This Christmas card says everything you need to know about guns in America. Guns are part of the family.
The relationship was set up right in America’s founding document. The right to self defense was so important it was made the second right, the 2nd amendment. We’ve already teased out whether or not the 2nd amendment was referring to individual arms ownership or just a militia. And we concluded the right to bear arms is an individual right. The Supreme Court came to the same conclusion.
So whatever you think about guns in America, they’re here to stay. It would be easier for you to relocate than try to get guns banned. Because to do so, you need to do the following:
If you want to ban guns in all fifty states, you’d have to get a majority of Congress to vote to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Then you’d have to get a majority of the States to sign off on it. And if you got all that done, there would still be guns in America.
From January 1920 to December 1933, the 18th Amendment was in effect, making alcohol illegal. But alcohol was still in America. People were threatened with prison and fines if they made it, drank it or transported or housed it yet, many people still engaged with it. Law enforcement and courts was subject to corruption while attempting to enforce the law by taking bribes or outright taking a drink themselves. When things are illegal, the money gets good and going to jail becomes an acceptable cost of doing business. Those who really want to still be involved with those illegal things will always find ways of avoiding the law. And this is where it gets dangerous because, as in the case of Prohibition, that “bathtub gin” was killing people. Killing from drinking it, transporting it and fighting in the streets over sales.
In 1933, it was clear Prohibition wasn’t working so the 21st Amendment was enacted, repealing the 18th. And now a days, you can go to the store where the alcohol manufacturers are still fighting it out but through fancy labels and advertising to win your business. Quite frankly, Budweiser and Miller are not shooting it out on the streets any more. They’re hiring hot women in bikinis. (Still not sure how this sells to women).
Well the same applies to the drug war today. We have all the problems regarding marijuana and heroin and cocaine that alcohol prohibition brought us and we’ve yet to learn the lesson that we should just legalize it all. But this essay is on guns. What’s the lesson?
If guns were like drugs or alcohol; in that, those participating in the sales and use were the only ones involved in a risk, then only busy bodies would want to make them illegal. (As only busy bodies do regarding drugs and alcohol). But what makes guns different is that it seems like a daily occurrence, and living just outside of Detroit it is, that a gun is used to harm and/or kill other people that have no say in that gun.
On December 2, 2015, a husband and wife shot and killed fourteen people in San Bernadino, California. All evidence points to a radicalization to the tenets of Islam and an allegiance to ISIS. But their radicalization has been set aside by some in favor of calls to ban guns. Perhaps this is just another straw, a last straw. Because there are plenty of mass shootings having nothing to do with religion. There’s James Eagan Holmes who shot up a movie theatre during a screening of the Dark Knight Rises in 2012. His motive seems to be a loss of reality, finding too much in common with the Joker. Then there’s all those school shootings motivated by bullying or just a wish to out do Columbine. So perhaps San Bernadino was a last straw.
Is banning the solution? Let’s recap:
Get Congress to overwhelmingly vote to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Then get the majority of the States to agree. Then…What?
Guns will still be in America.
There’s two solutions: You can either enact a buy-back program or have law enforcement engage in Prohibition style raids and door to door seizures. You could do both, but I’m betting like all other buy-back programs, you’ll get low participation. That means the only solution to truly rid America of guns is the door to door seizures. And that means…
Civil War II.
Look at the Christmas photo again. This is a family, like many other families and individuals, who identify so much with their firearms that trying to forcefully take them away would not be easy. It would be literal war. Remember the saying, “From my cold, dead hands”? Also consider that it wouldn’t be the military and police against the civilian. It would be the military and police who want to retain the right to bear arms against other military and police who fall in line with the seizure order. Again, Civil War II.
For fun, let’s assume that after the war the anti-gunners win and there are no more guns in the United States. Like when the prohibitionists won and there was no more liquor or drugs (uh huh). This doesn’t touch the manufacturing off shore, nor the smuggling in that would come after. It’s how heroin and cocaine get here. Guns would still come to America.
So banning is not an option.
Does this mean we’re stuck with guns and violence?
I say we’re stuck with guns, and violence will always be part of humanity. But gun violence is going down. In fact, violent crime in general is going down. Think of how much better life is, how much more civilized than just fifty years ago. One-hundred years ago? It’s almost as if it’s going to have to play itself out. Sort of, run a course. Maybe using guns for stupid reasons will just become as frowned upon as Speedos on men. No one looks like a hero like that. I don’t know.
You can’t separate a close family by force without a confrontation. Look at that Christmas card one more time. Then consider being smarter than banning something. It’s a lazy, feel good, do nothing solution. As I’ve said in essays before, I’m open to suggestions.
And please don’t come at me with the “We banned slavery, we can ban guns”. If you can’t see the difference between owning things (guns, drugs, etc) and owning people, I don’t think we can talk any more. And that was Civil War I.
1 thought on “America’s R(ev)olving Family”
This is the most frustrating aspect of the Ban Guns argument: Then what? I’m always stunned how people who entirely agree that the War on Drugs was an unmitigated disaster will, nevertheless, eagerly sign on for an effectively identical War on Guns. And man, if you thought the War on Drugs was bloody…
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the basic challenges associated with material prohibitions in a liberal democracy, and there are a lot we’re just not acknowledging. Consider these statements: “I believe we should maintain strong constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure,” or perhaps “The right to privacy is implicitly protected by the constitution and, as such, should be respected by the executive branch.” These are, for the most part, politically neutral statements in the modern US. However, when we criminalize the simple *possession* of an object – a firearm, in this case – we all but compel law enforcement to either…
A) Wait for it to be used in an actual crime, then seize it as evidence,
B) Invent a false pretext for the purpose of searching private property, or
C) Outright violate Constitutional rights.
Most of us can agree these are are all unacceptable options. The nation is at a stalemate in regards to our “discussion” on gun violence. We may be able to communicate the real-world impracticality of the more radical gun control proposals by shifting the focus away from the 2nd Amendment, and towards the 4th.