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Guns: Our Choices Will Never Be Perfect

NRA

“Anyone who really wants a gun will always find a way to get one” is a familiar argument, and likely accurate. And in one specific, even if a ban on “assault weapons” passed, it wouldn’t eliminate all possibility of their use in murders.

Of course, if perfection was the requirement for passing laws, we might as well just give it up and go for total anarchy. There will always be people who work around laws, or just break them. There will be those who simply break the law by acquiring what they want illegally, or in the case of guns, modifying a legal weapon. But if we applied the “somebody will always break the law” standard across the board, then we might as well abandon all rules and regulations, because from writing them to enacting them to enforcing them to abiding by them, there will always be people who “break” them.

Guns are one of those “hot button issues.” From one perspective, the NRA plays a “bad guy” role in the ongoing national gun conversation. I think it’s a role those like LaPierre relish. They get to play the tough guy, Second-Amendment-as-they-interpret-it hero part, and unless and until they don’t have enough funding to buy Electeds, I doubt it will matter, to them, how many deaths by guns occur, whether homicide, suicide or accidental, and whether one at a time, or as many as a shooter can get on a military base or in a dark theater or political rally or elementary school (colleges and high schools are so yesterday). I don’t mean that they want the deaths, but that the right to own their guns of choice trumps everything else.

At OpEdNews, Martha Rosenberg asks “Why Are A Mere One Million Extremists Dictating the Laws the Whole Country Lives Under?” (emphasis added)

It is time to force lawmakers to treat gun proliferation the way they treated secondhand smoke and start serving the 100 million who elected them. Asking lawmakers to serve their constituents instead of the NRA has failed; it is time to use our buying power to tell politicians and gun-friendly corporations, services and even states that we veto their lethal agenda.

The Second Amendment arguments aren’t just about national laws and policy. From The Hill: (emphasis added)

Senate votes 53-46 to stop US from joining UN Arms Trade Treaty

… Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment that would prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty in order to uphold the Second Amendment. His amendment passed on a 53-46 vote.

Republicans have been critical of President Obama’s decision to consider the treaty, although Obama has said he would not vote for anything that would violate the Second Amendment.

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would regulate international arms sales. Negotiations end on March 28.

I’m guessing there are probably some gun manufacturers who feel quite strongly about anything interfering with the very lucrative arms sales business who have as much if not more to do with this vote as does the NRA. But the NRA does a great job of making it all about the Second Amendment, and that’s a much easier sell.

There are people who keep speaking out days, sometimes even weeks (imagine that) after the latest mass shooting — a focus well beyond that of media and Electeds. And, unfortunately, a lot of the Electorate. For example, at this moment, New York City is one place the “gun” focus is playing out. At Mother Jones:

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants new gun control legislation so bad that he’s set to spend a staggering $12 million of his own money on ads targeting US senators in a dozen states.

As the New York Times reports, Bloomberg’s new wave of ads, which begin on Monday, support universal background checks for nearly all gun purchases, but do not mention a ban on assault weapons. The ads, run under the auspices of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group funded and co-chaired by Bloomberg, will target Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

The NRA, of course, is responding “with an advertising campaign of its own.” NRA’s “top lobbyist,” Chris Cox

… told the Times that it’s confident that many Americans won’t buy into Bloomberg’s message. What he is going to find out is that Americans don’t want to be told by some elitist billionaire what … when and where they can protect their families.’

The Hill reports that that the NRA has “gain(ed) (the) upper hand on Obama.”

After a series of missteps that gave President Obama the early advantage in this year’s gun-violence debate, the …NRA … has struck back.

The powerful gun lobbying group had stumbled in the immediate wake of December’s Newtown, Conn., grade-school massacre, launching a blistering attack on opponents that alienated even some NRA supporters and upped the odds of Obama moving tougher gun laws through Congress.
But three months later, the NRA has regained its footing, rallying gun owners and lawmakers against new gun controls in a fierce lobbying effort that appears to be paying dividends on Capitol Hill.

Indeed, over the last 100 days, Democrats have grown more divided over Obama’s proposed reforms.

But again, there are those who speak out. Back to NYC, via AlterNet, NY Rallies for Gun Control Legislation: ‘History Cannot Reflect That We Allowed Sandy Hook to Happen and Did Nothing.’ Among those speaking: (emphasis added)

Music legend and activist Tony Bennett also attended the rally … (said) ‘We the people are stronger than the NRA.’

Yes, we are. We just have to act that way. It’s our choice.

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5 Responses to Guns: Our Choices Will Never Be Perfect

  1. Cujo359 March 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Of course, if perfection was the requirement for passing laws, we might as well just give it up and go for total anarchy. There will always be people who work around laws, or just break them. There will be those who simply break the law by acquiring what they want illegally, or in the case of guns, modifying a legal weapon.

    Absolutely. There’s an argument to be had about how effective this or that change in the law might be, but simply arguing that because someone could get past one isn’t a valid argument against the law. Nothing that anyone has proposed, including people right here at TM.com, is going to prevent all deaths by firearms in America.

    The only discussion worth having is will the laws be effective enough given the cost, and will they restrict our rights.

    • Joyce Arnold March 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      It’s an argument that simply never makes sense to me, including the familiar “if the bad guy wants to get a gun, he’ll get it.” So? We should just do nothing in that case?

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter March 26, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    Using this ‘logic” then we shouldn’t waste any more time or money on crime prevention, fire fighting, medical research etc. etc. etc.

    • Joyce Arnold March 26, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Yep.

  3. DaGoat March 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Overall I agree with the first message of the essay, namely that we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to laws. I also agree that just because a law will frequently be broken is not a reason to have a law, although I think it should be a consideration since in order for the law to be effective it must be enforced.

    Where I get uneasy is quotes like “History Cannot Reflect That We Allowed Sandy Hook to Happen and Did Nothing.” Maybe I am not interpreting that correctly but it always sounds like the passage of a law, ANY law, is more important than the content of the law. Laws passed hastily in response to a tragedy are not necessarily going to be wise or effective laws. That is evident in the assault weapons law, where the features banned are purely cosmetic and banning them will accomplish little.

    The other problem with tying Sandy Hook too closely to the proposed gun controls, and I think Cujo has touched on this, is it’s very unlikely that any of the proposed laws would have prevented the Sandy Hook massacre. When someone says “we must prevent another Sandy Hook”, it is reasonable to ask if what they are proposing would have prevented Sandy Hook. Frankly LaPierre’s nutty idea of having armed guards in every school has more chance of preventing another Sandy Hook than what is being proposed by the Democrats.

    That doesn’t mean some of the proposals aren’t good. The universal background checks make sense. Capping magazine capacity is probably a good idea although the benefits will be less and take longer than people think. Keeping the weapons out of the hands of the profoundly mentally ill is a good idea, although it will be tough to implement while at the same time respecting privacy and avoiding taking away rights from people who are not risks.

    As hard as it is, it’s much better to take the time and do this right than it is to push through laws on a wave of emotion.

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