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Guns for all

June 26, 2008
tags: ,

The glaring news of the day: the Supreme Court decided that the Second Amendment does indeed allow for individual gun rights, not just the right of a state to maintain a militia. While I don’t have nearly as much legal or constitutiony knowledge as those guys, I stand by the Obama on this one:

As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right, and, you know, in the same way that we have a right to private property but local governments can establish zoning ordinances that determine how you can use it. (source)

I grew up around guns and observed as many perfect examples of responsible gun ownership as I have seen bad examples via the media. I have nothing against guns, though they’ll never be more than a novelty to me and inspire brief flashes of nostalgia. I do, however, have plenty against people killing each other, and guns make that act all too easy. It may not be necessary to ban guns completely, though I hardly think that’d be a bad thing if it wouldn’t piss so many people off, but at least let each state decide what’s best for its population. This country is too frickin’ huge for some laws to make sense everywhere.

People insist on keeping drugs off the streets and dealers in prison. Sure there are plenty of responsible drug users out there who never hurt anyone, but there are also plenty who get violent or pose a burden on society, or at least enough such folk to convince the government to make drugs illegal. How are guns really that different? Couldn’t man’s so-called inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness refer to an individual’s right to alter his consciousness just as much as the Second Amendment’s reference to a “Militia” translates to individuals owning guns?

The thing that irks me is that the biggest defense gun supports spout is that it’s their right to bear arms. So? Can you cite any other amendment like you can the second one? Why cling so devoutly to that disputed, outdated, ambiguous amendment without clinging just as desperately to all points made in the rest of those arguably outdated eighteenth-century documents?

What is it about guns that makes people so defensive?

No pun intended.

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