Guns, Guns, GUNS!

The screeds about “inalienable rights” and gun control have been enough to make my brain bleed lately. We have 27 amendments to the constitution, all of which tell us something about our rights. That doesn’t even count all the shit in the constitution itself. And yet, here we are. Again. Talking about the Second Amendment. Again.

There’s apparently no good time to talk about guns in our society. When people are complaining about Jared Loughner and his whack-job antics, they are accused of “politicizing a tragedy.” Unfortunately, we tend to have too many gun tragedies to ever have a socially acceptable point in time to talk about this stuff. However, on the rare occasion that we’re not dealing with a tragedy involving a gun and people try to talk about guns, they are told it’s not the right time. After all, nothing bad has happened recently with guns, so trying to limit them in some way will just rankle the NRA crowd. Someone get Joseph Heller on the phone…

Anyway, instead of turning this into a rambling screed of its own about guns (which I don’t understand the value of) or personal freedom (which I don’t think we pay enough attention to), here’s an attempt at peace in our time. Here’s a shit ton of stuff you can do that is “inalienable,” guaranteed by our founding fathers and that doesn’t involve a weapon that can be used to slay 6 people and injure a dozen more in a matter of seconds:

– Say a prayer for Gabrielle Giffords and ask that she recover for the sake of herself, her family and our country. Or, if you don’t believe in religion, don’t do anything. You’ve got that right as well.

– Hire a lawyer just because you can. You have the right to counsel. Talk about the weather, taxes or if the Brewers new pitching rotation will get them over the hump this year. Leave a couple C-notes on the nightstand and feel good about yourself.

– Refuse to paint the garage this weekend. Remind your significant other that slavery has been abolished. Then, go sleep in the garage for a week until your spouse forgives you.

– Roll up on a battalion of Marines, flip them all the bird and scream, “I don’t have to quarter you! I don’t have to quarter you!”

– If you are of a non-white race, go vote for something. If you are a woman, do that too. If you are a minority woman, vote twice. If you are in Chicago, vote multiple times after you’re dead.

– Pay your fucking income taxes. If you’re so excited about your right to bear arms, pony up for the check. The amendments can’t be a Chinese Buffet of rights.You can’t have any pudding until you eat your meat.

– Go have a drink. You can. It’s legal. If you’re 21. Or you’re not in Utah. (I only made up part of this.)

– Petition your government for the redress of grievances. I’ve already written my letter to the president asking that LeBron James have his ACLs removed in a mannercommensurate with the surgery scene in “Law Abiding Citizen.”

– Write a comment here and yell at me for this. It’s free speech. Or freedom of the press. Or some other freedom we tend to overlook when it doesn’t involve the extraction of a weapon from Charlton Heston’s cold dead hands…

17 thoughts on “Guns, Guns, GUNS!

  1. Just why the FUCK should I give a shit whatever fucking trite, feel-good, faux-sensitive horseshit that Tony Dungy feels the need to share with me and the listening audience?!?!?!
    Tony Dungy has inspired me to hate Tony Dungy.

  2. Do something cruel and unusual to someone who hasn’t been convicted of anything yet.

  3. There are plenty of good times to talk about guns in our society. The talk just has to be rational and informed. Usually, any such talk goes off the rails very quickly.
    A good place to start such a conversation is by looking atcurrent Federal firearms laws, not by listening to some interest group with a stake in stoking your personal outrage one way or the other.

  4. I thought you were going to tell us ladies to go have an abortion this weekend … you know, while we still can.
    Speaking of guns, Digby, as always, made a really good point yesterday:
    “I was at the drug store earlier today and a couple of guys were in there with guns strapped to their legs. They were speaking very loudly (and calmly, I must say) about their politics and the view that it was unfair to blame the Arizona shooting on gun owners. That’s fine. They have right to say what they want. And I guess they have a right to wear guns to buy aspirin.But let’s just say the combination pretty much ensures that nobody’s going to disagree with them. For some reason that doesn’t strike me as particularly heroic.”
    Yes indeed. That pretty much says it all.

  5. I’m not going to waste my energy in a fight I can’t win, so f*ck gun control. Okay, having said that, I’m all for limiting the size of ammo clips, banning dum-dum bullets, machine guns, assault rifles, and I’m open to the idea that people should pass tests for sanity and competency before being allowed to have guns, and then they should be required to buy liabilty insurance for hand guns.

  6. I think that is the key to the argument that the second amendment ensures the rights of the first.
    Let’s face it, if the swat team or the national guard showed up they would either surrender their guns, go to jail, or have a shoot out they couldn’t win.
    When they parade around with guns strapped to their hip yahooing their political views it isn’t the government they are posturing for, else they would be demonstrating their rights in a federal courthouse instead of a drug store.
    They are demonstrating that people with guns can and do intimidate their fellow citizens into silence. So has the threat of violence always been used to privilege one voice over another.
    Roving bands of bullies, and their admirers, have a long history in the US.

