Gun control actually expands our freedoms

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When it comes to debate and discussion around what should or shouldn’t be done with regard to gun control, the matter of whether restrictions reduce our freedoms as US citizens is frequently brought up, typically by the pro-gun faction. Through extremely reductionist thinking many of this group have come to believe that more restrictions imposed by the government, especially on their ability to own firearms (to protect us from a tyrannical government that can apparently only affect our lives negatively at gun point) is a dangerous concession of freedoms. It is understandable why, given the many unnecessarily ambiguous interpretations of the all mighty Second Amendment, many citizens come quickly to such conclusions. But I’m going to tell you today that, in fact, sensible gun restrictions can actually be freedom expanding.

 M16 ShadowLast month a man walked into a Charlottesville, Virginia grocery store with loaded semi-automatic AR-15 (the same controversial weapon used in the Aurora shootings). He was not charged by police because he owned the weapon legally and was not concealing it – the man broke no laws. While it’s clear the man was trying to make some point about his Second Amendment rights, it’s also a reminder that his “right” to carry his weapon around impedes on everyone else’s right to do go out into the public for simple things – like going to the grocery store – without fearing hot lead death from a stranger. How are we to differentiate a grumpy man bearing an assault weapon from a psycho bearing an assault weapon? I know that if I were to find myself in a situation like that in Charlottesville, I would be immediately assuming the worst, fearing for my and others’ lives.

Even before this incident, gun “rights” have been curbing Americans’ behavior out of fear. In the wake of last year’s horrific theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight opening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” ticket sales were notably impacted. I personally knew several people who, had the event not occurred, would have gone to the theaters opening night but feared for their lives. Though, rationally speaking, very few shootings actually occur in theaters and if anything, theaters would be safer than they’d ever been on the following night as a result of police presence, this was a common reaction and who’s to say that isn’t valid?

Without going into the many other aspects of the gun control debate, I believe it’s reasonable to say that gun “freedoms” are getting to the point where they are treading on much more important freedoms: my right to live and at the least, assemble publicly without fear. It’s coming to the point that poor GPS directions can even get you killed by a legal gun owner. And now in Arizona public school children are being put under the watchful eye of Steven Segal and armed convicted sex offenders.

When asked what the solution to gun violence and mass shootings are, LaPierre and his NRA supporters respond with a lackluster shrug and the highly illogical suggestion that the only way to be safe is to be packing heat at all times. Well, some Americans, including myself, either don’t want to own a tool of death or at the least do not want to carry one with them at all times. How is this suggestion freedom expanding? Ironically that’s how such notions are presented – as a way of maintaining our “freedom,” as manifested in firearms.

But let’s just stop for a moment and think about whether or not we want to live in a society where we have to fear every stranger we see, constantly feeling a need to maintain vigilance as an exercise in life-or-death, or worse yet, cowering in the home, to hide from others?

That is not a free society.

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25 thoughts on “Gun control actually expands our freedoms

  1. But let’s just stop for a moment and think about whether or not we want to live in a society where we have to fear every stranger we see, constantly feeling a need to maintain vigilance as an exercise in life-or-death, or worse yet, cowering in the home, to hide from others?

    That is not a free society.

    You just described Gun Free Zone Venezuela, #5 in the countries with the most murders in the world according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
    Good job there skippy!

  2. From the article, “… it’s also a reminder that his “right” to carry his weapon around impedes on everyone else’s right to do go out into the public for simple things – like going to the grocery store – without fearing hot lead death from a stranger.”

    I find it somewhat amusing how cavalier the anonymous author is with a right that is expressly written into the Constitution, while being indignant and adamant about a right that s/he just made up on the fly.

    If we truly do have a right never to feel uncomfortable, then I want this blogger arrested for annoying me!

    • Equally amusing is that you don’t mention the part of this amendment: well regulated – which was not made up on the fly! I believe in the WHOLE 2nd Amendment, it appears you don’t!

      • The term well regulated means trained as each male member of a household was to own one musket and two pistols or pay for a non slave to take his place, as I am sure you would do.

    • I remember hearing something about “unalienable rights” which include the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Those three things are difficult to exercise when the average American has to think twice before going to a public place, wondering if they’re going to be on the news next if they do. There are some pretty reasonable things that can be done that does not necessarily mean handing over all arms (something no one has proposed).

      The Constitution is often referred to as a “living document” by scholars — this is because it is made to be adaptable and modifiable to suit the future needs of a nation a group of men lacking any form of prescience wanted to last more than 30 years after its foundation.

      • No, they are only difficult for a small minority like you. The right to life implies the right to defend it. The right to defend it implies the right to use the best weapons out there. Those weapons are guns. You can’t pursue happiness if you are dead, or you have no free speech or other unalienable rights. There is no right to not be afraid, because that would lead to chaos. I’m afraid when I’m not armed. So who is right? Me, because my fear has nothing to with the actual right, which is keeping and bearing arms.

