The chairperson of Gods Before Guns penned an editorial for cleveland.com entitled Guns, like cars, should include tough licensing and manufacturing requirements. “Many of the same kinds of regulations that are making steady progress in motor-vehicle safety could also be effective in reducing the toll of shootings,” Dave Eggert asserts. “And because guns, unlike vehicles, are specifically designed to kill, additional measures are also appropriate. These include universal background checks, special protections for children and youth, and special measures to keep guns away from criminals and domestic abusers.” Yup, this again. For those of you who just joined us . . .
The right to keep and bear arms is a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right, subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility. The state sanctioned privilege of driving a motor vehicle on public roads is not.
This alone should be enough to torpedo any comparison between gun ownership and driving a car. If it isn’t, the right to keep and bear arms enables armed self-defense, defense of innocent life, community protection and a bulwark against government tyranny. While driving to work and taking little Janey to her soccer game is pretty important too, there’s really no comparison, is there?
While the federal government issues safety requirements for thousands of ordinary consumer products (including vehicles), the firearms industry has successfully carved out a special exemption for itself. And under federal law, firearms manufacturers even enjoy special protection against liability lawsuits.
The response of the gun industry to gun violence is essentially this: “Buy your own guns so you can shoot back.”
“Gun violence” is not a thing. Guns do not commit violence. Criminals commit violence. Anti-gunners use the term “gun violence” to focus the public’s mind on guns, rather than the criminal using the gun. Bonus! It allows them to lump-in suicides with their “gun violence” statistics, inflating the otherwise statistically small – and falling – incidence of violent crime.
The gun industry is in the business of . . . wait for it . . . selling guns. So it’s true that their response to criminal predation is to encourage Americans to exercise their right to keep and bear arms by keeping and bearing arms. Just as the business of a website is to encourage Americans to exercise their right to free speech. The problem being?
The problem being Eggert’s intentional mischaracterization of gun ownership, somehow neglecting to mention that guns deter violence. Most defensive gun uses end without a shot fired. Many never happen because gun owners are armed.
The other problem is Eggert’s intentional failure to mention that gun rights advocates constantly argue for an end to the “revolving door” justice system that puts violent criminals back on the street. Or keeps them there. Essentially.
It’s time for the rest of us to insist that the freedom to own and carry guns must be weighed against the freedom of others to be safe from those who have no business owning or carrying lethal weapons. We have a right to require that gun owners and gun carriers are legally qualified, competent, and responsible, and that guns are as safe as possible in design and in their use, storage, and transport.
We know what works, and nothing in the Constitution or our rights as free citizens requires us to hold guns sacred from proven measures to reduce this major threat to public health.
Nonsense. There is no such thing as “the freedom to be safe.” Anyone who thinks that have a Constitutional right to be safe is a) ignorant and b) deeply, dangerously delusional. It’s the same sort of delusion that leads a man of the cloth (no less) to believe he has a right to violate other people’s rights in the name of safety. Or anything else, for that matter.
As for the statement “nothing in the Constitution or our rights as free citizens requires us to hold guns sacred from proven measures to reduce this major threat to public health” what part of “shall not be infringed” does Eggert not understand? Aside from all of it, obviously.
By the way, what’s wrong with God before guns?