Echidne of the Snakes, a very liberal blog I just ran across, responded to the McDonald decision with A Naive Post on Gun Rights And The SCOTUS. In Greek mythology, Echidna was part human, part serpent and was the mother of all manner of monsters.
My second thought was the one I always have when reading about the Second Amendment, which is to try to stretch my poor brain to make the leap from “well-regulated militia” to Bob-can-have-a-rifle-in-his-pants.
My third thought was about the equilibrium in the gun-carrying markets: It seems to me that the more common guns as threats become …, the more necessary it becomes for everyone to carry.
And I don’t want to live in such a world. Too many people have road-rage. If you have a gun in the car, your momentary rage can turn into a killing one, and lives are ruined. Too many people get into shouting matches in bars. If even one of the participants has a gun, things will turn bloody. Too many people have fights with their partners at home. Too many people get drunk before such fights. And so on.
This is a common point-of-view. Having done and said stupid things in anger during my youth, I have many of the same concerns about every moron carrying a gun. I have little confidence that we can stop the criminal morons from carrying guns, but don’t think it is a great idea to sell guns to unprepared citizens.
Which reminds me of that “well-regulated militia” statement. The “well-regulated” part. Shouldn’t that mean something like requiring extensive training in gun use, gun storage and how to stay calm in stressful situations when carrying a gun? A test which you have to take every few years to show that you are a careful shooter?
Perhaps Echidne and Brad can agree on something. As always I like to scan the comments to see how people react:
There are few things that seem clearer than that the second amendment was originally intended to make sure that people would be sufficiently armed to aid in defense against external enemies, and to rise up against an internal tyrant should one ever emerge. Which means that regardless of the question of who should have these weapons, the weapons whose possession should be protected are militarily useful weapons. And yet even the most basic infantry weapons, fully automatic assault rifles, never mind heavy machine guns, missles, and vehicle-mounted weapons of various kinds, are highly restricted, and even the present supreme court doesn’t make a peep about it. Admittedly, if the second amendment were interpreted in this realistic way, I’d certainly be in favor of repealing it (unless they did get much, much fussier about who it applied to, and maybe even then). But I really don’t see how a right to have small arms that can’t penetrate military body armor, much less do anything to even the lightest military vehicles, could possibly make any contribution to “the security of a free state.” Right wing readings of the second amendment are even more like biblical scholarship than most right wing readings of the Constitution.
Well, as I’ve said before I live in Texas. Many of us are armed — if not all the time, then much of the time.
As an old woman, I rarely go places where I need to be armed — though it has been a thought at times (road trip late at night, etc — two old women in a fairly nice car can be seen as a target).
The understanding that OTHER folks are armed does tend to keep incidental interactions with strangers a bit more low key.
That was never a thought while living in New York. Even though it was really easy to get an illegal weapon, it was not a consideration when driving, waiting on line, dealing with rude people. Here in Texas — it does make a difference.
It is VERY important anyone owning a hand gun or long gun LEARN how to use it SAFELY. That’s one reason I’d rather see regulated right to carry laws.
Heck, in the Northeast, many gun laws were put in place so the “riff-raff”, those nasty immigrants (like say, those Irish, Italians, various Slavs and Polacks) could be denied gun ownership.
California went crazy after The Panthers carried their weapons openly (and legally) into various buildings. Just the thought of those “radicals” being ARMED was enough.
It had little to do with “public safety” — it was about “ruling class safety” — they didn’t give a hoot about “the public”.
i support people’s right to keep guns in their homes. i’m not for people walking around in the street with a gun in their purse, car, pants, whatever.
my point of view is, i live on a farm in the country. guns are not for killing people around here, they are for hunting, and killing rabid animals, or animals attacking our livestock. my husband has had to shoot a rabid raccoon in the past. i’m thankful for our right to keep a gun around, otherwise who knows how many of our animals that raccoon would have bitten before the animal control people got here considering it was wandering around and the cats were stupid enough to not care about it.
in the past year, wolves have come right under our doorstep and killed a cat, we heard a mountain lion scream less than 2 miles away from our house, and the neighbor’s dog has also probably killed at least one of our cats (although we can’t prove anything.) to protect our livestock, pets, and lives, i am thankful that we own a gun and i support people’s right to own guns and keep them in their house. should they be required to take a class on gun safety? hell to the yes.
also, many people own guns simply because they go to a shooting range, and shoot at targets for fun. or they hunt. i support people owning guns because i think they are used more often for those reasons than actually killing people. again, guns are dangerous, and i’m pro regulation, but i think we should be able to own them.
In many ways, these SC decisions may actually make it more likely that reasonable regulation of guns occurs.
Before the decisions, the two sides were light years apart: one side feared the confiscation of their guns; the other side wanted to seize all the guns. Now, there exists a negotiable middle.
Reasonable regulation of guns (like cars) would entail central registries, with certificates of title for weapons; liability insurance and licenses for users and owners; and ‘rules of the road’ for all users on safe storage and use.
These regulations would inhibit gun violence rooted in impulse, and opportunity. Wouldn’t end gun violence, but could substantially lessen it.
WHo could oppose such a plan? Not those who once feared confiscation; and not those who once sought confiscation.