RKBA is a DKos group of second amendment supporters who also have progressive and liberal values. We don't think that being a liberal means one has to be anti-gun. Some of us are extreme in our second amendment views (no licensing, no restrictions on small arms) and some of us are more moderate (licensing, restrictions on small arms.) Moderate or extreme, we hold one common belief: more gun control equals lost elections. We don't want a repeat of 1994. We are an inclusive group: if you see the Second Amendment as safeguarding our right to keep and bear arms individually, then come join us in our conversation. If you are against the right to keep and bear arms, come join our conversation. We look forward to seeing you, as long as you engage in a civil discussion.RKBA stands for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
So this is a personal diary about some recent experiences I have had around the right to keep and bear arms. I'd like to talk about some of my reasons why I believe in the RKBA and what I have done to secure those rights for myself.
As an introduction, let me tell you a little about me. I am a 33 year old woman who works in the IT industry as a software engineer. A spinster, an independent, which to me means the same the thing as progressive. I always thought progress means the best ideas are allowed to come forward, and most of the time, the best ideas have no political or ideological label attached to them. To date, I believe the Democratic party is our only hope to achieve true progress, but I will always listen to anyone who has a good idea - no matter how unpopular because that's progress.
After 11 months of unemployment and caring for an elderly mother sick with a rare cancer, I landed a job in Massachusetts, and found myself needing to move back there, because I am tired of the hero commutes which I did for years. IMO, they are a BIG waste. I understand why people do them, but my time and money have become more valuable and needed than ever, so I did move back. Luckily for me my mother was able to get some abilities back, and I am able to move on with my life, mostly.
After watching the economy implode since Dubya took office, I really began to worry about the state of the nation. I consider myself to be an 'educated' person. I know 20th century history. I know what happened in Germany, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Nigeria, Serbia, Lebanon, and many other countries that have gone through violent uprisings, brought on by religious hatred, embezzlement, financial mismanagement, resource depletion, and brutal military dictatorships. I also know the history of my own country. I know it was colonists, some enlisted, some not, 'Solder farmers' who won our freedom from an oppressive military regime. We used violence (as a last resort, I would like to think) to gain the freedom we have today.
I have also witnessed the rampant corruption and abdication of our voter appointed government. And largely speaking, I am not talking about the current president, or any other president for that matter. (The federal reserve deserves mentioning, but in another diary.) I am talking about what has happened to our Congress and Senate. Through the influence of lobbying and horse trading, they have allowed America to become hollowed out economically. The 'masters of the universe' on Wall Street who orchestrated the greatest transfer of wealth ever - well, we should not be surprised they wanted to do that. We should be BLOODY PISSED the people we sent to Washington allowed it. We are no longer a strong nation, and they have placed the entire future of the United States at severe risk. There are now over 40 million people on food stamps. Here in Massachusetts, last I was told, the waiting list for public housing is over 8 years. The US is the #1 jailer in the world. The national debt is over 13 trillion dollars. Many states are bankrupt or insolvent.
What is my point? The point is the US is getting more and more unstable. As people become more and more unable to provide for themselves, they become more and more desperate. Morality becomes very provisional if you have hungry kids who are cold. The Nazi's came to power in such a way, when Germany's money was worth nothing, and the Jews were a convenient scapegoat. If you look at 'high crime' areas of anywhere in the US, you always find concentrated levels of multi-generational poverty.
I don't want to be a victim of someone else's desperation or sociopathy. I want to be able to provide for myself as much as possible and still have community. That to me is an American attitude. We are not helpless people and we are not victims - if we can help it.
So I decided that I would exercise my right to keep and bear arms.
Each state has their own requirements for gun ownership and licensing. In New Hampshire, where I am originally from, the laws are not strict, in my opinion. In Massachusetts they are.
A few weeks ago, I took my basic firearm safety course from a qualified instructor here in Massachusetts. This is required by law, and I have to say, I am very glad that I did. While having fired several rifles in my time, I knew very little about handguns. The instructor was very experienced and treated everyone in the class with respect, and every question was answered with integrity. I never felt intimidated. It helped me think about the privilege and the great responsibilities that come with gun ownership and if I really wanted to take this all the way. The thought of a gun accident makes me sick to my stomach.
Afterward, the instructor even went with me to a local security company, so I could pick out a security safe for the handgun I want to purchase.
The second requirement in Massachusetts is a review by the licensing board. They don't just let anyone own a gun. Felons cannot own guns. People who have been hospitalized for mental illnesses cannot own guns. People with restraining orders....you get the point.
I was also finger printed, photographed, and my physical description taken. I would say it was almost like being arrested, but I have never been arrested before. I wasn't particularly keen on this step. I know those records are being sent to DHS. I don't like the idea that DHS can have this information about me when I have never been convicted or even arrested. But that's how it is. Mass requires finger prints, and law enforcement is required to share with the FBI, ATF, CIA, and NSA. I think it's the first step towards confiscation - which is completely unconstitutional, but it might happen in a 'national emergency', when the constitution doesn't seem to matter. Remember Hurricane Katrina right? The national guard confiscated guns. Blackwater / XE rolled through the streets. Mercenaries working in America - and they didn't even have a contract to do so.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I think of guns in the same way I think about farming. They are both part of our enduring heritage as Americans. Guns are tools which we can use. A police officer uses his/hers always to defend life. The officers life or a civilian's life. We can and should do the same. We should not have to rely the government to protect us in all situations, because they can't. We should have police, we should have the courts of law to settle our disputes and prosecute offenders. We should have a military. But we also need to be prepared to do it for ourselves when it is needed. And as we enter a new economic reality, those government resources will become more and more strained as budgets shrink. Owning a firearm is about standing up for yourself.
You can also use them to feed your family with.
I am going to offer up a couple of plugs.
My firearm safety instructor is Michael Burchman, his website is http://www.homegunsafety.com/. I highly recommend him.
Eastern Security Safes are wonderful resource for anyone looking to buy a safe for the home or business, I was very satisfied with my purchase there.
This is the Captain, signing off.