        And its only called a “living document” by those who want to change the meaning of words. Its not a living document, its a document defined by words that have meanings that don’t change. If you don’t like it, there’s a process called amendment.

      • If we should get to use “the best weapons out there” then why are there no citizens with nuclear weapons? Air craft carrier? An individual will never be able to fight off the largest military force ever created and anyone who thinks they could is probably too delusional to be owning a gun.

      • Ah, the old “nukes” strawman argument. Nobody is arguing for nukes. Because they are NOT the best weapons out there. They are completely offensive weapons that only cause vast destruction. I don’t believe the 2nd protects them. Look, Thomas Jefferson had a working canon on his front lawn. He wasn’t the only one to own one. So the Founders understood what arms meant.

        If you think 100 million gun owners couldn’t win a fight against 2 million police and soldiers, you are sorely mistaken. Especially when most of our military is overseas, and when half the cops and military already support us. And many gun owners and cops are veterans, who have seen how the Afghans and Iraqis are fighting and winning there. The government will not be able to use planes and tanks against us, because we are spread out, and intermingled with the populace. The soldiers will not have a supply line- the biggest factor in victory or defeat.

        Here’s a great article on this: http://blog.joehuffman.org/2013/02/07/boots-on-the-ground-2/

      • Honestly, it begins to sound like you’re almost hoping there will be some opportunities to use your weapons against a person, and our government. Your freedoms are already being taken away while your guns remain untouched. Contrary to your grandiose delusions, your guns won’t protect most forms of freedom. There is no threat from England or Spain, nor from a slave rebellion. Maybe you should try to make this society work instead of eagerly awaiting its demise.

      • Honestly, it begins to sound like you’re almost hoping there will be some opportunities to use your weapons against a person, and our government. Your freedoms are already being taken away while your guns remain untouched. Contrary to your grandiose delusions, your guns won’t protect most forms of freedom. There is no threat from England or Spain, nor from a slave rebellion. Maybe you should try to make this society work instead of eagerly awaiting its demise.

        Absolutely not. I fear what will happen if it comes to that. Just because I’ve thought about it and I’m prepared for it doesn’t mean I want it to happen. You are right, gun rights aren’t the only thing under attack. Free speech, privacy, search and seizure- many rights are under attack. But yes, my guns WILL protect most forms of freedom. They are the last resort. No, they are not under threat from England, or Spain, or a slave rebellion. They are under threat from our own government (just like in 1776 they were under threat from the Colonists own government).

        I am trying to make this society work. That’s why I am here- to stop violence before it happens. To educate and stop people like you who work with the government to take my rights- whether its guns or other rights.

  3. Your argument is no different than “I’m afraid of Mexicans we should make them illegal.”. Listen. Straight up your “side” is spewing out some really bad information. This essay of yours carries very little weight. Other than “I’m afraid of guns.” Well you are not the only one. Problem is there are just as many people that are not afraid of firearms. Maybe you should examine your fears a little more. Another problem is your essay is a example of demonizing through stereo types. It was legal to open carry before you were born and if all goes well it will still be a Right well after you have lived a long and good life. I have no problem with it. I’m also perfectly okay with you cowering in your home.

    Before you start to speak up for taking away real Rights. How about you use your power for good and we get Congress to force the executive branch to obey Article 1 Section 8. Or repeal the Patriot Act. Remove restrictions to the right to assemble or freedom of the press. Hell what about keeping the Internet with it’s good and bad free for future generations?

    I think you are like most people that are for gun control. You believe it when the government say restrictions on the Bill of Rights is for your own good. I’m also guessing you are not a Veteran of a Foreign War. Maybe you would have seen the abuses governments can get away with when their subjects can not fight back. Or the criminal gangs with guns that f#$k up every civilian they can as soon as the authority turns their back. I doubt you have ever faced down a man with evil in his heart. How can you come to the conclusion that the solution involves removing the tools of defense from those that would offer challenge? Real people died for your rights. My fellow soldiers left blood on foreign soil in the name of the Constitution. Not the president. Not the Congress. Not even for you. For the Constitution. It’s the only oath we take. What percentage of that blood are you willing to admit was for the Second Amendment? Next time you are going to thank a Vet. Why don’t you tell him how you piss on the constitution instead.

    • Sorry, but I don’t think little children need to be “giving their lives” for their nation en mass. Over 30 people a day die in the country because we think tools of death are toys to give to anyone who wants one.

      Unfortunately for you the Constitution is a fluid, changing document (there were only 10 to begin with, but even the Framers forgot things, like outlawing slavery). The Second Amendment was written in an age when there was no such thing as a standing army; as a young, very vulnerable nation, the Framers were concerned about making sure they could hold onto the Colonies from any foreign country trying to make a quick land grab. Pretty out dated issue at this point, sorry man.

