“Our country has a problem with gun violence,” former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman write at washingtonpost.com. “It’s a problem for our cities and suburbs, churches and schools. Sadly, Americans have gotten used to watching massacres occur where we work and shop and where our children learn and play. With ever greater frequency, it seems, dangerous people with dangerous weapons are inflicting tragedy on individuals, families and communities.” Note: “it seems.” Because the statistics are clear: violent crime continues to decline across America even as gun ownership continues to soar. That is what the man who invented the Internet calls an “inconvenient truth.” It undermines the gun grabbing duo’s entire argument (i.e. something must be done!). But what the hell . . .
In response, responsible citizens around the nation are delivering a simple message to Washington: Keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.
But even as we are shocked time and again by mass shootings such as those in Columbine, at Virginia Tech and in Tucson, Aurora, Newtown and, most recently, at the Washington Navy Yard, Congress has produced only stalemate and dysfunction. Our national leaders have failed to pass meaningful laws to ensure that people who should not own guns cannot get them.
Correct! So why pass more laws? If current laws don’t work why would new laws do the trick?
The antis remind of nothing so much as people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Specifically, people who constant “check” to see if they left the gas stove on. These sufferers believe that their constant checking keeps them safe; they refuse to believe that it’s a waste of time. In fact, the more they check, the safer they feel. Not are. Feel.
Put the word “background” in front of “check” and you have the gun control advocates’ perspective. The more background checks there are, the more onerous the restrictions they place on lawful gun ownership, the safer they feel. Not are. Feel.
[Quick aside: I find the term “national leaders” in this context a bit disconcerting. At best it brings to mind Boris Badenov’s boss Fearless Leader. At worst, worse. Shouldn’t Ms. Giffords and Mr. Schneiderman use the term “elected representatives”?]
In the absence of leadership from Washington, it is up to citizens to speak out — and imperative for state and local officials to lead.
Consider background checks. They are supported by nearly 90 percent of Americans — gun owners and non-gun owners — just as vast majorities of Americans accept our constitutional right to own guns for self-defense, hunting, shooting or collecting.
Although Congress has refused to act, 17 states and the District have implemented laws to ensure that gun buyers undergo background checks. And in those places, local leaders are stepping up and creating innovative models for background checks that serve both gun owners and public safety.
It’s official: the civilian disarmament industry has decided to erase any distinction between Americans’ support for “background checks” with the antis’ desire for “expanded background checks” or “universal background checks.” The antis have also decided that the best way to attack Americans’ Second Amendment protections is to pay lip service to them.
Let me be clear: Ms. Giffords and Mr. Schneiderman do not accept the Second Amendment’s clear ban on government regulation of firearms ownership. The Amendment says that Americans’ right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” Background checks, whether limited to new gun sales or extended to sales between private individuals, are an infringement. Period.
As for these newfangled state-sponsored background checks “serving gun owners,” serving them what? In fact, background checks put the “servile” into “serving.” They make Americans seek permission from the government to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Gun control serves government’s purpose (agglomerating power), not ours.
Last weekend, at the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair, one of the largest gun shows in New York, we saw firsthand a new model for background checks at such events. It would ensure that all gun purchasers get background checks quickly and easily.
It works like this: Guns are tagged at the entrances to the show. Show operators provide access to federally licensed gun dealers to do background checks before completing a sale. All guns are checked on the way out to ensure that background checks were performed.
It’s that simple.
I grew up with the children of mafioso. “Just because it’s organized doesn’t mean it’s complicated,” one of them told me. “You do what I say or I’ll hurt you. You disobey me enough times and I’ll kill you. Simple.” Background checks may be just as simple, but they’re just as sinister. They enable firearms confiscation. When guns are confiscated from a free people, bad things happen, on a scale that would make Giffords and Schneiderman’s opening lament seem like a description of paradise.
These procedures do not infringe on anyone’s constitutional right to bear arms. Rather, they recognize that responsible gun laws go hand-in-hand with the free exercise of gun rights. They recognize that protecting the rights of responsible gun owners, vendors and gun-show operators means ensuring that people who should not own guns can’t get them.
What’s more, this new model for responsible gun ownership was drawn up in cooperation with gun-show operators after undercover investigations revealed several years ago that vendors were illegally selling guns to anyone who wanted one. Show operators agreed to work with the New York Attorney General’s Office to close this dangerous loophole — and now nearly every known gun-show operator in that state has signed on.
Yes, these background checks do infringe on our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms—although it’s great to see gun control advocates talk about Americans right to “bear” arms—in a state whose main city denies that right to its residents. Great in the sense that it reveals the utter hypocrisy of their position.
A position that requires torturing the English language in ways that would make George Orwell shake his head in dismay. For example, what definition of the word “free” fits the authors’ contention that “responsible gun laws go hand-in-hand with the free exercise of gun rights.” And what, pray tell, separates a “responsible” gun law from an “irresponsible” gun law?
Hey! I’ve got a definition of “irresponsible,” at least when applied to government. A government is irresponsible when it uses its power to force free enterprise to curtail its legal activities for what it, the government, considers the greater good. The idea that gun shows signed on to Schneiderman’s background check system willingly, gladly even, would be laughable if it didn’t fit my mafia buddies’ definition of simple.
That sort of cooperation is unheard of these days in Washington, especially around contentious issues such as gun safety — but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is for both sides to recognize that gun ownership is part of American culture and that people on both sides of the debate are responsible citizens worthy of respect and protection under the law. From that respect can come thoughtful and productive dialogue.
By finding common ground and crafting creative solutions, responsible gun owners and state and local officials can take the lead in reducing gun violence.
The people who want to restrict my gun rights—-putting myself, my family, my community and my country in harm’s way—deserve respect and protection under the law? I don’t think so. OK, sure, they have a First Amendment protected right to argue for civilian disarmament under the guise of “responsibility.” But if they think The People of the Gun are going to respect those who would enslave them, then they really are nuts.
Heads-up! There is no common ground here. Either you are for firearms freedom or you are against it. No matter how many times Giffords and Schneiderman repeat the word “responsible” they’re not going to convince intelligent people that they respect that which they are working to destroy. That is, as we all know, their ultimate goal: civilian disarmament.
Anyone who doubts their end game should consider a simple question: why does the New York Safe Act (which both Giffords and Schneiderman consider “responsible”) require that gun owners load their firearms with seven rounds? Why seven? Why not five? Three? One? Why have a gun in the first place? Well exactly.
Americans deserve to live in safe neighborhoods, and they have the right to own guns. If law enforcement, elected officials and responsible gun owners work together, we can make both happen.
Let’s all join hands and sing Kumbaya while we’re at it. Either that or let’s recognize the fact that a responsible gun owner is one who uses his gun responsibly. Not one who supports the degradation and eventual elimination of their right to do so.