On April 17, 2013, the United States Senate failed to pass a basic bill to require background checks on people who want to purchase guns. None other than Adolphus Busch IV, a longtime gun proponent, NRA member and avid environmentalist, has parted ways with the NRA over the Senate vote proposing modest background checks to justify legal gun ownership.
Said Busch in a letter to the NRA, "One only has to ask why the NRA reversed its original position on background checks. Was it not the NRA position to support background checks when Mr. LaPierre himself stated in 1999 that NRA saw checks as 'reasonable'. I fail to see how the NRA can disregard the overwhelming will of its members who see background checks as reasonable?"
This legislative denial defies what gun proponents have long said about the reasons for gun crimes and fatalities in America. Gun advocates claim that law-abiding citizens are not the reason for gun violence. They blame criminals and people who are mentally ill committing the bulk, if not all gun violence in America.
If gun proponents actually believed what they said about who is committing gun crimes, they should have embraced and promoted background checks as an important first step to stopping gun violence. Maybe many do. But the results of the Senate vote speak differently. The legislation to expand background checks was defeated in the Senate even though a majority, 56 to 47, voted for the bill sponsored by both a Republican and a Democrat.The result effectively ends the debate over the logic and enforcement of the 2nd Amendment, which clearly states that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the free state of the nation. If fundamental national rules like background checks for all people purchasing guns cannot be implemented, the the 2nd Amendment means nothing.
We repeat: If gun proponents do not support the first component of the 2nd Amendment, they cannot effectively abide by and promote the second half of the 2nd Amendment. Thus they abdicate the rights implied thereof.
Selfish aims do not constitute rights or entitlements
In their selfish ambition to defend a warped version of personal liberty, so-called 'law-abiding' gun proponents have consistently denied responsibility for the adverse effect guns have on society.Yet, if you refuse to acknowledge the well-documented loss of life and liberty to thousands of people injured and killed by gun violence each year by refusing to take any preventative measures against those you most frequently accuse of committing those crimes, then your rights are squandered. You have placed your self interests above the law, and that does not represent equality in any form as guaranteed in the Constitution.
More civilians killed than in all our wars
What does it mean when we realize that more American civilians have been killed by gun violence in America than all the deaths of soldiers in all of our wars? It means we have essentially fought our wars for nothing. We are at constant war with ourselves because our 2nd Amendment is being interpreted to legalize military style weapons on our streets. It's that simple.
One can logically argue that it is the power of the guns themselves that enables this will to slaughter. But again, gun proponents refuse any such connection between owning guns and a propensity for criminal activity or giving violent expression to rage, anger or mental illness.
In fact gun advocates seem determined to avoid making any connections between guns and anything negative that happens in society. The gun lobby much prefers heroic tales of how guns help citizens solve social problems by "defending their homes". Such are the cowboy legends we depend upon for self esteem in America. Our rampant fears define the very nature of our social conduct.
The concealed carry lie
Concealed carry laws are one-such attempt at turning guns into supposed social mechanisms for change. Cynically, gun proponents sneer that “gun free” zones where concealed carry laws do not exist are danger zones for average citizens. Yet even in the many instances where armed guards have been on duty at colleges and even military bases, heavily armed gunman have quite easily killed dozens of people. This type of slaughter will continue even with concealed carry laws because they are a farcical attempt at implementing Old West policies in a modern society. Concealed carry is an anachronism as dangerous and dumb as a doctor who believes he can conduct surgery with his bare hands.
Background checks make sense
Requiring background checks would be the logical first step in deterring gun violence by known criminals and the mentally disturbed, yet the fact that gun proponents in Congress apparently refused to accept this simple fact is proof that they do not believe in the merits of common sense and fact at all. The gun owners they represent lost something precious in that vote on April 17. It's called credibility. Without credibility, you cannot pretend to represent the will or the rights of the people.
Instead we have arrived at a point in American history where the right to own guns trumps all other forms of human rights. An Amendment so full of hubris that it cannot be enforced must cease to exist in practice and in legality. It is time to repeal the 2nd Amendment and simply re-write the rules on gun ownership in accordance with the times we live in.
Are we to remain slaves to violence?
After all, America has voted down the legality of slavery, another infringement of basic human rights and a cruelty to all. We also changed our minds about the right of women to vote. Again and again America has come to its senses when it becomes apparent that the inequality of human rights is built into its laws.So it is now with the 2nd Amendment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary to put America on the path to ruling out segregation and guaranteeing voting rights to blacks and other minorities. A similar legislative movement may be necessary to restore balance and equity to America's rights to freedom from gun violence. Or else we will remain slaves to violence, mass murder and military weapon-style terrorism.
A squandered opportunity
Gun advocates have squandered their opportunity to act responsibly at this important juncture in American history. In many respects they have now given up their right to own and possess weapons under the current definition of the 2nd Amendment. In absence of the will to support the responsibility to a well-regulated militia, the 2nd Amendment has no definition at all.