Sunday, December 16, 2012

Children have rights too.

I posted this on a local forum yesterday:

The NRA lost a lot of members over their support of so-called "cop killer" bullets that were designed to penetrate bullet proof vests.  I left the organization over that. 

The writer pointed out that even the NRA membership favors gun laws that would keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and disturbed people.  And yes, I know that crafting laws that would do so is extremely difficult without trampling the rights of legitimate gun owners.  We've been down this road before.

But those kids in Connecticut had rights too.   The NRA ignores them in preference to gun owners and manufacturers.  They're fond of the "shall not be infringed" portion of the Second Amendment, yet they do not challenge those portions of the 1932 gun control law or the 1968 gun control law that put some sensible restrictions on gun ownership.  If they challenged them and lost, it would set a precedent for further restrictions.

Part of the function of our courts is to balance one set of rights against another set.  Where should the balance lie when a child has the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" when a gun owner's right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed?"

As I said previously in another thread, I have nothing to offer that would preserve Second Amendment rights while removing guns from the hands of criminals and crazies.  I see no way to find a compromise between the two.  But I'm beginning to think that the Second Amendment is an obstacle in the way of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  


Today, I see on Google News that a GOP congresscritter says the problem is that there aren't enough guns, not that there are too many.  A man in Indiana threatened a local school.  Someone made a bomb threat against a church in Newtown, Connecticut.  Locally, a kid in Bartlesville was arrested for planning to kill his classmates.  And there's the usual Saturday night mayhem, including Tulsa's 45th homicide of the year. 

I enjoy shooting, and until my bird dog died many years ago, I enjoyed hunting.  Bullseye shooting requires just two things: sight alignment and trigger control.  Oh, and perhaps one other thing - a tight focus on the task at hand to the exclusion of all else.  There's a blissful state of awareness that is all too brief before concentration goes away and coordination goes with it.  For those few minutes, the bills, the mortgage, the troubles on the job simply do not matter.

I'm a lawful gun owner.  I was licensed to carry a concealed weapon at one time, and believe me, that revolver felt very heavy in my pocket.  No cowboy wild west bullshit for me.  I backed down from confrontation on more than one occasion.  Like I said, the revolver carried a heavy load of responsibility. 

So I can honestly say that I'm at a loss over how to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and crazies without imposing some restrictions on gun owners and gun manufacturers.  I can't offer any new ideas, but I think it's past time that our government sat down with the NRA, the manufacturers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to find a way out of this morass. 

We're supposed to be a civilized country, yet we have an ever-increasing body count.  We deserve better. 


Blogger lemmiwinks said...

Very well said Ed. The root cause is why are these people killing other people? Too much violence in society? Human life devalued? Likely we will never know the answer.

I hope that America doesn't adopt Australia's firearms laws which make law abiding firearms owners feel like criminals while the criminals get all the good guns with ease.

5:58 PM  

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