A Rare Medium Well Done: 12.18.12
“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“
Seems cut and clear. Not many superfluous words. Broken down it means: there will be a structured military and the citizens may own and brandish guns. This has been an entry in our constitution that generates and navigates the hot current of emotion. The quiescence of marginality is loud and strong. It’s dire showdown of prevarication to provoke reprisals and inflame hostilities. These notions are easy to invade, yet impossible to conquer. Fitful bursts of unkempt abandon gives way to bellicose dissimulation.
Don’t take my guns away. It’s a right I have as an American. I am guaranteed this liberty in the US Constitution. ‘Shall not be infringed’. Not much interpretation needed. ‘Shall not’. But could the authors of this document have foreseen the evolution of weapons as we contemplate them some 121 years later? Probably not. But that’s not the case, certainly not the point. Soaring rhetoric swims to the shore from all directions. The black art of deception becomes an ally of deep resentment and militaristic anti-venom.
It’s called the military industrial complex. This phrase was penned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He foresaw an evolution of military decision makers forging a political relationship with the legislators and the defense contractors. He was right. And along the way, new and more sophisticated guns were made easy to obtain by civilians. Soon citizens could legally possess the same weapons as our troops were engaging enemies in war. It soon bloomed out of control. Now the bad guys incorporated better guns than law enforcement agencies. As is with most items of intrigue, follow the money. Where there is money, there is usually a dark underbelly. There is an enormous amount of ‘scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ practices on Capitol hill. The NRA( National Rifle Association) is the most powerful lobby organization in the country. They act as a watchdog that morphs into an attack dog as soon as they detect ANY legislation, ANY attempt to curtail guns, and this is achieved through threats, verbal altercations, and especially political blackmail.
They are not only the moral enforcer, they act in the most visceral and smug manner. But they are organized. They are driven. They are passionate. They are frightening.
But remember…’shall not be infringed’.
I am one that has taken advance of this basic right. I own many guns. I never got the little boy out of myself. I still like to play with guns. But I am a total law abiding citizen. I have a deep respect for gun laws. I practice gun safety to an almost ridiculous stage. To me nothing is more relaxing and joyful than a day at the range shooting cool guns. But that’s me. And there are over 50 million gun owners in this country that think and do the same thing. Not a gauzy Arthurian legend of self-importance and ego, just exercising our right to ‘bear and keep arms’. We have implemented and continue to respect guns and follow all guidelines involved with gun regulation. But remember, that’s us. Any new gun legislation is not aimed at the majority fraternity. It’s the bad guys that employ guns in the most sinister methods. So the tired and worn out phrase, “guns don’t kill, people kill”, is as true now as it was in 1781.
I am not a member of the NRA. As a gun collector I am inundated with literature encouraging me to join. I have steadfastly resisted because I do not agree with their unbending, ambitious and aggressive methods. I realize that guns need to be more regulated. As a weapons owner, I welcome any law to stamp out what has become a all too-frequent scenario of mass shootings and total misuse of guns. But there lies the problem. The gun laws will reel me in. And the majority of my 50 million brothers who also own guns. But then the criminals will have the firepower. 80% of violent crimes involving guns are done so with illegal and illegally obtained weapons. Most are stolen. Criminals always find a way to get guns. By outlawing guns, this would create an even bigger problem. The gun would then go underground. This would manifest itself to a calamity of pugnacious consensus with compulsory power. The bad guys would win in the end.
But to limit or curtail the legal purchase of a gun also has far reaching tentacles. It’s called “money”. And guns are big business. The majority of guns worldwide are made right here in the good ol’ USA. Colt, Smith and Wesson, Winchester, Remington, Browning, Charter Arms. An unlike most other businesses almost none is outsourced for foreign countries. And that means jobs. Fun banishment means less profits for the gun makers. Remember, follow the money. The USA is the biggest exporter of munitions in the world. A $35 billion a year business. And they have clout. They control the purse strings of many a politician. And that politician doesn’t want to go back to his constituents and inform them he voted to eliminate jobs. Where there’s money, there’s always a gatekeeper to the vault. In this case, it’s in the form of the NRA.
There is no answer for a situation that has bloomed into an atmosphere of sorrow and penance. The Brady gun bill was signed into law two decades ago. It was within this groundbreaking piece of legislation that the NRA loosened their stranglehold on gun ownership. But it’s proven to be a mild hurdle, not the road block the lawmakers had envisioned. Besides, as earlier stated, it affected only the law abiding citizen, not the criminals.
So what is the answer? What can be done? What should be done? I have not the foggiest of ideas. I know that innocent people are dying at the hands of guns. I would support a 48 hour cooling down period in buying a gun. In other words, you go to a store, purchase a gun, pay for the gun, go home and in 48 hours you an go pick up your weapon. I would also get behind a more stringent program to legislate ammunition. A more thorough background check would be welcomed. Tighter security where guns are stored or sold. Guns are the number one item stolen in home robberies. Those are but a few suggestions that could curtail illegal activity concerning guns.
But I don’t envision this happening. There is simply too much money involved, too many political careers at stake, and too many jobs to be lost. If it were so easy as gun opponents continue to cry for gun bans. That’s simply not happening. It’s a pie-in-the-sky fantasy dream.
“The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”
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