I have heard — I think — all of the major arguments out there to enact gun control. I’d be willing to wager that I’ve heard most of the uncommon ones, too.
But last week, I was slapped with one by a dear friend that left my head spinning.
My friend, who I won’t name, finally came around to talking firearms with me after a couple of years of friendship. I wish they hadn’t, because the anti-gun argument made was so strange I couldn’t respond at the time; I was completely speechless.
Keep in mind, this is a paraphrase:
“I understand that the Constitution guarantees your rights to guns, and I respect that. However, you have to keep in mind that I am uncomfortable around guns, which is an expression of free speech and thought, protected under the First Amendment, which trumps your right to firearms under the Second Amendment. That’s why the Second Amendment comes after the first.”
That’s why the Second Amendment comes after the First. That part isn’t paraphrase; that’s exactly what this person said.
Freedom of speech, press, and assembly does not mean freedom to impose feelings on others so you’re less anxious.
This person is a good friend of mine, married to a career military person, and child to a veteran as well. In all other respects, I’d call them smart, capable, and all-around good folks.
So where in the hell is the disconnect?
The fact of the matter is, I’m not entirely sure. There are a few likely culprits: media influencers that are wildly misinformed, authority figures that are wildly misinformed, experiences that have given someone a skewed perspective, or media and authority figures with malevolent intent.
Let’s clarify some, here. I’m not talking solely about, in the vernacular of Limbaugh, the mainstream media. I’m talking about every movie, TV show, blog post, and viral video born of ignorance and damned to irresponsible propagation as well.
It’s easier to play on fear and point to an enemy than it is to accept that the world is a broken place. So when someone is told to make a video explaining a tragic shooting, nine times out of ten they’re going to point to the tool used and the people known to be associated with that tool: firearms and firearms owners.
After a decade or three of videos, stories, and lengthy social media posts all pointing to the same group of people, the recipient of all this media is going to be affected. That’s an inevitability.
Authority figures aren’t immune to change brought on by bombardment, either, which brings me to my next theory:
Despite what it may seem, the vast majority of authority figures in this country that are anti-gun are so not out of the hope that they someday will run an empire over an unarmed populace, but because they’re human beings, and human beings fail.
Would it be nice if politicians researched gun violence facts before attempting to legislate it? Yes. Are they responsible to do so? Yes. Do they? Hardly, which takes us to the heart of the thing:
Anti-Second Amendment ideology in the United States is one born of self-interest, not malice.
There are exceptions to this, of course, but I can’t go down the conspiracy rabbit hole with you and retain anyone’s interest, so I’ll just keep it to the majority of folks.
When I mean that anti-gunner philosophy is a selfish one, I don’t even necessarily mean that everyone around you is selfish. They probably are, but that’s not the point.
Think about the reporter looking for the easiest culprit to a story. Look to the legislator trying to accumulate the most knowledge, the fastest and the most convenient way possible. It’s just laziness, folks.
As armed citizens — as just plain citizens — it is our responsibility to ensure that we avoid that easy path in all modes of civic and societal thought.
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