Attention NRA

Attention National Rifle Association:
I believe in the Second Amendment. I have studied history and I know that when a government wants to turn it’s citizens into subjects, the first thing they do is deny access to weaponry. The founding fathers made this amendment a part of our constitution as a way to keep constant, subtle pressure on government to maintain the freedoms they envisioned for us all.

But the NRA has lost it’s way. NRA pressure against any and all forms of firearm limitations has skewed our society towards daily violence and mayhem.

These episodes of mass killings in public places are no longer sporadic. They are no longer infrequent and no longer tolerable. I call on the NRA to recognize that if these episodes continue the upswell of emotional demands to ‘do something’ could bring about the demise of the Second Amendment itself. That is not desirable; for you, NRA, or for America. You see, I do believe in history and I do believe in the Second Amendment. But something’s gotta give before the whole is torn asunder.

Many of the individuals who have acted out and killed the innocent in large numbers have shown signs of mental illness or emotional instability. Enacting measures to prevent these instances of violence will be difficult. We are a nation devoted to freedom, devoted to the idea that every adult has rights that should not and cannot be taken away from them. No matter what.

It will be a struggle to craft a means of detecting varying levels of mental breakdown that can cause a person to commit mass violence. It will be a tough discussion. Where does bluster and braggadocio leave off and deranged thoughts and intent begin?? We are not now allowed to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, so there is a precedent on limits on freedom of speech. But at what point do we get a warrant to search the home of and take firearms away from a vocal complainer who speaks rashly? Do we really want to?

If we take access to firearms away from an individual being treated for depression, for instance, what happens when that person is deemed cured? Do they get their gun back? Do they have a stigma on their record everywhere they go, a Scarlet Letter of mental illness? That cannot possibly be fair. Almost 10% of Americans take anti-depressants. And that is only one form of issues that afflict us. I don’t know how we can do this without trampling badly on many people’s rights.

But we have to start a discussion now. We have to have a reasonable discussion with reasonable conclusions and not have that discussion truncated by unreasonable NRA threats to put campaign dollars against any elected official who participates. The NRA must cease throwing everything they have at every single attempt to bring rationality to gun purchases. At the very least, we need background checks at gun shows. Find a way, NRA. Find a way to be rational yourselves and find a way to protect America’s children from the irrational. Find a way, NRA. Find a way to talk. Find a way, or watch the Second Amendment die.

Comments

Beautifullly said, Vicki

I don't expect it will land anywhere except on deaf NRA ears, but still, it's a conversation that needs to be started and pushed and pushed and pushed. Thank you for writing this.

I've tried to explain this:

Find a way, or watch the Second Amendment die.

To numerous friends/acquaintances/online persons who are gun enthusiasts, but their anti-government paranoia keeps them from facing an undeniable fact: If they (and the NRA) continue to take a no-compromise stance on gun control, where any type of restriction is considered to be some kind of slippery slope or Socialist conspiracy, the majority of our population will eventually demand that draconian steps be taken.

There's common sense, and then there's absolutism. I defy any of these folks to claim their position is closer to the former than the latter.

I am for gun control

And a good place to start is with those arrested each day on our streets and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. Then you read several days later where they are arrested again for the same charge. I will believe we are serious about gun control when we start enforcing the laws already on the books. Check out your country records and see for yourself.

I like almost all of your post except for one small bit ...

when a government wants to turn it’s citizens into subjects, the first thing they do is deny access to weaponry.

Not so. The first thing a domineerng government will do is control access to information. On the flip side, unarmed populations have defeated totalitarian governments, most recently in the Arab Spring revolutions.

Admittedly, that is secondary to your premise, and I wholeheartedly endorse that premise.

Sowing the wind, and reaping the whirlwind

1. Thirty or so years ago, we set out on a significant course change in the treatment of mental illness, in effect telling those with debilitating mental diseases, and the community, that "you're on your own."

2. Teachers and public schools have been under siege from the far right, again for decades. From outright animosity directed at teachers by the right-wing talk/entertainment industry, to again slashing of budgets, increasing class sizes, and general demonization of teachers. There have been calls for some that classroom teachers should be armed, a simply astounding and horrifying thought.

3. Until this weekend, I disagreed vehemently with Mike Huckabee, and knew him to be a conservative. But I never saw him as part of the lunatic fringe, until he suggested this weekend that the Connecticut tragedy was because we have "taken God out of schools." As a Christian myself, I cannot understand the theology of a so-called Christian clergyman that suggests anything but an omnipresent and omnipotent deity.

4. I reject the notion that now is not the time to "inject politics" into the discussion. If not now, when? More than 80 people die EVERY DAY in this country as a result of firearms, as many as die in vehicle crashes. That 20 first-graders die in one day in one place is without debate tragic, but the deaths of one or two or three Americans every hour in is no less tragic.

