With Senate Republicans threatening to filibuster a vote on any sort of gun reform, I felt the need to throw out a quick piece to cover what I think about some of the issues revolving around the “gun debate.”
First, let me explain what a filibuster does. See, just because you vote on something in the Senate, does not mean it will pass. What a vote on an issue does do is allow the American people to know who voted which way on any particular issue. What a filibuster does is prohibit the Senate from voting on a bill, thus denying the American people the right to know where each Senator stands on any given issue. So, on an issue such as universal background checks, supported by over 90% of Americans, a filibuster denies Americans the right to know which Senators would vote “nay” on the issue.
So the question you need to ask yourself is, “If 90% of Americans support something, why are there politicians (Republican politicians) threatening to block it from even going to a vote?”
But moving on…
It’s ridiculous to believe that the Second Amendment guarantees access to any and all “arms.” Just as our First Amendment doesn’t give people the right to say whatever, whenever, they want.
Doubt me? Please, I invite you to go scream “fire” in a movie theater or “bomb” in an airport. Tell me how that works out for you—that is, once you’re out of jail.
So let me break down a few arguments I’ve heard from those who oppose gun regulations.
One argument made by many is that passing laws against certain “military style” weapons doesn’t mean individuals (especially criminals) won’t gain access to them anyway. My response to that is, then why pass laws against rape or murder? Hell, why pass any laws period? If crimes are going to happen anyway, why even have laws that seek to deter them?
Another argument being made is that labeling certain guns illegal just means only the murderers and the psychopaths will have them. Then why, in most of the countries with much stricter gun regulations, aren’t armed psychopaths taking over these nations—since the civilians are unarmed?
A third argument I often hear is that a killer will kill no matter what. Then tell me, why aren’t there mass stranglings? Mass murders by rock? Mass death by baseball bat? Mass sporkings?
It would seem logic dictates that mental health, mixed with an ease of access to dangerous weapons, is the difference between an American suffering from some kind of mental illness and a killer.
Not everyone with access to a gun will kill, nor is everyone who suffers from mental health issues a killer, but when you mix the two, it increases the odds. Again, if I’m wrong, why are over 10,000 Americans dying each year from gun violence and not rock violence?
Then an issue I rarely ever see mentioned is the very strict regulations we have on fully automatic gun ownership. How these weapons are bought, sold and owned are strictly regulated.
For example, to buy a fully automatic weapon, first you’re required to submit a photo and fingerprints to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—before going through an FBI background check. You’re then required to pay a $200 tax. Then, only guns manufactured and registered with the government (yes—I said registered with the government) can be bought, owned or sold. There are a few others, but you get the picture.
Then it occurred to me—most gun violence, and most every mass shooting I’ve been made aware of, has been committed with semi-automatic weapons. So, you’re telling me semi-automatic weapons are more effective than fully automatic? Or is it that these extremely tight regulations on buying, owning and selling fully automatic weapons have done a pretty good job at keeping them out of the hands of most criminals and mentally ill individuals?
Most Americans, myself and President Obama included, are not advocating a ban on handguns or hunting rifles. But if you feel civilians need access to military-style weapons, and easy access to these kinds of weapons has nothing to do with mass murders and gun violence in general, well—you’re insane.