Down the Rabbit Hole
Let’s be completely honest about it, the gun debate in America plays out like the Alice sequel that Lewis Caroll never had a chance to pen.
Or maybe even he had limits to farcical and insane storylines.
I am going for the later.
So the gun debate goes like this, the gun advocate equates any attempt at gun legislation to be taking away his Constitutional rights; while the gun legislation advocate suggests that a gun that can fire multiple rounds a minute should not be in the hands of a civilian, you do not need an AR-15 to hunt.
To the that the gun rights advocate shouts back (I almost said shoots back, but let’s not give a tense situation any ideas!), that those guns are meant to protect the citizenry from an overreaching central government.
To which the gun legislation group asks, “Really, now how many rounds of an AR-15 does it take to scratch the paint on an Abrams Maint Battle Tank?”
To which the Gun Rights advocate usually rips off his shirt jumps on the table screaming, “MY GOD GIVEN RIGHT!!! YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY THIS FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!”
The gun legislation guy then looks away in disgust muttering, “Dude, you need to work out. And maybe some time in the sun…”
That is not exactly how it goes, but you get the picture. Maybe as well, a mental image you didn’t want to get.
Now the background. The Second Amendment was written by James Madison after the adoption of the Constitution. The thinking behind that was a theory that the national government would not field a large peacetime army, instead, the nation would call on state militias to help fight off a foreign foe.
At the time the theory makes good sense. Even today, our nation has a large national guard to call on and a smaller regular army. Unfortunately, there is also a more ominous side to it. Southern states wanted the right to arm militias in case of slave uprisings.
The interesting thing is that the Supreme Court would not hear the first case involving the 2nd Amendment until 1876 in U.S. v. Cruikshank. The case involved members of the Ku Klux Klan not allowing black citizens the right to standard freedoms, such as the right to assembly and the right to bear arms. As part of the ruling, the court said the right of each individual to bear arms was not granted under the Constitution. Ten years later, the court affirmed the ruling in Presser v. Illinois when it said that the Second Amendment only limited the federal government from prohibiting gun ownership, not the states.
The Supreme Court took up the issue again in 1894 in Miller v. Texas. In this case, Dallas’ Franklin Miller sued the state of Texas, arguing that despite state laws saying otherwise, he should have been able to carry a concealed weapon under Second Amendment protection. The court disagreed, saying the Second Amendment does not apply to state laws, like Texas’ restrictions on carrying dangerous weapons.
That is how the laws were interpreted for most of the 20th Century.
In the District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 all of it changed. Dick Heller, a licensed special police officer in Washington, D.C., challenged the nation’s capital’s handgun ban. The Supreme Court ruled that despite state laws, individuals who were not part of a state militia did have the right to bear arms. The court wrote, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
Two years later the Court as part of McDonald v. City of Chicago, which challenged the city’s ban on private handgun ownership. In a similar 5-to-4 ruling, the court affirmed its decision in the Heller case, saying the Second Amendment “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”
Now, let us for a second discount all of that.
Instead, let’s delve into the heart of the NRA and Ammosexual argument. From American Taliban leader Wayne LaPierre argues that the 2nd Amendment exists to protect the citizens from liberal tyranny. When he isn’t out scaring the hell out of the nation to up gun sales, he is pushing his anti-government theories.
The NRA argues that a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun. Yet for instance, after instance we see shooters unleashing mayhem were there are armed bystanders that are either taken down as well or who never shoot back.
But let’s focus on the core argument.
Fear. They state a fear of a police state.
Which all in all, makes their proposal for gun violence ironically preposterous.
They want to put armed marshals in schools. And in theaters, and in malls, and in churches, well basically everywhere.
So their solution is to put armed government agents everywhere to stop active shooters.
It boils down that to protect the citizens from a shooter so gun owners can be ready to defend us from a police state is to become a police state.
Excuse my while I chase this white rabbit.