by Roy W. Bakos
This short missive was written in response to a piece published in the outstanding Buffalo, NY free-press weekly, Artvoice. It can be found here: http://blogs.artvoice.com/avdaily/2013/01/15/fuck-your-gun/
An interesting take except that all folks that like the Second Amendment are not necessarily right wingnuts. I happen to be pretty left of center on most issues. I believe that the Supreme Court has been far too slow (including the Warren Court) to act regarding ensuring all of the protections of the Bill of Rights to all of our citizens. I often point out that one of the most restrictive state gun control laws was championed by Ronald Reagan (and written by Ed Meese) as a racist attempt to keep guns out of the hands of the Black Panthers (and which resulted in an explosion of illegal gun acquisitions in the inner-cities of California that continue to this day). I believe that the first and best book of American history is Howard Zinn’s, “A People’s History of the United States.” I also believe that those in power like to make sure that those that are not in power have the least amount of means to protect themselves against or take umbrage with policies or laws or encroachments upon their (the power-challenged masses) rights. All of the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution were designed to protect us from ourselves by enumerating some important things as “rights” that cannot be abridged. In this sense, the Second Amendment is just as important as any other in the Bill of Rights.
I think that where the left and the right (or the parts of each camp that wish to) can come together is on the Constitution and the Amendments to it that have increased the amount of people that are entitled to liberty over the years (with the exception of the 18th Amendment…the only one that ever curtailed individual liberty). The Bill of Rights has continually been under attack, by both Republican and Democratic Administrations and Congresses, and these attacks are based on irrational fears masked as patriotism (the Patriot Act, the NDAA and Military Commissions Act provisions that enable habeas corpus to be suspended, etc.). The fact that, ” notwithstanding… the government could – if it wanted to –
easily take out your entire neighborhood with an unmanned drone operated by a teenager nursing a Monster Energy Drink in a dank, smelly basement in Northern Virginia[,]” should be a rallying cry across the political spectrum for all Americans to pay attention and act more vigilantly when our government acts outside of our interests.
Like it or not, the Second Amendment was put into the Constitution by the framers and the SCOTUS has interpreted it to mean that individuals have the right to arm themselves. This right, along with all of the others listed in the first 10 Amendments and filtered down to all US citizens through the 14th Amendment, can only be completely abridged by a change to the Constitution.
Reasonably regulate guns and gun ownership? Yes. Close the “gun-show” loophole? Absolutely. Require that private sales must go through a licensed broker so that background checks and the like can be accurately performed? Yes on that too. Better enforcement of laws that are already on the books which limit the 2nd Amendment? Yes. A complete ban on a type of weapon (outside of machine guns or missiles or things like that which are already banned)? No. We must be careful in how far the restrictions on our rights go, especially in times when the mass of the the public is demanding action (see Iraq War, Patriot Act, and the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII for examples of overreach here). Lets have a common sense discussion on both sides of the issue which results in an expansion of liberty rather than a contraction of it.