So I was on Twitter today (Just as I was on yesterday, and the day before that… Don’t worry, the cool newness of it will fade), and I couldn’t help but notice that #WeDemandAVote has been trending pretty highly so far.
“A vote? On what?” I asked myself. “Gosh, I sure hope it’s a vote to make the McRib a permanent feature on the McDonalds menu!”… Well, that was the hope anyway.
Well, you know what they say: Hope in one hand and shit in the other, and you’ll get a debate about gun control. Okay, that last bit was something I said just now. But you get the idea- The #WeDemandAVote trend is a call for a citizen vote on gun control laws. And to me, that seems personally reasonable, and I’d love to vote on such a thing if not for that pesky felony record thingy.
I think it should go without saying: This trend is causing a shitstorm of epic proportions. The left is wailing and gnashing their teeth about how we need stricter laws in place because if such laws are passed, no gun will ever be used to kill another innocent person in this country ever again. And of course, the right counters with “SECOND AMENDMENT! FREEDOM! NAZIS HAD GUN CONTROL!”
Now, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Whites, Blacks, Everyone: If we can’t come together on a gun control discussion, I hope you at least can come together to read this. I’ll make it easy. It’ll all be in big bold print:
IF YOU ALL WERE ANY MORE FULL OF SHIT, YOUR EYES WOULD BE BROWN!
I’m not trying to say either side of this debate is dumb, or that both sides don’t have good arguments. Because objectively speaking, you do have them. My only problem here, and the thing that makes me frustrated and angry with you all, is that you’ve buried these salient points in all sorts of alarmist bullshit (from the right) and idealist claptrap (from the left). And that’s what I want to do today: I want to try and cut through the shit from both sides and get to the real crux of the matter.
So sit tight Right, because I’m going to start in on you and your arguments here first:
1) YOU’RE TAKING AWAY MY SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS!
Nobody is doing this. Here is the original text from The Constitution (from archive.gov):
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Somehow, you seem to argue that this means you get to have ALL the guns and any attempt to control or you know, regulate (note the key word there?) this infringes on your right to carry. Which begs two questions: First, how is it you trumpet the right to carry, but you completely gloss over the “well regulated” bit? And second, who were you expecting to DO this regulation, if not the Government? God? Your parents? The weird guy who harvests garbage in the park? Seriously. Who?
Another point that is disingenuous with this argument is that you tend to act and speak as though gun control is the same thing as “O NOES! THEY’RE TAKING ALL MY GUNS!”. This is the same thing as condemning the forest for burning when no one has even struck a match; One does not mean the other. And you don’t know that it will, so stop acting as though this is the case.
2) HITLER, HITLER, HITLER!
True story: If you recite the above while looking in a mirror, the ghost of Anne Frank appears behind you and facepalms.
But here’s the thing: A favorite bon mot of the right is to cry that in Germany under the Nazis, Hitler enacted strict gun control policies to weed out undesirables. As somebody who has a degree on the topic of history, and a person who specialized in twentieth century history as their major field of study, I can without a scintilla of doubt, inform you and anyone else reading this that such claims are in fact, only half right at best. And total fucking bullshit at worst.
Yes, there were strict gun controls in place in Germany in the time of Hitler. That much, at least is true. But Hitler and the Nazis had nothing to do with that; We did.
If you might recall, after the kick-ass beer and chlorine party that was World War I, the Triple Entente (Russia, France, and Britain; The USA unofficially joined in 1918 after the October Revolution effectively took Russia out of the equation) forced the the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany to sign the Treaty Of Versailles. Article 169 of the treaty specifically states:
“Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty German arms, munitions and war material, including anti-aircraft material, existing in Germany in excess of the quantities allowed, must be surrendered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be destroyed or rendered useless. This will also apply to any special plant intended for the manufacture of military material, except such as may be recognised as necessary for equipping the authorised strength of the German army.
The surrender in question will be effected at such points in German territory as may be selected by the said Governments.
Within the same period arms, munitions and war material, including anti-aircraft material, of origin other than German, in whatever state they may be, will be delivered to the said Governments, who will decide as to their disposal.
Arms and munitions which on account of the successive reductions in the strength of the German army become in excess of the amounts authorised by Tables II and III annexed to this Section must be handed over in the manner laid down above within such periods as may be decided by the Conferences referred to in Article 163.”
There are more to it, but the gist of it is this: The United States, Great Britain, and France enacted Gun Control law in Germany. NOT Hitler.
Did Germany enact their own strict policy? Why yes. Yes they did… in 1919, under the Weimar Republic. So unless Hitler had somehow found a way to simultaneously affect domestic policy whilst struggling to get into art school (which is what he was doing at the time this was going on), he had nothing to do with that either.
The 1919 law remained in effect until 1928, when the German Parliament passed the Law On Firearms And Ammunition in response to Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. After that, the Weimar Republic greatly feared an armed insurrection. Fortunately for them though, they never had to worry about that, as the Nazis never took up arms against the government after that: Hitler got voted into power. Sooo…. yay for democracy?
3) FREEDOM! WE NEED OUR FREEDOM!
Well, okay. Fair enough. I like freedom just as much as the next guy. If I didn’t, I’d relocate to the lush utopian society of North Korea and feel safe and secure knowing that Pulgasari and somebody named Kim will protect me from imperialist douchebaggery.
Only question is: Did the Founding Fathers equate gun control with loss of freedom?
