Thursday, March 22, 2018

Gun Ownership: A Question of Second Amendment Rights over Social Responsibility

by Nomad

By putting profits over responsibility, the gun lobby in America has decided the rights of some are more important than the safety of all. That includes the lives and well-being of our own children.

Writer David Frum has a modest proposal when it comes to gun control. In the name of social responsibility, let's treat guns with the basic accountability they deserve. The same degree of accountability that we give automobiles and other potentially dangerous products on the market.

The second amendment is, many say, anachronistic in an age of assault weapons and that the current situation bears no relationship to a "well-regulated militia." It has been left up to the individual states- susceptible to pressure of the NRA lobbyists- to interpret the meaning of the second amendment however they like.

This has led to some lax gun control in some states like Nevada, site of the Las Vegas massacre last year. As USA Today reported:
Gun owners in Nevada don't need a permit to buy or possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun, according to the National Rifle Association. They can carry a firearm openly in public. Nevadans can even purchase machine guns or silencers, banned in other states, as long as they're legally registered and within federal compliance. The state does not prohibit possession of assault weapons, 50-caliber rifles or large-capacity ammunition magazines, according to the NRA.
In spite of national public outrage, the NRA clearly has no interest in serious weapon regulation, declaring to its members that that would the first step to total gun abolition.

That would be as if General Motors, Ford and all of the car makers formed a lobbying organization against Big Government's mandatory driving tests, driver licensing and automobile safety inspections.
That analogy may not be perfect but it is close enough.

Flower Power vs Fire Power

The irony, as neo-conservative Frum sees it, is that, back in the 1960s, it was the right-wing conservatives who considered themselves defenders of the social order.
They saw themselves as the upholders of the American values against the wave of hippie counterculture selfishness.

As Frum says:
A gun is a machine to dispense death. Too many chafe against obvious rules that in every other developed country protect people against gun accidents and gun death. If it feels good, do it. That is the old hippie slogan conservatives usually reject such self-indulgent permissiveness. 
But not when it comes to guns then it's the "me generation" all the way.
Somehow, along the way, the NRA has managed to convince people that it was somehow patriotic to be irresponsible with extraordinarily lethal weapons. In their minds, the right to own guns somehow supersedes the general principles of public safety.

There's only one problem with Frum's premise.
The hippies of the late 60s and 70s hippies might have been socially irresponsible, yet when they rejected the rules of social order, they didn't put the lives of pre-schoolers at risk. Their selfishness never led to the wholesale slaughter of innocent victims.

"Flower Power" was an ideology of passive resistance and non-violence. Anybody who wants to put weapons of war in the hands of madmen or disturbed teens isn't advocating peace, love, and understanding.

Today it is the socially-responsible teens across the nation who have stood up for social order against the reckless selfishness of gun rights extremists.