In the wake of the shootings today in Alexandria and San Francisco today, it seems like an apt time to discuss the matter of gun control in this country. I was hoping to get this out during the lull between newsworthy events, but alas, life has other plans. This is not a reaction to the events of today, but rather long held beliefs that apply to today’s events. No one likes a Reactionary Randy.
I am a firm believer in strong gun control methods in our society. Specifically, proper grip, stance, and trigger control for the purposes of placing rounds where they need to go; whether putting them on paper for practice, or sending warheads through foreheads for justice.
All kidding aside, it seems we as a nation have a “conversation” about gun control at least every year, usually around the tragedy of a mass shooting, where everyone can spin the current events to support their argument, whether for or against gun control.
We hear the usual arguments for “common sense” gun control measures, which usually involve pushing background checks that already exist, banning certain firearms or assigning certain arbitrary magazine capacity limits (ask New York how that went with their SAFE act), or banning certain features, like barrel shrouds, ghost guns, fully semi-automatic clips, and the shoulder thing that goes up. For the children, of course. If I were a less principled man, I might offer my services to The Brady Campaign or Everytown just so they get the terminology correct and could be ridiculed purely for their ideas instead of how little they understand about the firearms they want to ban.
Above all else is the common thread used to push all this; we need to do something now before this happens again. Never mind that it will always happen again. It will happen again, and again, and again. Violence is an act, not an object. You won’t get rid of it just because you get rid of one of the tools.
And we have great counter arguments to just about everything the gun control crowd throws our way. We all know that the most violent cities in this country have the strictest gun control measures. We are all aware that in the last several terror attacks in Europe, where personal firearms are virtually nonexistent, they’ve used knives, trucks, and explosives to devastating effect. It’s common knowledge that there are almost more guns in this country than there are people, yet by the most loose metrics kept on gun violence, less than a tenth of a percent are shot in any given year, and most of those occur in places like Chicago, Detroit, and LA. I’ve probably just wasted precious moments of your life reiterating all that.
But there is one argument that gun control advocates bring up that I’ve never heard responded to well by the gun rights community. “How many more have to die before we do something?” I’ve heard the NRA and other spokespeople deflect this to something else, but I cannot remember someone responding to it directly. So in the spirit of increasing our toolbox of arguments against gun control, I offer this:
How many more have to die before we do something?
Savvy readers will recognize that number as the total U.S. population according to the 2010 Census results. 308 million, give or take a few since we are a few short years away from the next census. Every man, woman, and child in this country. Your parents, your siblings, your spouse, your children. Every last American alive.
While I wait for you to clean off the liquid you’ve spit all over the place, we’ll discuss a little history. We know that the 2nd amendment wasn’t written because the British wanted to take away the colonists hunting rifles. It wasn’t even written because the founders of this nation were worried they wouldn’t be able to fend off bandits, burglars, or the occasional mental patient. It was included to provide the means for ordinary citizens to fend off or destroy a tyrannical government. And it wasn’t included as a right granted to American’s, either. It was just being acknowledged, along with every other amendment in the Bill of Rights, as a right we were all born with. Preaching to the choir again, I know.
So now that you’ve recovered, let’s discuss. America was founded on the idea that we have always had several rights from birth. We were all born with freedom of speech, from unreasonable search and seizure, from being incarcerated without a trial or representation. This idea is the basis for our entire civilization. It’s what has made us the greatest nation on the planet. The men who enumerated these rights, and our entire way of life, were willing to die for that idea, and many of them did.
It may not be the best answer, but it’s better than avoiding the question. How many have to die before we throw our rights in the trash? Those of us that believe in the Constitution often say that we are willing to die to protect it. We believe that the idea of America is so powerful and so unique, that it is more important than our very lives. So with that in mind, why would we accept anything less than the total and complete destruction of every citizen in our country before we consider giving up those rights?