5. Duck hunters are limited to three rounds in their shotguns. Why do we allow rapid fire semiautomatic weapons with 10,20,50 round magazines? The standard magazine for the M4 (or .225 Bushmaster) is 30 rounds - why do we allow people to purchase these and keep them in their homes? Do we care more about waterfowl than we do kids?

6. Some have suggested increasing physical security at schools. How much money would such an effort take away from teaching kids?

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Just watched the memorial service

No doubt the "Obama is a black Muslim Kenyan socialist usurper" crowd will denounce his using "the children" as emotional leverage to take away everyone's guns.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Suggest we drop the phrase 'gun control.'

The word control implies government totally limiting access to firearms and that strikes fear in the heart of conservatives. I suspect what we all really want is gun security; the knowledge that we can conduct our business in the public arena secure in the knowledge that gunfire will not break out at any second, making us and our loved ones victims of some else's misdirected rage.

If gun security does not strike you as potentially having broader appeal towards attaining that goal, what phrases can you suggest?

Implications and meanings

For most people, gun control does NOT imply a total ban. And very few people suggest anything of the sort, despite the hyperbole from the right-wing entertainment complex.

If we can limit a duck hunter in a blind to 3 shells in a shotgun magazine, legally, then why can't we limit any weapon, whether it's a Sig Sauer or Glock or Bushmaster .223, to 6 rounds? Why can't we require, as a matter of law, registration with local law enforcement of all firearms, with annual registration renewal, just as we do with automobiles? And why can't we require as part of that registration an annual tax, and liability insurance? You want to have a firearm, pay an annual registration fee to offset some of the costs of law enforcement in investigating firearm homicides, suicides, and accidents.

Call it gun control, call it gun security, call it firearms safety, put a feather in its cap and call it macaroni, the right wing gun nuts will pounce on whatever phrase you come up with as an excuse to take all their guns away from them.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Joe Scarborough's monologue

Morning Joe on MSNBC this morning.

Never been a fan of his, but in this video he in effect renounces his own "A" rating by the NRA. His is a sensible, rational input to the discussion we need.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

The reason for the 2nd amendment

"The founding fathers made this amendment a part of our constitution as a way to keep constant, subtle pressure on government to maintain the freedoms they envisioned for us all."

No. The 2nd amendment grew out of the necessity to have a well-regulated militia, instead of a standing army.

Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution lays that out clearly, giving the Congress the power and authority....

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

One person's "constant subtle pressure" is another person's "insurrection."

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

The Intent of the Second Amendment

I believe that the intellectual power of the individuals who wrote the US Constitution was sufficient to carry great meaning with few words. They realized that future generations would be arguing over their intent. As for the "intent" of the Second Amendment, I think that Vicki is correct. Thomas Jefferson was very clear in his concerns for the evolution of oligarchies and tyranical government. Guns are a form of "balance" of power and an armed citizenry was not only a means of detering foreign aggression but it was also a means of preventing uncontested power.

This being said, what we have before us today is an NRA which offers not a modicum of common sense. I own a car, I must have insurance, I must have liability insurance, I must have a license, and I must have a title to the automobile. Perhaps one should assume the logic of the NRA. In this case, my need for insurance, for a title, for a license is obviously Unconstitutional. The Founding Fathers did not specifically provide commentary on a "horseless carriage" therefore, there are no provisions in the constitution to either regulate the sale of, the ownership of or the rules of operation for said means of transportation.

So I fully expect that the NRA leadership would fully agree with my positions:

1. A have the right to have a neutron bomb in my baseline. One never knows when a gang of flesh-eating zombies might attempt to deprive me of my life and property. Current weaponry tends to be inadequate in such circumstances.

2. There is absolutely no constitutional imperative that I am required to have a driver's license, automobile insurance, an automobile registration, nor for that matter should I have to stop at red lights, drive on the right side of the road or break for individuals in a cross walk. None of these rules are enumerated in the US Constitution. Therefore, the Founding Fathers intended no sure interference with my daily life.

Thomas Jefferson, or the Constitution?

So when Jefferson took the oath of office as President, do you think he simply ignored the part that gave the Congress the authority to suppress insurrection?

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Tyranny - NRA over everyone

There are over 330 million people in the US. 4 million are NRA members, on the order of 1.21%, some even smaller fraction of whom are the berserkers--who are terrorizing the remainder of the population. Yes, these people are terrorists, and should be penalized and shamed for it. There is no reason for not having gun control in extremis, save for the fear of these felons. If these morons did not have corporate backing, they would shrink. Most are white, 25-60 and Republican. My solutions, neutralize them, however.

wafranklin