Mar 09, 2008
Gun Control, the Pink Pistols, and the Supremes
I just came across this WaPo story about a case currently in front of the US Supreme Court. For the first time in over 70 years the Supremes will decide a case grounded in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.
"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."
It seems like every day we're hearing yet another story about someone killing a group of people -- often relatives or schoolmates -- with a gun. We truly have an epidemic of violence, gun violence, in this country. There are people out there who sincerely believe that the way to curb this violence and to protect themselves and their families is to put more guns in the hands of our citizens.
I am not among them. My limited understanding of the English language and my limited understanding of Constitutional interpretation lead me to believe that the beginning clause, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," was put there for a reason. The second clause, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" cannot stand alone. But, I admit that the amendment is ambiguous. After all who are these "people" whose right to bear arms cannot be infringed upon (possibly members of the well-regulated militia)?
When this debate was a hot topic 40 years ago, the bumper-sticker slogan of the gun nuts was "Guns don't kill, people do". Yikes. That kind of thinking scares me. Guns have the ability to turn a temporary passion into a permanent condition and regret. If I'd have had a gun in the house at the time, I never would have confronted the fact that I hate knives and I wouldn't be here now to appreciate the beauty that life has to offer.
The Pink Pistols do not speak for me.
With the Supreme Court examining for the first time in 70 years the right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment, a group of gay and transgender gun owners called the Pink Pistols could not miss out on a chance to tell the justices about its special needs. ...
The Pink Pistols brief, for instance, said that Heller's argument that he has a right to own a gun for self-defense is especially relevant for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people.
"Even in their homes, LGBT individuals are at risk of murder, aggravated assault and other forms of hate violence because of their sexual orientation," the brief states. "In fact, the home is the most common site of anti-gay violence."
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I'm one of those people whose "right to bear arms cannot be infringed upon." I will agree that firearms can, on occasion, escalate the passion of a temporary moment into something more permanent. That statement can also be said of many items we come into contact with during our daily lives.
I use my firearms often, and every time I've used them it was under perfectly legal circumstances (at the shooting range). Just because there are a few people that ILLEGALLY possess and ILLEGALLY use firearms, does not mean that the millions of people who legally own and legally use firearms(not to mention legally defend themselves or their families) should give up their rights to do so. Can anyone reading this give me ONE good reason why I should let myself fall victim to the idiots who are actually breaking the law? Just ONE reason?
sorry for ranting, D. gun control is kind of a touchy subject with me.
Posted by: adam | Mar 15, 2008 5:42:12 PM
Adam, I believe that the tone and character of your question suggests that, like me, your mind is made up and there is no amount of fact or persuasion that will change it. In this regard, your mind is closed.
Nevertheless, I will attempt an answer. Your question wasn't "why should I give up my gun?" Your question was "why [should I] let myself fall victim..." implying that if you don't have a gun you'll be a victim, or at least if you do have a gun, you won't be. However, the question ignores some startling facts.
In the United States (more guns owned by private citizens than any country in the history of the world), for every time a handgun is used in legitimate self-defense there will be 1.3 *unintentional* deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and *37 suicides*! This is not just "a few people" who "on occasion" create tragedy in people's lives that would have -- but for ready access to a gun -- have otherwise been avoided. According to the FBI, for everytime a civilian used a handgun in self-defense, 43 people lost their lives in handgun homicides.
It is my sincere prayer that, when you have children, that your child isn't one of the hundreds of thousands of children who through access to their parents' guns kill themselves or someone else. Many of these guns were under lock and key.
But, what's the point of lock and key if it's to be used for self defense? An unloaded gun is no more useful for self defense than a rock. But, a loaded gun is a receipe for disaster in the hands of a curious child.
There are, literally, MILLIONS of reasons to give up your guns, Adam, but I fear that until it happens to your child, you won't hear them.
Posted by: Denise | Mar 15, 2008 6:24:17 PM
wow. that was a quick answer. yes, our minds are made up on the matter and therefore "closed." what the stats say to you and what they say to me are entirely different.
I wholeheartedly agree that a sidearm under lock and key is definitely useless for self defense.
the question did ignore some key stats, but if someone breaks into my house with a gun, I'd rather have a chance defend myself and my family.
