Guns

Guns.

People who know me know that in general, I am a progressive liberal. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries, and I favor Elizabeth Warren this time around. I am for rebalancing the tax code in this country so that those who can afford to pay more do pay more, and those who are struggling pay less. I am for tuition free (and free books) in the entire public education system, including Community and State Colleges/Universities. I am for universal health care. And I am for reasonable regulations regarding the ownership of guns.

Guns.

The United States Constitution, 2nd Amendment, states: “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.

To some, all they see is “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” without considering the first clause, “A well regulated Militia”. What these people either forgot or never learned, is that this was written at a time when there was no standing army. The United States of America did not have a standing army until the Civil War. Prior to that, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the French And Indian War, and the start of the Civil War, an army was called up, State by State, from each State’s own local Militia. Militias that were, in turn, formed by volunteer call-ups at the time of need.

To others, all they see is “A well regulated Militia” and ignore the rest, and place strict restrictions on gun ownership by the common citizenry.

There are “nuts” on both sides of this issue, the gun nuts and the gun-control nuts. I see both. I grew up in Massachusetts which has one of the strictest set of gun control laws in the country, and I now live in Maine, which has almost none. As a Maine resident, I do not even need a permit to carry a concealed gun. All I have to do is pass a simple background check and be able to afford the hardware. No training required. It is scarily easy. I know, because that is exactly what I did last month.

I am a lefty-liberal progressive Democrat and I now own a gun.

My thoughts and feelings about guns have not changed over the past 20 or so years. They have, however, clarified.

Columbine. Sandy Hook. Pulse. Las Vegas. Ft. Hood. Virginia Tech. El Paso. Dayton. The list is much, much longer than that. The gun nuts see these and say “if only there were good guys with guns there”, and the gun-control nuts see these and say “this is why we need gun control and disarm everyone” and point to countries with strict gun control laws and low gun violence as examples of proof.  Like many things, the truth is somewhere in between. 

The gun nuts forget or ignore that Sandy Hook, for example, is an elementary school, or that the Las Vegas shootings were done by a sniper. And the gun-control nuts forget or ignore that the countries they tout as examples have had national gun control laws for so long that no-guns is part of their cultures.

So, my thoughts? Here in America, the cat is out of the bag on guns, and has been for over two centuries, reinforced with the Westward expansion of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Guns are so entrenched in American culture, that this not something that can be legislated away anytime soon, and not all at once. I am, and always have been, of the opinion that the bad guys will ignore the law, because that is what bad guys do. “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” is a trite saying, but I believe it’s true.

So, what is a reasonable regulation regarding guns? For one thing, a more level field across the nation on gun control. I can open or conceal carry a gun in Maine without a permit. If I get a Maine permit, I can then conceal carry in about a dozen other states, not including Massachusetts, New York or California, or even some of the more otherwise gun-friendly states in the mid-West or West. If I get a Maine permit and then a Utah non-resident permit, I can then conceal carry in 35 states, but again, not including Massachusetts, New York or California.  For that matter, a resident gun license issued in Buffalo, Plattsburgh or Albany NY is NOT valid in New York City!

For another, a stricter background check. The form I filled out, from the ATF I believe, is a four page booklet, of which the only part that pertained to me, the buyer, was the questionnaire on the first page and an oath to sign on the second. Two and a half pages were for the dealer, including a record of the gun I was buying. It’s harder to buy a car than a gun in Maine.

Another, one that would directly affect the ability of people to do mass shootings, are the Red Flag Bills that would allow friends, family, and law enforcement, to petition the courts to temporarily remove guns from people who have expressed intent to harm others or themselves. The courts can deny the petition if the petitioners fail to make their cases, and the persons in question can get them back if the court or authority appointed by the court has deemed that the danger has either never been or has passed. Multiple polls have shown significant bipartisan support for this among the people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.