Thursday, July 08, 2010

Shooting Irons

DADvocate points us to a DailyKos examination of why liberals should embrace the 2nd Amendment.

I completely agree. And if you'd like to argue the historical pedigree of firearms ownership as a vital civil right, I will dare you to deconstruct a political consensus acheivable by both Clarence Thomas and Malcolm X. Let me give you a clue, it involves how the 2nd Amendment works with the 14th.

Though I find much of the liberal sentiment against the 2nd Amendment to be both assumed and dated. A lot of liberals and Democrats gave up the nationwide push to unreasonably restrict firearms some time ago, if they ever really held such views in the first place.

I think most of the political hay that is made over gun ownership is branding and narrative and fund-raising over actual policy. And even that has become mostly one sided.

From what I can tell, most of our national policy disagreements hinge on the minutia of firearms regulation and red tape. I have zero problem with many gun-ownership "restrictions": felons and mentally infirm individuals should have limited access, and I have no problem whatsoever with background checks. Hell, I can't do volunteer work without a background check!

Furthermore, I have zero problem on assault-weapons and machine-gun bans, or restricting ownership of the same to certified collectors and properly trained individuals. Speaking of certifications, I would have no problem with a licensing structure for firearms ownership. If I have to get a driver's license before I can drive, I would be OK with a gun-owner's license to own a gun.

As a matter of fact, I'd be more comfortable with that, because verification would be easier when dealing with authorities. I can guarantee you that right now, if I were to be stopped for a speeding ticket by any Southern State Patrol, and I had a gun in my car, I'm getting arrested. It wouldn't matter that I'm the "liberal" and the arresting officer would likely be the "conservative," I don't look like I'm going hunting for deer, so I would end up in cuffs until one of my lawyers made some calls.

God help me if I'm wearing a red bandana at the time of the stop.

And that leads us to the "whys" behind the Washington and Chicago handgun "bans." Bad policy knows no party, and are kept in continuance by both due to convenience. Just like test scoring in current education policy and the criminalization of marijuana in drug policy, the criminalization of handguns in DC and Chicago is a way for elected officials to appear to be doing something while the situation they are responsible for remains a disaster. Arguments over handgun policy keep the electorate from wondering why their neighborhoods remain crime ridden centers for the concentration of poverty. Police have a reason to arrest anyone with the temerity to defend themselves from assailants on the streets, and that reason can easily be enforced selectively.

Finally, I look at the direct line between Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion and the fact that DC and Chicago have large minority populations under the jurisdiction of handgun bans. In the strange land of doublespeak, these so-called "liberal" policies have ended up making at-risk populations less able to defend themselves, their families and their property.

The 2nd Amendment is true policy based in the traditions of liberalism and the enlightenment. On the other hand, legal weakening of at-risk populations is a continuation of disenfranchisement more consistent with the worst elements of an oppresive and feudal past.



DADvocate said...

One reason I can sit in my isolated country home with little worry of being robbed or a home invasion robbery is that it is generally assumed that country folks have a gun or 2, or 3 as is my case. No pistols, two rifles and a shotgun.

You just don't want to take the chance of robbing a house if you think there's a chance you'll leave on a stretcher with a sheet over your face.

Otherwise, I support the second amendment because it's one of our rights, like it or not. While we may pretend we might possibly need them in case the next revolution comes, I doubt it. I think the next revolution will be less bloody than the last.

Maitri said...

I'm a midwestern liberal who strongly supports the second amendment. We have the right to protect ourselves from ANY invasion. There are teenagers in my neck of the woods who know how to handle and care for a shotgun and rifle better than most.

But, I think it's also time for those not on the left to embrace the true spirit this amendment. Carrying guns into bars and churches, incomplete background checks not punished by law and extremely lax restrictions only devalues gun ownership.

The gun, in my mind, is a hunting and protection device first and foremost, not a badge of honor or a political weapon. The real problem is that people on both sides in charge of making the laws on this don't know this. Or do, which is scarier.