I wish I didn't feel that it was necessary to own firearms for self defense. Unfortunately, violent crime is on the rise in some parts of the nation. If there was an effective way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, I probably wouldn't feel the way I do.
many laws were proposed to try (HR 1022), but unfortunately, criminals don't respect the laws.
now for the domestic issue. Most of these issues are preventable. Suicide for one, is an unfortunate situation that most of the time sends the "red flag" flying. but that's a whole other blog thread entirely.
accidental gun deaths are a huge issue, and 100% preventable. if someone is not properly trained on how to handle their gun safely, bad things happen. along with that goes kids who get access to their parents' guns. as you know, I was raised by a cop. my dad solved the problem by teaching me how to handle firearms safely. Consequently, I knew exactly what his guns could do, and exactly what would happen to me if I handled them unsupervised, therefore I never got curious. training was effective.
anyway, it's safe to say that we'll never agree, but life wouldn't be interesting if everyone agreed with everyone on everything. so I'll move on to our "Denise slaughters Adam on the chessboard"
Posted by: adam | Mar 15, 2008 8:02:49 PM
good to see you posting again, denise. as you may know, i am an active member of the pink pistols here in phoenix. i'm not sure where all these statistics come from, or more importantly, if we can trust their accuracy. firearms are one of those hot topic issues, sort of like abortion, in which people hold tightly to their beliefs, and there is "evidence" on both sides as to what the "right" policy might be.
i will say this: after having my personal living space violated by criminals on more than one occasion, criminals who may or may not have been wielding guns, i feel a lot more comfortable sleeping with my fully loaded 9mm under my bed. i am not a strong person, nor am i well versed in self defense. but i feel like i have a chance when i am armed. so long as the good chance exists that a criminal will be armed, a criminal who may want to break into my home, or rape me, or rob me, i will hold on tightly to my right to own guns.
i go to the range at least once a month, so i feel comfortable using my guns safely. further, when my son was living with me, i made sure he understood that firearms require respect, and that they are not toys. there was never an incident of any kind regarding my firearm collection.
you say "There are, literally, MILLIONS of reasons to give up your guns,". i disagree, and can't think of even one. however, i can think of many reasons to keep them.
as has been stated earlier, we probably won't ever agree on this issue, but i thought i'd weigh in.
Posted by: nexyjo | Mar 29, 2008 2:52:39 PM
"I am not among them. My limited understanding of the English language and my limited understanding of Constitutional interpretation lead me to believe that the beginning clause, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," was put there for a reason. The second clause, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" cannot stand alone. ":
Actually that's backwards. Grammatically, the first half cannot stand alone as it doesn't convey a complete thought. the second does.
Second, the first half mentions but one reason for the protections afforded by the 2nd.
As it turns out, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously to the "individual" meaning of the 2nd Amendment.
Posted by: Lori | Jun 4, 2009 11:30:03 AM
"In the United States (more guns owned by private citizens than any country in the history of the world), for every time a handgun is used in legitimate self-defense there will be 1.3 *unintentional* deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and *37 suicides*! This is not just "a few people" who "on occasion" create tragedy in people's lives that would have -- but for ready access to a gun -- have otherwise been avoided. According to the FBI, for everytime a civilian used a handgun in self-defense, 43 people lost their lives in handgun homicides."
This statistic is severely flawed because it doesn't account for times when a person uses their gun in self defense that DOESN'T end up in somebody getting killed. Another way it is flawed is the mentioning of suicides. People who are suicidal will usually find any way to facilitate their tragic goals.
As a law abiding person who has a very transgender nature, I believe it is my fundamental right to own a gun for my self defense, and I do. I have been around guns all of my life and respect the power that a gun can give me. I hope that I never have to be faced with the situation of having to pull the trigger and end somebody's life, but I will if faced with certain death from some homophobic/transphobic psychopath. If somebody doesn't feel safe with a gun around them and prefers not to own or handle one, that is their right. However, such a person doesn't have the right to tell somebody who has been threatened with bodily harm and death that they shouldn't have the right to own a gun a gun if they so choose.
Posted by: J.R. | Dec 5, 2009 1:06:55 PM