      And you say you’ve seen the military in action — let me ask, how many armed individuals, in Afghanistan, Iraq have confronted US troops, and how many of those times resulted in troops pulling out. Yep, zero times.

      • We don’t either. However, they are not giving their lives in mass. Actually children killed by guns a day? About 2. The rest are mostly criminals. Might want to check your facts. And in fact, more kids are saved with guns than are lost.

      • The term is”threats, foreign and domestic”….try and use all the words even the ones that show you tilting a bit toward marx

      • No it is not. 10,000 people are murdered by guns a year. A substantial portion (85-95%) were either arrested or convicted of a felony. So only about 500-1500 were completely innocent. Yes, some other portion may also be innocent- let’s overestimate and say have. 5,000.

        There are about 1.5 million defensive use of guns per year. A substantial minority of those would have been deaths. Even at only 1% (most likely way underestimating it), that’s still 15,000 lives saved.

      • And the winner is…..PATRICK H!!!!!!!

        If guns are the problem and that implementing all these laws will solve that problem, why are places with the most strict gun laws the places with the most severe gun-involved crimes happening at the highest rates, and why are the places that have the least restrictive policies the ones that have the lowest rates? Also, don’t try the “fewer laws will inherently mean fewer crimes” argument. That was the reason I threw the phrase “severe gun-involved crimes” in there instead of just “gun crimes.” A murder is illegal whether it is done by using a gun to shoot someone or using an old, crusty pair of underwear to strangle them. Why do the places that have the strict laws suffer the worst crime?

        The simple answer is because guns DO NOT cause crime. As much as you would like to think that is the case, it isn’t. The real truth is that guns are a tool that play a big role in keeping you safe. When you take away guns, you take away the RIGHT of those people to protect themselves. YOU are the one taking away their right to life. That doesn’t even take into account the people who RELY on guns to provide food for their family. Would you like to make them starve, too?

        While I agree that the tragedies that took place in Aurora and Newtown are awful, they were also very avoidable. Why did Mr. Holmes drive past two other theaters which were not gun-free zones on his way to the theater the massacre took place at? While none of us can say for certain, I have a strong hunch that it was because he knew the people there were most likely unarmed and unable to put up a fight. We CAN say this was the case with Mr. Lanza. This is something you CANNOT argue. He even wrote that he was choosing the school because he knew it was a place where he would encounter little or no resistance. If he knew he would be killed nearly instantly, he would not have gone there. He MAY not have done what he did at all, but we can never really be sure of that. While I admit this may not have prevented a shooting in general, it greatly reduces the likelihood that all those people at the school be killed as they were. In a way, the school being a gun free zone is responsible for all those lives being lost. Let that sink in for a moment while you think about wanting to make everywhere be gun free zones.

        You probably claim to be “anti-gun” when someone asks you, but I doubt you are. If you are, what do you do when a crime occurs? Do you just sit and twiddle your thumbs, or do you call the police? If you call the police, you are not anti-gun, because you are calling someone with a gun to help you. In that case, you are just against the freedom of private gun ownership. If you are against freedoms, you are anti-American.

        Now, I know, you probably didn’t like when I said guns do not cause crime. You probably thought “but guns KILL people!” Gun’s don’t kill people. A person uses a gun as a tool to kill someone, just as a carpenter uses a hammer to drive a nail into a board. If the carpenter wanted, he could easily bash someone’s brain into the consistency of mashed potatoes. At the end of the day, if a carpenter chose to do that, I bet you would say “a man was killed by a crazed man who decided to smash someone’s skull in” as opposed to “a man was killed by a hammer.” We don’t take away hammers from everyone just because a carpenter goes nuts with it and kills someone. Ironically more people in America are killed per year by hammers, baseball bats, and other such objects than all rifles put together.

        If anyone wanted to ban anything to help stop pointless deaths, they need to ban alcohol. Whoa…I just opened a big can of worms there, didn’t I? I know I did. I actually meant to. If we need to ban guns, we need to ban alcohol first. Oh, it didn’t work and it made things worse? Gee, not like that could possibly happen with guns. Just look at Chicago(murder capital of the US) for proof of this. Oh, you shouldn’t have to suffer because of the mistakes of a few since you don’t hurt anyone when you drink? Same applies to all the lawful gun owners who would get screwed even further just because a few crackpots did the wrong thing. Oh, but you should have to freedom to drink what you want since this is America? Gee, not like you can apply the exact same principle to what I want to own.

  4. I always wonder why in a world where the worst atrocities in history were caused by governments just like ours people are so ready to give up their rights and hand all power over to them? All these atrocities begin with gun control. If you don’t like guns it’s your right to choose not to have them. Don’t have the government use their guns to deny me the right to defend myself and my family.

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