns and ammunition. Ever since Obama was elected in 2008, the sale of guns has been booming. Writing about the gun sales prior to the 2012 election, Perry Chiaramonte, of FoxNews.com, wrote: “Sales of handguns and ammunition are booming across the country, and retailers say it’s all about the November election.” He went to write, “Gun show owners around the nation told FoxNews.com that sales, brisk ever since President Obama was elected [in 2008], has spiked upward in recent months.” Forbes.com contributor, Frank Miniter, added: “Back in 2009 gun manufacturers label President Obama as the ‘best gun salesman of all time.’ They weren’t even jesting. The FBI recorded a 49 percent rise in gun background checks during the 2008 election week compared to the same week a year earlier. Fear of gun-control legislation certainly helped sell guns…” Following the Newtown Massacre, the gun industry experienced a boom in sales to such an extent that manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand, according to the Washington Post. Fear that President Obama is trying to take away their guns, gun enthusiasts have gone bananas. Crazed gun enthusiasts, after the Newtown massacre, began hitting the stores and gun shows with their wallets wide open, buying up every available gun, including available ammunition.
Gun lovers and the NRA are not only driven by fear that Obama will take away their guns; they are driven by the absurd notion that the Second Amendment to the constitution is absolute. Proponents of gun control seem to believe the Amendment is not absolute. In June 1999, Bill Bradley, speaking against gun violence in America at a San Francisco dinner, said: “The NRA and its allies take the view that the Second Amendment is absolute—that any regulation of any gun, regardless of how deadly or destructive, infringes on their individual rights to bear arms,” according to guncite.com.
The Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Although the amendment is sloppily punctuated, the Supreme Court did opine that it gives individuals the right to bear arms—and nobody seems to deny that. The controversy is “the right of every American to own a gun versus society’s need to get guns off the streets to prevent violent crime,” according to Timothy Harper in his book, The U.S. Constitution. Those who hold the absolutist view believe the right to own guns without any regulations should rule the day. They believe they have the absolute right to own any type of gun they wish—and any attempt to regulate gun ownership is trampling on their constitutional rights.
One thing almost overlooked in the gun debate is the idea that the Second Amendment means that people have the right to bear arms to protect themselves from the government. In a two-county, Virginia weekly newspaper, The Sussex – Surry Dispatch, Linda Chambers in her letter to the editor, speaks what many gun crazed people believe. She wrote, “[the Second Amendment] is meant for citizens to bear arms in case of a government takeover.” She went on to say. “We are allowed to have guns or weapons equal to that of those (who) might try to overtake us by government control, as did the British.” When Wayne LaPierre was questioned on national television about assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, he used the practically same words as Chambers. Furthermore, anyone who listens beyond the rhetoric on Second Amendment rights can clearly hear that tone. That sheds light on the reason so many people are buying and stowing so many assault weapons and so much ammunition and high-capacity magazines—to go to war as a militia to protect their constitutional rights.
So, what drives the gun mania in the country? Is it the fear that the federal government will take guns away from the public? Is it the belief that the constitution gives an absolute right to own guns, without any regulations? Is it to provide bunkers of weapons and ammunition for the purpose of arming militias to protect states from federal takeover? Or is it hunting, individual protection, sports, or some other driving force?
The answer! After reading the above, YOU DECIDE.