Let’s Discuss Gun Control – Again

Some say its about time, others say no not again! It would indeed be a nice change, and perhaps actually constructive, if the discussion about gun control, the possession and use of firearms in this country were held rationally and reasonably. It is very difficult to hold a discussion with the name calling that is now-a-days common practice, or the distortions of truth and fact made to strengthen one’s own argument. Emotions always run hot when someone, or especially children, have been injured or killed by firearms. Unfortunately it appears that some on both sides of this debate often do not allow for people to grieve or even reflect. Sadly, if the debate were really about reasonable controls to ensure safety and protect the public, and not about portraying those that do possess and use firearms as somehow “weird or uncivilized” or suggest that those that want more controls do not support or respect the constitution, a mature and reasonable discussion might just be possible.

There are many who want gun controls, but also respect the right to own, possess and use firearms in this country. There are also many who do legally possess and use firearms and have no real problem with reasonable controls to ensure the safety of the public. To pretend, however, that there are not those in government, the media and the general public who want to in fact prohibit or so limit the ability  to own, possess and use firearms is misleading and disingenuous at best.

The recent decisions of the US Supreme Court in striking down laws in Chicago and the District of Columbia found that to be the case. The result of those laws struck down, prohibited law abiding citizens from being able in practice to own, possess and use firearms. There are also those that believe that no controls, reasonable or not, should in any way be imposed. They declare that the Second Amendment gives a person residing in this country the absolute right to possess and use firearms and that right shall not be infringed upon in anyway. They argue that the possession and use of firearms is a constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and today that federal right is no longer in question, but as we all know, no right is absolute. To suggest that the federal government or states can’t make reasonable laws concerning firearms to promote public safety is a non-starter. Of course the government can, and in my opinion it has a responsibility to do so. That said, passing laws under this pretext, but whose real intent or outcome would be to effectively punish or prohibit law abiding citizens the right to own, possess and use firearms is also a non-starter, and in fact a deliberate attempt to deny citizens their constitutional rights.

Let us remember, the Bill of Rights is just that, a list of rights that cannot be abridged by the federal government, but it also constrains state and local action. And lest we are confused, it is not just some menu, that we can pick and choose from – I will have the 1st and 4th amendments, but you can keep the 2nd and 6th. It just does not work that way, nope, never did, never will (This is neither the time nor place to discuss the Incorporation Theory). If change is wanted by the people, then passage of a constitutional amendment is in order, and that is an entirely different conversation.

The right to own, possess, and use firearms is a serious matter. Background checks, reasonable waiting periods and license requirements, if designed both to protect the public and ensure the right to own, possess and use firearms would be supported by most people, in my opinion. But if the real intent or objective of gun control efforts are to prohibit the possession and use of firearms by law abiding citizens, then no discussion, whether held civilly or with rancor, will be fruitful.

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