The Distance Between a Right and a Fetish
ThinkProgress has this:
One of the principal weapons used by James Eagan Holmes in the horrific Dark Knight Rises shooting would have been subject to a series of sharp restrictions under the now-expired federal Assault Weapons ban. The AR-15 rife carried by Holmes, a civilian semi-automatic version of the military M-16, would have been defined as a “semiautomatic assault weapon” under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. If the law was still in force, semiautomatic assault weapons would have been outright banned…
I would like any schmuck who thinks it necessary to have such features as semi-automatic firing along with high-capacity magazines for “home defense” or “hunting” to go to each of the victims’ families and explain exactly why their loved ones had to die to protect the “fundamental right” for features such as those. Not that anyone should go bother those people literally, of course. But just compose, in your head, exactly how you would explain it. Then switch roles and see how you might think it would sound from the other end.
Sorry, but I just believe that reasonable limitations for public safety are not only necessary, but that striking them down or keeping them out of legislation in the first place is criminally irresponsible. I support the individual right to keep and bear arms, but not without the same type of limitations covering other rights: exceptions and requirements to protect the public safety. The old “your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins” rule is exercised everywhere else, but with guns there is some magical exception. Buying more than one gun a month, or more than two a year, for that matter, is not necessary to exercise your right to be armed. Buying semi-automatic rifles with 100-round magazines is not necessary to exercise your right to protect your home or to go hunting. Training, licensing, and registration would no more limit the right to keep and bear arms than it does the freedom to drive an automobile–and look at how many people drive. Just to name a few.
These and other reasonable restrictions would save lives. They would hamper criminals, and stop more than a few. And they would not stop any law-abiding citizen from arming themselves reasonably for home defense, hunting, or any other legitimate use for a firearm.
You want the right, you take on the responsibilities. This is human lives being taken, not to help protect your home, but to let people who get their jollies from extreme weaponry get their rocks off, and for companies who make and sell these weapons to rake in the profits. Forgive me, but this royally pisses me off. The debate on responsible and reasonable gun control has been all but ceded to the far right. This is simply part of what happens as a result.
In an asinine move, the gun-rights lobbies are even suggesting that we wait several weeks before discussing the gun control question publicly:
“When something like this happens, the anti-gun groups jump on this right away, immediately, and make all sorts of claims and statements,” said Tom King, president of the state Rifle and Pistol Association.
“This is a time for finding out what really happened and healing and dealing with this psychologically. The time for debate can come in two weeks, three weeks.”
Oh, thank you, Mr. King, for so kindly considering my psychological state. Ironic that they approve of a cooling-off period for talking, isn’t it? Not ironic at all, of course–they want people to forget about that reason why responsible gun control should exist. Now, however, is the perfect time to discuss the issue. And if the facts are not fully known regarding the current tragedy, we’ll do just fine reliving the many gun massacres from recent years.
Oh, and for any genius who might suggest that an armed audience would have been the right answer, just consider two things: the specter of dozens of panicking people firing away within a packed crowd in the darkness, and the fact that the killer was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Yeah, that would have turned out real well. Not to mention the fact that, even under normal conditions, I don’t like the idea that the asshole sitting right behind me kicking my seat from behind for two hours is also carrying a firearm.
For those who believe that after-the-fact punitive laws are sufficient enough for public safety, I think you have some funerals to attend. Not just soon, but continuously.
And one more thing: the first imbecile to bring up the “gun ban” straw man, either purposefully or because they didn’t read beyond the first few paragraphs, gets a healthy dose of richly-deserved invective. I promise.