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On The Meaning of Regulating VS Infringing – A Mad Rant About Gun Control

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Below is the edited version of a comment I found myself leaving on a blog post discussing Samantha Bee’s response to Orlando’s mass shooting. (Here: http://www.vox.com/2016/6/14/11930030/samantha-bee-orlando-shooting)

This reflects nothing more than a European’s misguided opinion (I’m not even 100% anti-gun, so expect to be sorely disappointed.) I apologize in advance if my views offend anyone.


I don’t get this debate.

When did “regulate” and “infringe” start to mean the same thing? You drive a car. You have a license for that car. Some people can’t drive cars because they don’t have a license or it’s been revoked: people with a history of arrest/multiple road violations, people taking certain types of medication or suffering from specific disabilities … or even 5-year-olds! The state is not infringing on their right to drive, it’s regulating the overall right to drive and own a car.

There are voices calling for a nationwide ban of firearms in the US, but I don’t think that’s the mainstream opinion or even what will happen. What President Obama has been saying for a while now, is that there can be a right to own firearms, but it needs to be properly regulated.
There can be responsible and eligible gun owners, and it’s not infringing on their right to own a firearm than to say that, sometimes, some people shouldn’t be allowed to own one. It’s just regulation. Gun control. The G word…

The point is to define who’s a responsible and eligible owner, and what’s a recreational or defensive firearm.

A .50 BMG with a suppressor is not recreational, or even defensive stuff. Trust me, I write unrealistic action scenes, I am an expert. 🙂
Any type of assault rifle shouldn’t be deemed recreational, or even defensive. It’s in the name. It’s military stuff, for military use.

Then there’s the problem of setting limits regarding who can be trusted with a firearm or not. And yes, it means making assumptions, setting strict rules, and perhaps even making mistakes. Similarly, I do hear the point that there can be 5-year-olds or lifelong alcoholics with a long history of DUI arrests who don’t cause accidents. I’m sure you can find those. Maybe. Yet we choose to make assumptions and ignore that possibility when handing out driver’s licences or revoking them. Why should it be any different when it comes to guns?

Someone with a history of violence should not be automatically trusted to be a responsible gun owner.
Someone with a history of psychiatric troubles or currently taking certain types of strong psychotropic/mood altering medications cannot be automatically trusted to be a responsible gun owner.
Someone who’s on a fricking terror list and who’s being watched by the government cannot be trusted at all to be a responsible gun owner …

A quick reminder of the text of the second amendment as it appears in the constitution (Although I guess pretty much everyone knows the line): “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The thing is, it’s not about infringing a constitutional right, it’s about adding a layer of modern, sensible rules to clarify and update a text dating back from 1791. Stuff happened since: Neither the Law Enforcement system as we know it, nor automatic weapons existed at the time. The social complexities we face today, the influence of globalized media or modern drugs on the human psyche, the major historical events and civilization conflicts which shaped our societies: All those were unknown to the men who wrote the second amendment. Try as we might, we will never be inside their heads, and can never see, understand the world through their eyes.

And no, they did not write it so you use armor-piercing ammo to shoot cans in your backyard, dammit!

(P.S.: interestingly, among the people defending the second amendment “as is”, you’ll also find people —rightfully— slamming Islamic extremists for killing in the name of a radical interpretation of a text dating back from the antiquity. Taste the irony…)

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Excellent points, all. Not that the “Obama wants to take all our gunz” crowd can hear this. I really don’t understand why they cling so closely to the guns, in the absence of all evidence that guns make people safer. I wish I did.

    Reply
    • I know, it’s something strange from a European’s point of view. I think they don’t realize that when the 2nd amendment was written, you didn’t have 911 or cops able to show up rapidly and protect you. You didn’t have all the media scrutiny that comes with democracy either. In truth I think people are more likely to be saved by a call to the police than the gun they want to open carry.

      Reply
  • Nice job. You expressed your opinion and you were right on the mark.
    Judi Brett

    Reply

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