My Position On Gun Rights / Gun Control

Categories: Personal, Politics
Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: 2013.01.17

As Fate would have it, I had spent quite a bit of time prepping a blog entry about my position on gun control before the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at a grade school in Connecticut. At that point, curious as to what rhetoric would be vomited across the nation, I withheld my words in draft form. Then when I learned that Vice President Joe Biden was assigned the job of forming recommendations about new gun restrictions, I waited again. So far, none of what I’ve seen or heard in that time has changed the opinions I had set down in this blog entry in late 2012.

I had added the following to the My Platform page on Nov. 23, 2012:

“I believe the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is essentially correct, that American citizens should have the right to own and carry weapons. However, real life has proven that many aren’t responsible enough to do so without qualification. Because their actions infringe upon the rights of the rest of us (the intrinsic right to not get shot, which isn’t mentioned in the Constitution), I’m in favor of various restrictions, such as age limits, required and regular safety courses, and even safety tests — much like driving exams. Yes, this makes me a moderate, and prevents me from being a full-blown Libertarian.”

We as Americans can have the right to many things, yet it’s also okay to place sensible guidelines and boundaries around those rights — in order to protect other rights. This becomes especially true with something as intrinsically dangerous as a firearm.

So, as usual, my position will infuriate back-country NRA types as well as city-bound hippie liberals:

* Raise the age limit a bit
* Require regular (every X years) safety/proficiency courses/tests
* Magazine capacity limits (10 rounds is enough for hunting and home defense)
* Stricter rules for densely populated urban areas
* Close loopholes for background checks and waiting periods
* Prioritize enforcement of existing laws
* Make it more difficult for mentally ill to acquire firearms
* Allow armed citizens in workplaces, schools, public
* Prohibit lawsuits against manufacturers over illegal shootings

For a much longer, drawn-out version of this same thought process, see my other new entries:

Gun Control (In Moderation) Is The Only Sensible Path
Some Things I Considered When Forming My Position on Gun Control

4 Comments
  1. >>Make it more difficult for mentally ill to acquire firearms<< That's the rub, isn't it? One thing many mentally ill people do well is manipulation, hiding their illness.

  2. Wil C. Fry says:

    Very true. As you know, my wife’s occupation is primarily dealing with the mentally ill, so I’m (somewhat) aware of the difficulties involved in this. Of course, in the case of several of the recent mass shootings, the perp/suspect was already under care for mental illness (already diagnosed).

    There are steps that can be taken, however…

    * Better tracking
    * Making sure these flags show up during background checks

    Just to name a couple.

  3. Shari says:

    I agree with most of your points. I think training before licensing is a good idea, just like driving. It has the potential to make other people unsafe and so must be regulated somehow.
    My pacifist friend from Australia had another good point, which would make it much less scary for American citizens to be less-armed: disarm the many government agencies (IRS, USDA, SS, etc) except military (I’d even grant arms to police, which she wouldn’t).
    I never understood why a background check or waiting period would be such a big deal, but those who are fearful of government don’t want their names on a list. And there is the actual wording of the amendment “not be infringed.” Infringe can be defined as encroach, which means “To advance beyond proper or former limits.” I think that will have to be changed before gun limits can be legally imposed. But I’m obviously not an expert.

  4. Wil C. Fry says:

    Shari:

    I wouldn’t classify myself as an “expert” either. :-)

    And I think you’re right about government disarmament too — that it’s one of the reasons some citizens are fearful of gun restrictions. Possibly the entire reason the 2nd was included in the Bill of Rights was so citizens could have some kind of recourse against an overbearing government.

    However, we already can’t own many of the kinds of weapons that government agencies can own (tanks, grenade launchers, land mines, etc.) and we already do not live under the same rules as police when it comes to shooting someone (consider all of the cases where police have shot an innocent person and were later ruled to be within their rights).

    As for background check — there have been attempts to legislate a periodic cleansing of those records. I would be in favor of that — for example: if you pass the background check, then the record of that check must be expunged/deleted within X days. (If you fail, it stays there until it’s resolved.)

    As for the “infringe” in the 2nd Amendment, I think (not an expert, remember?) that it’s always been customary to balance one right with another. For example, if YOUR right to bear arms infringes upon MY right to freedom of speech (we could both think of examples), then a compromise must be reached between the two rights.

    I noted above that the “right to not get shot” isn’t listed in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, but maybe it should be. It’s certainly a right that I consider important, and therefore should be balanced out with the other rights. ;-)

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