The very mention of gun control gets everyone’s knickers in a knot. Through blog posts, Facebook pages, on-line petitions, Twitter and comments to local newspaper editorials, I have sparred with those people who disagree with my advocacy of tighter gun control regulations in the United States. My opponents have questioned my sanity. Since mental health issues seem to lay at the heart of the gun violence tragedies we have witness recently, I wondered: could I pass a mental health test to own a gun?
Department of Gun Ownership Questionnaire
If a mental health test was given for the ownership of a gun and they asked “Would you use a gun to defend the constitutional rights of your neighbors?” I would have to answer “Yes”.
Bill of Rights is special
Our constitutional rights are precious and inalienable. They are guaranteed not by a government, but by our neighbors and fellow community members. While I fully embrace the non-violent civil disobedience doctrine espoused by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, there comes a time when a repressive regime of force must be met with an equal or greater force of civil defense.
Martyr for the progressive Rights
When I ponder our own civil war, the civil rights movement and the unfortunate civil wars in Libya and Syria, I have to ask myself “What measure would I be willing to give to fight for the rights of my neighbor?” If the rights granted in our constitution and subsequent amendments are truly a reflection of a humane, progressive and enlightened society, then one needs to seriously consider being a martyr to preserve those rights.
Shoulder to Shoulder
It is incumbent upon me to stand shoulder to shoulder with my neighbor if the government tries to take away her right to free speech, attend the church of her choice, her right to privacy and if she so desires, own a gun. There is a distinct possibility that my neighbor may not have agreed with my stand for stricter gun control, but that doesn’t mean I value her decision to exercise her second amendment right any less.
As adamant as I am about taking a bullet to protect my neighbor’s constitutional rights, I am equally confident that President Obama has no grand conspiracy to march on our homes and confiscate our guns.
Obfuscation and the real NRA agenda
The NRA and second amendment fringe groups are painting any prudent gun control measures as an intrusive step that will ultimately lead to banning all guns and eventually confiscation. No one, not me, not the President, or any other rational American, has proposed banning handguns, rifles, shotguns or the confiscation of such firearms.
The rhetoric of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, who are morphing into the very “Jack booted thugs” LaPierre accused federal agents of being, is aimed at protecting the gun sales of their largest contributors which are firearm manufacturers. They have wrapped their opposition to any gun control in a constitutional flag of protecting second amendment rights. None of the gun control suggestions, including mine to tax the sale of guns and ammunition to support mental health services, threatens the Supreme Court’s decision that American citizens have a right to bear arms.
The focus of real gun control
Our gun control policies must, and appear to be, focused on reducing the number of guns available to criminals and separating those with mental health issues away from guns until they are healthy. It is far less expensive to separate the illegal guns from criminals than it is to separate the criminals away from guns, which is what we do with long prison sentences. We can reduce the inventory of cheap guns with universal and nationwide background checks, stopping straw purchases, and the regulation of gun shows at a minimum.
I collect clocks, you collect guns…who cares
I really don’t care how many guns my neighbor owns. They can all buy one of month if it makes them happy. My advocacy of gun control measures doesn’t make me, as I have been called, unpatriotic, moronic, stupid, liberal scum, fascist, socialist or a few other adjectives and names I won’t spell out. People can call me what they wish, but that doesn’t diminish my support for gun control or my unwavering commitment to defend our constitutional rights.
I’ll be there
To those who have opposed me so vociferously, you can count on me to be by your side if the government should deteriorate to a point that they found it necessary to revoke our constitutional rights an attempt to suppress your speech, prevent you from attending church, intrude on your privacy or take away your guns. Just remember, I failed the gun test so I’ll have to borrow one of yours.