Friday, April 12, 2013

What To Make Of Gun Control

Four months after the Newtown shootings, the lions of the Senate have finally gotten down to a floor debate on “gun control” legislation. For four months we have been treated to one staged photo op after another, both sides trotting out their expert witnesses, grieving parents being manipulated, NRA warnings of black helicopters coming for our guns. So, what to make of it all?

A disclaimer: I do not own a fire arm, no shot gun, no rifle, no hand gun, although I do own a Daisy Powerline 35 BB gun which I use with deadly effect on the marauding band of squirrels that constantly harass my back yard. I do believe that the 2nd Amendment to our constitution means what it says, that citizens have a right to keep and bear arms. I also believe that our country has changed radically since that Amendment was conceived, and whether or not it is still applicable in a modern police state is a fair question.

As I understand the proposed legislation, high capacity magazines(more than 10 rounds) will be outlawed, and universal background checks will be required on all sales of guns, even at gun shows etc. Private sales between individuals would be exempt in a compromise deal reached between Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey, the senators from West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

First of all, if you believe that this proposal will do anything to prevent another Newtown, you are delusional. This law wouldn’t even have prevented…Newtown, much less the NEXT Newtown. Why do politicians do this to us, provoke the entire country into apoplectic rage over a law that will change NOTHING, and have zero impact on crime? Because, when something terrible happens, when the illusion of control evaporates, when we are all forced to stare evil in the face, the democratic response is always to “do something”. We must pass some law in the conceit that it will magically transform our character. In a nation with roughly 250,000,000 guns in circulation, the chances that one of them will wind up in the hands of some psychopath is virtually a sure thing. Any law that falls short of confiscating all privately owned firearms is tilting at windmills and every Senator in DC knows it, so why all the histrionics over background checks? Ahh yes, the slippery slope. Give an inch on background checks, and before you know it, there will be a national gun registry, and as sure as day follows night, some jack-booted fascist from the government will bash in my door and separate me from my Daisy Powerline 35. Well, they’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers…no wait, maybe not; I still have that sling shot from high school.

In a sane world, no one would object to a background check before being allowed to purchase a gun. Jeeze, I have to sign a million forms to buy a car and nobody bats an eye. Most people would agree that there is a legitimate roll for government to play in this since guns have the power of life and death. The problem is that our trust and faith in government has been so eroded by their incompetence, and sheer stupidity that no one feels good about granting them the tools needed to get the job done. Frankly, the government has no one to blame but themselves in this regard.

So, pass the law or not, it will change nothing on the ground, but no matter, a campaign issue will have been manufactured, and the fund raising letters will start to fly.