The point is not about gun control, a diaphanous concept at best, it is about gun removal and, more to the point, it is about the elimination of what many consider to be a hallmark of our society. As I’ve said before, gun ownership is different from any other issue we face today not because of the actual facts of the danger to citizens, and believe me there are many, but that the ownership of guns is inextricably woven into the single most important document that binds us together as a country; the constitution. The fear, as I understand it, is that once we start down the path of restricting what many, many consider a personal right—not a privilege, not a favor, not something arbitrarily bestowed by a benign dictatorship—then there is no end to that path until the total right is removed. Until all guns are removed from all citizens.
The United States of America is not the United Kingdom, it is not Australia, it is not the European Union and the thing (some say the only thing) that sets us apart from them is that we are a constitutional republic based on the principles of democracy as described and represented by the constitution of the United States and the bill of rights. Our is the only country on this planet that is based, first and foremost, on the idea that people have inalienable rights—regardless what the government does or doesn’t think—that cannot be taken away from us. In every other country, to varying degrees , the citizens are granted rights and privileges by their government…rights and privileges that can be taken away at any time.
This is one reason why we are who we are.
Advocates of gun ownership—even the batshit crazy ones (and there seem to be more and more)—aren’t really saying that they want to own bazookas and grenade launchers but that they don’t want further restrictions placed on what they believe is an inalienable right. The fact is that we did not restrict assault type weapons as soon as possible, before they became readily available and are now owned by a significant percent of the population. We did restrict ownership of machine guns, we did for grenade launchers, we did for tanks, etc.….and because we didn’t then, if we do so now, then we have to take them away from people.
Yes, I just said that if we ban and make illegal all assault type weapons and/or high capacity magazines then we will have to tell the population to give the government their guns—the ones affected by the ban—when that segment of the population believes that the government, as described in the constitution, does not have the legal power to do that.
All of the ranting and raving, as crazy and literally insane as it sounds really has nothing to do with owning a metal tube affixed to a piece of wood or plastic that hurls a small chunk of metal at incredible speeds…but has everything to do with the idea that people, the citizens of the United States, have specific rights above and beyond what is “given” to us by our government and that many believe that if you invalidate one aspect of the constitution, there is not much that is going to stop you from invalidating other aspects of it, or, in fact, the entire document.
And that is the point.