I made a comment in a RKBA diary that I understood the thinking of people who are against personal gun ownership because I used to be one of them. I was asked to expand on it and felt that it really was time to put up or shut up. I am an unabashed supporter of the 2nd Amendment, I believe that private citizens have a guaranteed right to own a firearm.
If you are interested in the evolution of my thinking and want to talk about it, please join me on the other side of the orange Dingly Duver Whatis.
I came to the party with the thinking of a true blue hippie liberal. I really didn't think much about guns at all. Remember we were the people who routinely dressed up in fringed western wear and gypsy dresses. If some guy walked into a party looking like Jeremiah Johnson carrying a rifle and a bong I doubt anyone would have batted an eye. I've seen weirder things.
But, out there in the political sphere people were working on gun control and it was becoming a liberal cause. I'm a liberal, I signed right on. I didn't think twice about it. Guns were dangerous and evil and if it weren't for them we wouldn't have near as much violent crime. Period. Gun control was good. I held on to that belief while ignoring the fact that many people I knew were owners of all manner of firearms. I had total faith in them and their sensibilities, yet I would deny them and others their rights with nary a thought.
It was my friends and their behavior that eventually broke through my locked up thinking, they didn't debate the issue with me they just lived their lives, did their annual deer or duck hunts and somehow managed to not be a threat to civilization as we know it. They were the gun owners you never hear about because nothing ever happens with them. They don't make the news.
Speaking of the news, I became aware that our guns laws were almost always reactive. Someone goes off the beam and shoots someone or a bunch of someones and we fashion a law that won't undo what happened and probably won't stop it from happening again, but what the hell...We gotta do it, right?
1968-The Gun Control Act was enacted in large part in reaction to the assassinations of MLK and RFK. The Act expanded on a law that had been passed during Prohibition, again a reaction this time to the rise of organized crime. It expanded license requirements, record keeping and restricted sales of handguns over state lines and sales to felons. It outlawed mail order sales of rifles and shotguns.
1972-With an expanded bunch of gun laws we needed a bigger bureaucracy to deal with them and the alcohol and tobacco tax division of the IRS became the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.On and on it went, something would happen or a situation would flair up and a law would appear. Always after, never useful.
I went back to the original source. "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." Simple wording that drives people crazy.
What do I think it means? Well the first part references a militia, a well regulated one. I believe that a militia is a non-professional army, a group of people who know their way around weapons and are available to be called up if it becomes necessary. The right to have guns is protected in order for there to be sufficient people to be well regulated, meaning proficient with weapons and not part of an official force. If you own guns presumably you know how to use and care for them, they aren't cheap after all. Our framers wanted an armed citizenry. It is a right.
I know that our Constitution is imperfect. We have attempted to perfect it in the past, I believe with success only when we expand on the rights we have been given. Once we take a right away there is no guarantee we will get it back and our rights are always in jeopardy. The 1st? Ask the people of Wisconsin. The 4th? The "war on drugs" has almost destroyed it. The 9th? What 9th?
I'm protective of our rights, each and every one of them. I guess I could say that I don't own a gun, but will fight to the death for your right to have one. Given the fact that I am not a gun owner, I will leave to those with much more knowledge the particulars of individual features and their ramifications. If someone weighs in on a semi or fully automatic weapon, I will listen to their arguments. But, remember I always weight my thinking with, "does this erode the basis of the right?" and react accordingly.
I support the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, have at me.
6:40 PM PT: I am so sorry that I wasn't home when this diary was published. I am embarrassed because I wanted to be able to talk with people.
Thanks to everyone, whether you agreed with me or not. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts. hu