Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Dumb Control Debate (Part 1)

If we're going to talk about gun control in any sort of rational manner, we're going to need to get a handle on dumb. Because, boy oh boy, has this national conversation gone right off the rails. Thing is, I don't think any of the arguments are anything new, but since we haven't really gotten into this issue since the 90's, we haven't really had to have this "conversation" over social media.

Now I'm not big on false equivalency - one "side" of this debate has really locked down the crazy, after all - but I have to call out all comers. Especially when it comes from my "side." I'm going to start with the low hanging fruit and go after the left. Don't worry this will only take a minute.

I can't believe that liberals have a chance to actually get some real changes made to the gun culture of the United States, and they're blowing it by being dumb.

Have y'all ever heard of the Heller decision? That's the Supreme Court's latest take on national gun control. I know y'all don't like Heller because you read some blog on Daily Kos or comment on Huffington Post that y'all aren't supposed to like Heller. Because according to some dumb bloggers and commenters, Heller was a pro-gun rights decision by the right wing of the Supreme Court. Which part of it was, but not in the way you think it was. If you actually took the time to read the decision, you might have realized that.

Don't have time to read it? Luckily, the national understanding of that decision as it pertains to firearms law and the Constitution can be stated pretty succinctly.

Basically, you're not going to be able to outlaw firearms. The Constitution doesn't allow it. Not only that, but any legislative changes you attempt to outlaw firearms aren't going to work because enough people disagree with you about guns, and we live in a representative republic where we make group decisions. No legislature, state or federal, is going to do that. No executive, be it a President or governor, is going to sign that into law. And even if any of them do, the judiciary up to the Supreme Court is going to strike down that law for being unconstitutional. Because the Constitution doesn't allow it. Sounds pretty simple to me.

I know that stings to hear that. It kinda reinforces everything you've read on the internet about the Heller decision. But you need to hear that. Again and again. So you can stop being dumb about gun control.

Because according to the Heller decision, and this is going to piss off everyone on the right-wing, the Constitution does allow significant regulation of firearms through both the Federal and state governments.

Wait. What? I'll run that by you again.

According to the Heller decision, the Constitution does allow significant regulation of firearms through both the Federal and state governments.

I know, right? It gets better:

Antonin Scalia is one of the most right wing reactionaries ever to warm the Supreme Court bench, and he came up with no less than nine examples of Federal or state regulation of firearms that pass Constitutional muster. Then he said there are plenty more things you could add to the list that he couldn't think of right then. Additional SCOTUS decisions clarified that the state can, in fact, enact similar regulations.

And one of those examples Scalia himself cited as perfectly OK with the Big Document is "conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms." I'm no Constitutional scholar, but I think that means Antonin Scalia handed you some pre-packaged, ready-made language that will allow the gun show loophole to be slammed shut by the Federal and state governments.

You could probably put background checks and waiting periods into that category, come to think of it. As a matter of fact, as soon as you get past your hang ups about making all guns illegal, there's a lot of rules the Constitution allows the governments to enforce, when it comes to guns. Isn't the Second Amendment great?

And something tells me "Conditions and Qualifications on the Commercial Sale of Arms" will look just fine on a t-shirt, and prove a point much, much more important that the tired trope "guns kill people." That's because the point you're trying to make, that the United States needs reasonable regulation of firearms, has already been made for you by Antonin Scalia, of all people, in a decision called District of Columbia vs. Heller.

Stop being dumb. Stop being mad that the Constitution allows people to own guns. Start focusing on the iron clad fact that the Constitution absolutely allows for Federal and state regulation of firearms, especially "conditions and qualification on the commercial sale of arms." And who knows, you might just find that a majority of folks agree with you when you get there. I support the Second Amendment, and I think it is pretty important to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

So remember Heller whenever your right-wing family and friends bring up Hitler and Stalin, or how you don't know the difference between an AK-47 and a Daisy BB gun, or something about their cold dead hands. You won't be the one looking dumb after that.


1 comment:

Derek Bridges said...

Great piece, Pat. Thanks.