  7. I think that is the key to the argument that the second amendment ensures the rights of the first.
    Yes but c’mon, there are limits on the First Amendment, there is “decency” and inciting a riot and shouting fire in a theater etc etc. There are libel laws. But the gun nuts don’t want any limits on the Second Amendment.
    And Doc, let me point out that at least as of today, you are very wrong on the “roll up on a battalion of Marines, flip them all the bird and scream, “I don’t have to quarter you! I don’t have to quarter you!” thing. Actually, that only applies to peacetime. We’re at war right now and you’d better believe if the action were here instead of in Afghanistan we’d be expected to do some damn quartering.

  8. @ Southern Beale: Just as there are limits on the First Amendment, there are reasonable restrictions on the 2nd Amendment at the Federal, state and local levels. The Supreme Court continues to uphold those restrictions and clarify which restrictions are legally allowed.
    For example, should you get enough votes, a state could likely legislate (as Houston says) a liability insurance requirement attached to handgun ownership.
    Gun nuts and Anti-gun nuts aren’t usually aware of what the law actually says, they simply control what passes for debate about gun control in this country. They do so in order to sell outrage and advertising.

  9. in light of fat tony scalia’s recent pronouncement that the equal protection clause of the constitution doesn’t apply to gender equality because the men who wrote it – at the time they wrote it – couldn’t conceive that men v. women equality would/could ever become an issue, couldn’t the 2nd amendment be applied to muzzle-loading flintlocks only for the same reason, i.e., that the men who wrote it – at the time they wrote it – couldn’t conceive that automatic weapons would/could ever exist?
    i’d be OK with concealed carry laws if they only applied to kentucky long rifles and brown bess muskets.

  10. … there are reasonable restrictions on the 2nd Amendment at the Federal, state and local levels.
    I guess we disagree on what constitutes “reasonable.” In Tennessee I can’t buy a damn corkscrew at a liquor store, but I can carry concealed weapon into a bar whenever I want. As long as I promise not to drink. Of course, if my weapon is concealed, how will the bartender know?
    We can take a gun anywhere in Tennessee except the state capitol. Funny how that works.

  11. First, it is enlightening to see a graph of how much money the NRA has pumped into the Democratic party in the last two years, especially in House races. Their contributions to the “left” far outweigh their contributions to the “right.” That’s why we can’t have a meaningful conversation about gun control; the NRA owns our government lock, stock, and barrel … literally. Until we have real campaign finance reform (which obviously won’t happen) we aren’t going to get very much done on any front, and certainly not on gun control.
    Second, I am amazed at people who insist that the second amendment protects them from tyranny. My guess is that most of them couldn’t recite the entire second amendment if their lives depended on it, especially the “well regulated” part and the “security of the state” part. “State” means federal government, not your house.
    Finally, if the Constitution specifically says “well regulated”, then isn’t a lack of regulation unconstitutional?

  12. For years I have been fighting a soporific battle, but a battle nevertheless, for banning ammunition. The second amendment doesn’t mention ammo, so I believe the government can ban it if they wish.
    A largely unknown fact is that up until a very few years ago there was no constitutional limit on federal firearms laws – including outright banning of private ownership of guns. People believed that the 2nd amendment was protecting their right to their guns, but until the most recent supreme court ruling, the operative court ruling was that the 2nd amendment only applied to the right of citizens to join their state national guard.
    Now, if you will excuse me I need to go offer up a prayer to my guns, my God, my Savior. I still owe a prayer to my bank account too.

  13. @ Southern Beale – Sorry, I meant to phrase that “The 2nd Amendment allows reasonable restrictions at the Federal, state and local levels.” Syntax fail on my part. Mixed that all up.
    In short, Tennessee could place more robust restrictions on firearms, and still be within the bounds of the 2nd Amendment. That state chooses not to do so.

  14. “I think that is the key to the argument that the second amendment ensures the rights of the first.”
    The key I was referencing is the fact that people seldom argue with people carrying guns.

  15. I’m generally in favor of gun ownership (handguns, rifles, shotguns, etc) and own a few myself, that said, I never understood the concept of concealed carry. I don’t particularly want to be armed and none of the arguments for concealed carry really make that much sense.
    These people crawl out of the woodwork after every tragedy “oh if only more people had guns this would have never happened!” as though you can anticipate when you’re gonna be in a situation where a gun is needed (outside of a LE/Military situation that is). That situation never happens until it happens. The only other alternative is to just shoot people who MAY be threatening…(and that works both ways…assuming everyone is armed is going to give an active shooter just that much more reason to start plugging random people).
    And open carry is just another form of brandishing. As those up thread have said, it’s merely a vehicle to intimidate others.

    I should add that my views on simple gun ownership come from my family, mainly bayou dwellers and military folk who happen to be dusky-hued. And I’ve experienced enough in my time to realize that sometimes police aren’t going to always respond well to home invasion and that, frankly and unfortunately, I do have neighbors that I have to worry about (they’re all law-abiding citizens, but when you’ve been racially insulted by a neighbor who spouts tripe not unlike the AZ shooter AND is a conspiracy nut AND knows that you are in an interracial marriage AND knows that you and your wife are “known liberals”…well what can I say).

  16. It makes me laugh sometimes, even though it is a serious topic. you read things likethis and you can see a case for it but I cant help and believe if they did not have a gun, they would have used something else to kill the person or themselves. I dont think it would stop murderers ordepressed people wanting to suicide… but i have been wrong before (i think).

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