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Guns: Rights & Rhetoric

The discussion of guns and gun control is simmering down now, though it remains on the backburner of public discussion. Everyone is essentially agreed that nothing substantive will be passed other than “universal” background checks (they are universal only insofar as they apply to everyone-except those who choose not to submit to one, like criminals). In the meantime, there is the potential for serious immigration reform, and doubtless we will have something to say about that on this blog in the immediate future.

In the meantime however, there are a few loose ends I wanted to tie up as the gun control debate slowly but inevitably reverts to status quo antebellum.

The proponents of gun control greatly irritate me. I have a certain sympathy for people like the Newtown parents, but simply being a victim (even by proxy) does not qualify one as an expert. But whereas the victims have my sympathies and respect, if not my agreement, the other advocates of gun control earn nothing but my scorn, contempt, and mockery. Dianne Feinstein gets my goat, in particular, though the Brady Campaign also raises my ire, as do any hard-line, anti-gun ideologues.

To me, it is being anti-gun that is the line of demarcation between people with whom I merely disagree and people whom I despise. If you are anti-gun violence and you think the best means to achieve that is more laws, then I respect your opinion but respectfully disagree with you. If you are anti-gun, then you are not interested in decreasing gun violence so much as you are interested in taking away my rights; it just so happens that in taking away my rights gun violence might decrease.

These people do not care about the Constitution, or freedom, or even facts/logic. They just hate guns. To me they are just as mystifying as the people who hate gays, and their hatred is equally irrational. These are the people who fear guns, who think guns possess a will of their own, and can possess other people with evil spirits, or something, because it is clearly the gun that makes the criminal, and not a criminal who uses a gun.

These are the same people who always talk about need. What need do I have for an assault rifle? The need question really drives me up the wall, not only because it is usually the anti-gun zealots who ask it, but also because it completely misses the point.

We have the right to own a gun. Rights transcend need. Technically, they are correct: I have no reason to own a gun. What they miss is that I do not need a reason in the first place. I have the right to own a gun and it is my choice to exercise that right, just as it is my choice not to exercise it. We all have the right to go to whatever church (or Mosque, or Synagogue) we want. Many people choose not to go to church and do not exercise their right to freedom of religion. But how would they like it if they had to prove to the government they had a “good reason” to not go to church? How would they like it if they had to prove they had a reason to own a car, or watch a certain movie, or provide a reason to buy alcohol? They wouldn’t, and guns are no different.

I’ve said it before, but I like the comparison so much I’ll say it again: Rosa Parks had no need to sit at the front of the bus, but she didn’t need a reason, did she?

The burden of proof is not upon us the gun owners to prove why we need a certain kind of weapon; the burden of proof is upon those who would take our guns away to prove why we cannot own a certain kind of weapon. So far, they have uniformly failed miserably.

The final note I will make is this: anti-gun people have my scorn because they do not quite understand the idea of “rights”. They have my contempt because they seek to deny me my rights when I wish to deny no one theirs. They are the victims of my mockery because they do such a poor job of trying to deny me my rights.

Just about every single gun-control advocate I have seen knows little to nothing about guns. It would be hilarious if they weren’t talking about taking away my rights (and being taken seriously). It would be exactly the same as if they went on ESPN and said:

“Yeah, I think the San Francisco Giants have a real good chance at winning the Stanley Cup this year. I mean, between their fabulously talented offensive linemen who can hit par threes and a hole in one every inning and the spectacular pit crews who can change tires three times a lap in less than four seconds, I think the Giants are the best basketball team at Wimbledon.”

The average 12 year old playing Call of Duty knows more about guns than the people leading the charge against guns. Which is why that charge is destined to be a Charge of the Light Brigade: “C’est glorieux, mais ce n’est pas la guerre; c’est la folie.”  In this case though, the charge is not glorious, merely madness capitalizing on tragedy.

-SL

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