The Politics of Guns and Fun
My earlier post discusses the constitutional basis for gun rights. The important thing to remember about that is that the Second Amendment responded to a clear, historical need.
In fact, I think one can make the same argument about all of the Bill of Rights. A democratic society needs free speech and freedom of religion. Members of a democratic society need the protections of the other amendments to shelter us from governments that may go astray in their desire to protect society at the expense of individual rights.
But, what we have today with the 2nd Amendment is the idea that it is about what people “want.” People want military style rifles; they want high capacity magazines; they want to carry concealed handguns; they want open carry of handguns.
No one other than a soldier or a member of law enforcement needs a military style rifle with a high-capacity magazine. Look thru the gun magazines for lists of the best rifles for hunting. What you see are hunting rifles and shotguns developed to help hunters. Even home defense gurus say that you are really better off with a shotgun.
Military-style rifles like the AR-15 or a Sig Sauer MCX, like that used in Orlando are built with one purpose—to spread death and destruction as widely and quickly as possible.
Mother Jones recently noted: “Sig Sauer bills the MCX as ‘an innovative weapon system built around a battle-proven core.’ The company says it ‘stands as the first rifle to be silenced from the ground up. It also accepts a broad array of accessories, enabling you to build a complete weapon system for any scenario or environment.’ It has a military-spec trigger and a magazine capacity of 30 rounds. According to the book Guns of Special Forces 2001-2015, the MCX is known in military circles as the ‘Black Mamba’ and was developed at the request of the US Army’s special operations forces.”
And, often these semi-automatic rifles can be relatively easily converted to much more rapid-fire. The videos on Slate from a 2013 article by Justin Peters that show what a “legal” conversion can do to an AR-15’s rate of fire. It goes to maybe 100 rounds per minute. Why? As the videos embedded in the article demonstrate, it’s great fun for the shooters. For most of us, it is simply scary as hell.
The recent SCOTUS decision to decline ruling on a challenge to Connecticut’s “assault weapons” ban is a small step in the direction of differentiating a right from a want. The Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling that citizens have no right to concealed carry is another step in that direction. A simple desire to carry concealed doesn’t rise to the level of a constitutional right. Such rulings remind us of the true origins of the 2nd Amendment.
Conservative often talk about an originalist position on constitutional issues. I can think of nothing more in line with that style of interpretation than to bring the Second Amendment back into what it originally was—a need for an armed militia to protect the nation and the population.
Heller may live on, but it can be viewed in the future as simply a modern statement of the common law right to protect your home, not a blanket under which you can hide a Bushmaster or a 100 round clip for your Glock pistol (yes, they have those for sale on the Internet).
But, gun nuts fear not, where the US Constitution “fails” you. Most state legislatures fulfill your every wish.
“TOPEKA Kansans soon can carry concealed weapons without permits or training under a bill signed by Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday.
The new law, which kicks in July 1, makes Kansas the sixth state to allow “constitutional carry.” It will allow Kansans 21 and older to carry concealed firearms regardless of whether they have obtained a permit.