This website’s called The Truth About Guns. But the name is deceptive. While myself and the other writers do our best to tell the truth about guns, we are ready, willing and able to accept the fact that we may be totally wrong. About anything. That’s how you get to the truth: by remaining alert to alternative points of view. Comparing, contrasting, debating and modifying your views as and when you realize you’re a big dope, really. In the gun world, there are plenty of “absolutists.” People who believe that Americans have the right to bear arms and . . . that’s it. While they respect laws against criminal acts (and how), they believe that U.S citizens should be able to buy, own and carry any weapon anywhere anytime for any reason. Debate over. Backing away from that, there’s the gun owning right wing . . .

We’re talking about people who believe that it should be OK to buy, own anything; but it’s also OK to keep guns out of schools, churches, court rooms and other public and private places. Well, mostly the private ones. If the person who owns the property so desires. It’s also OK to stop criminals from owning legal guns, but what the hell good is THAT going to do you? Even if they agree with restrictions, they worry that the government will use them to do something tyrannical. As governments are wont to do.

And then there are mainstream gun owners and gun sympathetic non-owners. This silent majority (hat tip: Patrick Buchanan) are not all that happy about private citizens having relatively easy access to “assault rifles” or rounds that can pierce anti-ballistic clothing. Voters who don’t mind if aspiring gun owners have to jump through a few regulatory hoops, as some of them did. The hoops should probably be less difficult, but they’re generally good with the whole hoop deal.

In the run up to the Supreme Court decision on Chicago’s gun ban, which will redirect its antagonists to federal court, gun owners/media on the right wing are on the lookout for an end-run. They’re scanning for Illinois’ proposed rules or regs for anything that would restrict their citizen’s right to bear arms.

The unnamed brains behind learnaboutguns.com falls squarely in that camp, along with (you guessed it) the National Rifle Association (NRA). To wit: he’s sent out an alert asking readers to contact their elected reps re: these Illinois “anti gun bills” currently in legislative development hell.

House Bill 6123, which is in the House Judiciary II – Criminal Law Committee, could be taken up this week.  This bill, introduced by anti-gun State Representative Harry Osterman (D-14), seeks to create a confusing new felony offense for “knowingly” supplying a “street gang member” with a firearm.  A “street gang member” is vaguely defined in the Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act, and this new legislation is undoubtedly intended to capitalize on the fears the general public has for words like “street gang” and “terrorism.”

The language contained in HB6123 is also incorporated into Senate Bill 3632 and Senate Bill 3709 by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-33), which also may get a push this week.  Senator Kotowski’s bills go even further than Representative Osterman’s, though, as they would also outlaw most private transfers of handguns, requiring they be processed through a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL).  Both SB3632 and SB3709 have been assigned to the Senate Criminal Law Committee.

Representative Osterman also has House Bill 5480 ready to be taken up by the House Executive Committee.  This bill contains language to prohibit most private transfers of handguns, like Senator Kotowski’s bills, but removes the “street gang” language.

Finally, House Bill 5495, introduced by State Representative William Burns (D-26), is also in the House Executive Committee.  HB5480 would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period. 

My question to you, should you have made it this far, which I guess you have: should the pro-gun right dial it down a bit? I know the NRA offers its own sensible recommendations for gun control, but shouldn’t pro-gun semi-absolutists seek active engagement with gun control folk? Both sides share a desire to lower crime, prevent accidents, remove guns from criminals and live in a safe society. In other words, WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

See? I am deluded.

4 Responses to Question of the Day: Is Too Little Gun Control Too Much?

  1. I don't think anyone will be dialing it down anytime soon. There seems to be a global changing of the guard, and everyone is afraid they will lose out in the shuffle.

  2. I think I err on the side of "too much gun freedom" for the same reason that I always vote for the craziest libertarian I can find on the ballot: there are crazy people on the other size and if I fight hard for what I want and they fight hard for what they want, maybe we'll just end up with something sensible as a compromise.

    But then again, the constitution is very clear: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed", so really the government shouldn't be involved here.

  3. the constitution is very clear

    You missed the dependent clause that leads the 2nd Amendment: 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.

    Here's an assignment for you: Review the entire constitution for its other references to a "militia." The militia is not just a bunch of guys with shotguns and pickup trucks, but a body that Congress is authorized under Article 1, Section 8 to use in order to "execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions."

    In other words, this is a reference to what we refer to today as the National Guard. The theory was that instead of relying upon a professional army, Congress would work with "the People" to meet the defense needs of the country when necessary.

    You need to read the entire amendment and put it into the context of the Constitution. Don't skip over the inconvenient bits and focus on only the parts that you find convenient.

    • Definition of terms! Definition of terms!

      (See, I wasn't sleeping during my 300 level philosophy course.)

      Pch101 (good to see you again, btw, from the TTAC days), we must be sure, in order to support your argument, that National Guard (today's term for citizen soldiers) and Militia (the colonists' version of citizen soldiers) are close enough in meaning to support your argument.

      I'm leaning toward…not.

      Today's National Guard, in practice and in theory, is not the same as the Militia from colonial times.

      The organization, duties, commitment, chain of command, responsibilities are not even close.

      The Militia were indeed, citizens. Citizens who when able and called upon, reached up to the mantle, pulled down their rifle or musket, and ran the the community square.

      In short, the Militia was the male land-owning, tax-paying citizenry. The same.

      The National Guard is nothing of the sort. It's an on-call national army on reserve, funded and wholly supported by the government and under the command of their respective state governors first, and POTUS when s/he deems necessary.

      If we historically look to the roles of citizen, Militiaman, and Guardsman, you see that the framers saw citizen and Militia as being the same. Equal. Conversely, the framers would look upon the National Guard as more Army than not.

      Yes, this "inconvenient bit" that launches the 2nd Amendment is just that — inconvenient. It's also the source of most of the headscratching interpretation most constitutional scholars have on the entire Gun Control subject.

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