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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

No Silver Bullet For Gun Control

There are many reasons why America can't seem to shed its love hate relationship with guns. Part of it has to do with living in denial of what kind of society we are.

The term "Weekend Warrior" screams to the front of my mind.

The weekend warrior by week day is the mild mannered Clark Kent type. Loyally obedient, by the book, do as your told, Charles in charge. On the weekends however, he becomes Chuck. Hell bent for leather, rawhide tough as nails mountain man. A wild man. For the suburbs.

Or so he'd like to think. And in a country where free thought is deliciously rampant, what we think we are is as real as it gets.

Enter good old American commercialism. And the constitutionally guaranteed right to pursue happiness. Which to the patriot means a god ordained reason to have fun.

Unfortunately when men have fun, something in their DNA requires that they must shoot something.

Factor in every Western, World War II and Police Crime Drama movie about it and that's why Americans love guns. Simple.

An ingrained commercially promoted, legally entitled, traditionally and socially endorsed culture of fun gun ownership isn't going to go away with the stroke of a limp wristed panty waisted politician.

To reform gun control requires an honest understanding of the reality of the current 3 problems with guns.

One problem is that mentally unstable white people are shooting up daycares and movie theaters. Certainly this problem needs to be addressed.

Another problem is that ethnic minority criminals and gangs have unusually easy access to unregistered guns. Which is illegal.

The third problem is that the current gun registration policy has too many problems and loopholes in it, and doesn't address the reality of the second amendment.

The interpretation of the 2nd amendment is ironically impeding reform in two specific areas. First, what a "well regulated militia" means, and secondly what "infringement" means.

The militia regulation part is clear, in that the constitution requires that the security of the state be maintained by some sort of all citizen voluntary guard. In other words pretty much what the National Guard does already. The National Guard is about one step up from the Boy Scouts if you think about it. Lots of camping, a bunch of training on various skills and techniques, with a lot more emphasis on weapons. The other kinds of militia you hear about (usually in the northern woods of Michigan) are not regulated and so miss that literal interpretation of the amendment. So hobby militias should not be part of the discussion as a rule.

The infringement part of the amendment is actually the stickiest part, and usually where the questions about the original intentions of the framers comes in. If you subscribe to the notion that the framers wanted a government that was kept in check by well armed citizens, you are so far behind the curve, that you have lost any argument here. Because the current government has far more firepower than the average citizen could ever hope to have, to use to scare the government back into serving the people instead of itself. You must concede that you've lost that argument.
If this concession keeps you up at night now, don't worry about it. Normally when there is a collapse, and things shift towards a crisis in which a government begins to crumble, the normal natural phase of this leads to citizens storming the armories, and the military siding with the people and refusing any orders that might harm their fellow citizens. Especially in the US where more and more we see less and less military willingness to abide by morally dubious political will.

So you don't need to own a gun to overthrow your tyrannical government. When the time comes for it you and your neighbor Bob from down the street will simply take over the nearest National Guard armory and get whatever you need. Whatever it takes.

Now onto infringement. Infringement by definition implies the destruction of a right. It does not mean to impede or slow down. If you think it means to impede or slow down, you're just plain wrong and need a lesson in language. As applied to the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, you cannot destroy or get rid of that right. But not one of the framers said anything about registration. Registration does not destroy the right. However, since then, laws have been put into place to regulate the right, and as long as the regulations do not infringe or specifically act to destroy the right, there's nothing to worry about really. Again, if you feel you need to be ready to bring down a rogue government see the previous paragraph on how that normally works out.

So what's the problem with registration? Nothing really. Those of us that want them, can get guns. But mostly we don't need them. I'll talk about the kind of reform that gun registration needs later.
By far, most of the gun crimes in the US are committed with illegal or unregistered guns. This is by far, the biggest problem we face as a nation, and the area that needs the most action and a good deal of the energy can be put into reforming this area. No questions asked gun buy backs, and harsher penalties (cash not jail) for carrying one illegally, all part of obvious solutions. Additionally and probably more important than anything is addressing the underlying reasons why someone would feel so insecure and unsafe in the US, that they would think they need to have a gun, even illegally, for mere bodily protection. In 1865 Wyoming, I can understand this. But today?

The last part of reform has to do with the mentally unstable getting access to guns. First, more truth. Nothing can actually stop someone with undiagnosed and untreated mental problems who appears to be normal, from legally buying and registering guns. The only way to stop someone unstable from doing something horrible is actually society's job. Or our job. As family members, neighbors, and citizens we must now be aware. To use a Washington DC Metro motto "If you see something, say something". Because gun registration cannot ever address the normal looking guy who suddenly snaps at 5:19 pm on the bumper to bumper freeway drive home.

Almost all diagnosed mentally unstable people however, are under the care of good psychiatrists and therapists, who have a very accurate record of anyone who might be a threat to themselves and others. What reform could do, is require that all patients deemed in the slightest to be even the remotest potential threat, such as schizophrenia, or paranoia, or other mental instability diagnoses, must require a family guardian to affidavit whether the patient has access to guns. If they do a simple cop visit to the home needs to be made, to ensure that the relatives' guns are secured from easy access, with locks, in safes and other precautions to make sure they cannot be easily obtained by the family member under treatment.

This will only cost money. As will gun buy backs. As will closing registration loopholes.

As you have seen the NRA was not mentioned once in any of this. The NRA is a national gun club. It has no say in legislation. It should not be invited for its opinion. It should be immediately revoked as a non profit organization and prohibited from lobbying. The NRA is a national gun club. It should organize classes, competitions, and informative lectures about new recreational shooting developments, cool jackets, sweaters with the one shoulder patch, blue tooth enabled ear muffs, and Harley Davidson safety glasses made from Genuine Recycled Deer Antlers.

In a weekday Charles, weekend Chuck society, with the reasonably necessary second amendment, you cannot, and possibly should not consider getting rid of all the guns. However by accepting the truths about the issue and agreeing to take the citizen's (not hobbyist) responsibility for it, you can get somewhere in between, reasonable gun enthusiasm, and a generally acceptable level public safety.