Recently, I was over on Facebook and a friend posted some badge about how fucked up this country is in that we seem to just be sort of over worrying about school shootings. A friend of hers responded with something along the lines, "Well, what do you want to do about it aside from making guns illegal because I have a Constitutional right to own one."
Foolishly, I took the bait and pointed out that it wasn't that long ago that I (or, actually, my husband) had a constitutional right to own a person. The reason the US Constitution has stuck around so long is precisely because it can be amended. The structure of society has changed a skosh since 1783. As has our governing doctrine.
But this was the wrong tactic to take because it made it too easy to pivot to "just because I like my gun doesn't mean I like slavery." This is, of course, not hardly the point.
But it got me to thinking - I was going to go the "why do you think that every argument for gun control is an argument for illegal guns?" route. But it seems that every argument for gun control begins with this sort of wimpy, sensitive qualifier of "I'm not saying we should make guns illegal! Shoot, I like guns! I'm a hunter! Guns are awesome.. but maybe some gun control wouldn't be the worst thing."
And it doesn't matter. Because the NRA...
Quick side note on what I believe to be the real origins of this sad issue. Almost everything that is wrong with this country comes down to moneyed interest and their bought and paid for congresspersons (the rest comes down to institutional racism. If this seems simplistic, let's talk, because I'm pretty sure I'm right). The NRA used to be a sportsman's organization. They used to advocate for real gun safety classes and against high-capacity weapons. But it has, since then, become a tool for the gun manufacturers. And there ain't nothing better for the bottom line of a gun maker than a good old school shooting or two because the NRA, in order to make money for folks who make guns, has ginned up the paranoid addlepated to the point where gun control=THEY'RE COMIN' FOR YA GUNS! SO THEY CAN TAKE OVER! DON'T TREAD ON ME. I HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO SHOOT PEOPLE I THINK ARE SCARY BECAUSE I AM AWESOME. AMERICA. FUCK YEAH! And then Wayne Lapierre and the good folks at Remington sit back and count their money. If you want to know why America has this problem (or any problem) follow the money. Always, follow the money.
We've learned that agitating for things like a national gun registry, or mandatory firearm owner insurance, or waiting periods, or illegal AK-47s invariably ends up with OH MY GOD THEY'RE COMING FOR YA GUNS.
So, fuck it. Let's just go for the guns.
I don't think we'll ever get there. But imagine if some tree hugging lesbian vegetarian atheist congressperson started fighting to make guns illegal, wouldn't that make for a little wiggle-room? I know compromise is a thing of the past (and, one hopes, the future), but wouldn't that mean the non-Gohmert adjacent Republican congressmen could then say, "Hey! They were coming for your guns. But I got them down to insurance and illegal automatic weapons."
Here's what I'm saying: let's stop assuaging the easily hurt fee-fee's of the gun people and just go for it. I've had it with "I love guns, but..." It doesn't work. It's time to pull the argument as far to the left as it will go so we can get somewhere approaching a center.
To that end: I want all guns to be illegal. And I'm willing to cast a vote and write a check for it to go that way. For example, if you're a hunter, I'm cool with you keeping your guns locked up at a registered facility to be checked out and checked in after a proscribed period of time, with the proviso that if you don't check them back in, you'll be chatting with the police. But, if you want to keep a stockpile of weapons tucked up under your bed, I'm perfectly content for you to lose that right and if you don't like it, move to Canada.
Every time someone couches the issue by saying "I love the second amendment," call them out. They don't love the Constitution. They love guns. Rob them of the rhetoric. Remind them of Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution. And don't tell them you're not trying to take their guns. Just try to take their guns. Yank the argument to the left.
The right to own a gun does not trump the general right to public safety. Let's keep it Consitutional - it doesn't trump our right to domestic tranquility; it's not more important that the general welfare of the people. The left keeps moving right on this argument.
Let's go for the guns.