Connecticut passed a gun control bill that should be the standard rather than an exception. This is one of those topics I’ve been struggling with for a while. I’m socially liberal on almost any topic, but I’ve always stood by the second amendment. Maybe it’s part of being a Texan, particularly since I was raised in a rural area, but I’ve always felt that gun control wasn’t really under the purview of the government. The government should prevent and punish crime that actually happens, not the people that own tools that are tangentially related to crime. After all, there is nothing inherently evil about a gun. Any hard implement can be used to do violence, given opportunity and sufficient motivation, and guns are tools, just like shovels. Guns don’t kill people, people do.
Part of me still wants to believe this. Part of me wants to believe in the inherent ‘goodness’ of humanity and that we can be allowed to own the tools of self defense without unjustly taking the lives of others. And to be fair, statistically that is true. The vast majority of gun owners aren’t frothing at the mouth. They haven’t committed shooting rampages in crowded theaters or schools.
All that said, those mass shootings weigh more heavily on me than a numerical statistics. This past year five year olds died to protect a hunter’s right to reload less often. Children died, that could have been saved, because some rednecks believe their 9mm and AR-15 will protect them when our government turns on them. People died because self interest out lobbied the public good.
The second amendment was written at a time when the height of technology was a single shot musket and a single shot canon. It takes a team effort to operate a canon, so the most danger the public faced from a deranged individual with a personal vendetta was a single shot. In Aurora, James E. Holmes was able to fire 30 rounds out of a 100 round drum before his weapon jammed. A random mechanical failure is all that stood between 12 dead/58 injured and an additional 70 rounds of auto fire. At Sandy Hook, in the span of only 11 minutes, Adam Lanza fired 154 rounds from his series of 30 round magazines. And for all of that, would either of them have lasted more than a few seconds against a drone? These weapons are no longer about protecting yourself from tyranny. They’re a symbol and a tradition to many, even to me as I write this, but mostly they’re a public menace.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Note that the amendment doesn’t lend much specificity to what sort of arms we the people are allowed to keep and bear. We don’t get Joint Strike Fighters. We don’t get attack helicopters. We don’t get the nuclear option.
We don’t get weapons of mass destruction, so where is the line where we go from ‘reasonable loss’ to ‘mass destruction’? In 2012 I found my line and it wasn’t where I thought it was.