Well, to answer this question, let us look at the Bill Of Rights that Britain drafted in 1689:
“…The subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their
conditions and as allowed by law.”
To this end, the motherland forced gunsmiths to provide exact records to show everyone for whom they crafted and sold rifles. Also, they were required by law to produce updated records each week. In other words: Gun Control.
Oh, but that didn’t stop when we left Britain for American shores. In fact, the law I listed above remained in place… even AFTER our nation’s Founders signed The Constitution. And instead of being voted out, states elected to add to the law. In 1821 for example, Kentucky passed a law outlawing concealed firearms. And later in 1837, Georgia passed a law calling for the outright ban of all guns, period. A year later, Virginia passed a law that forbade “habitual carriers” from carrying concealed weapons (by this, they meant criminals, rowdies, duellists, and so on: Most of the above laws were drafted to curb duels however. Yeah, that was a pretty big hobby for us.). So looking at this, we can see how even this argument fails under the scrutiny of historical precedent.
4) CRIMINALS WILL STILL FIND WAYS TO GET GUNS
And here’s my concession: You’re totally right in this, Righties. And just because we pass more gun control laws, criminals aren’t suddenly going to go, “Well gee, I had this AK47. But since the new laws say I can’t have it, I’ll just go and turn it in now!” (The left might want to pay attention to this argument as well)
Because here it is: Criminals may be a cowardly and superstitious lot. But they are also quite clever. You take away their ability to get firearms lawfully, and they WILL find a way to work around that. That’s what makes them criminals. Even if they can’t find a way to get guns either legally or not, all it takes to make a gun is some tubing, duct tape, a spring, and a nail and you can make a gun of your very own! Who knows? If you ask nicely enough, I might even teach you how. I’m generous like that.
But this brings us to you folks on the left…
Listen, Liberals? Look… you know I’ve had your back many, many times in the past. And you know that if you ever need someone to stand up with you for gay marriage, pro choice, freedom of speech and all that, I’m your dude.
But seriously: Have you listened to yourself on this? I mean, have you stepped back and really looked at some of the things you’ve said in regards to this? Because from where I’m standing, you sound as though you all just warped into our universe from another plane of existence where “Heidi” is a documentary.
But enough on that. Let’s go over your main arguments, shall we?
1) MORE GUN CONTROL EQUALS LESS VIOLENT CRIME
Well, as with most of the arguments from the Right side of things, you’re only half right. While it IS true that violent crime rates have been almost cut in half since 1991 according to the FBI, the rate of gun usage in violent crime has in fact remained the same (Right around 50%). So in a way, we can see how the gun control laws already in place haven’t done much to reduce the percentage of gun-based violent crimes. Add that to an already dropping violent crime rate, and the data shows that in fact, MORE violent crimes have been committed with firearms then without since our current laws were in place. And as I’ve already stated, since criminals don’t really have many fucks to give in regards to laws, placing more and more restrictions really isn’t going to help you do anything more than sleep a little better at night, knowing that you’ve done your part to metaphorically put a band-aid on cancer.
2) IF WE GET RID OF ASSAULT WEAPONS, MASS SHOOTINGS WON’T TAKE PLACE
Listen… I really don’t know how to break this to you. But do you know guns? I mean, do you really really know them? I’m not asking if you take guns for moonlit walks and call your pistol “Honeypants” or anything like that (I do, but this isn’t about me)? What I’m asking here is do you know what actually constitutes an assault rifle? I’m guessing you don’t, or I wouldn’t have asked.
Well, an assault weapon is simply put, an automatic rapid-fire weapon designed for infantry use. For example, the M-16 is an assault weapon. And you or I can’t get access to one of those unless we steal them from the US Army. Granted, the AK47 IS an assault weapon originally, but they aren’t sold to US civilians as fully automatic. Thus technically, for the purposes of legitimate purchases, they too are not assault weapons.
No, what you’ve been seeing in Newtown, Columbine, and Clackamas is in fact, Assault-STYLE weapons. Basically, manufacturers give normal semi-auto rifles the APPEARANCE of assault weaponry to satisfy the gun-boner we get in our pants when we see Rambo for the 47,000th time.
Now granted, the AK47 (or the more advance AK74) is semi-auto as it is sold to you or I. But those are very easy to turn into fully automatic 39mm cannons of blazing death. Again, if you ask VERY nicely, I might show you how.
The question here is: How many violent crimes are actually committed with Fiery Russian Bullet-Jizzing Deathcocks? Brace yourself:
In a 2004 study done by the University Of Pennsylvania, it was shown that 2 to 8% of gun-related crimes were attributed to TRUE assault weapons.
Now I don’t know about you, but by arguing against assault style weapons, it looks as though you want to punish 100% of the civilian populace for the actions of only around 8% of violent criminals. Even from my perspective, this smacks of wild overreaction.
And here’s another point: Let’s say we DO enact these laws. Do you really believe everything will magically change for the better? Because looking at the logistics of the thing, it just is not terribly feasible.
First, what do you propose we do about assault style weapons and high capacity magazines already out there? Do you want the government to go door-to-door to get said guns? If so, are you willing to pay the incredible amount of taxes it would take to hire the fed goons, arm and equip them whilst sending them throughout the nation to get all of these weapons and magazines? Because in the end, this is what such a task would come down to. The federal reserve, despite rumor to the contrary, is not a magic money machine. The currency has to come from somewhere. And it’s going to have to come from you and I.
Unless you want to take out yet another loan from China. We’re good for it, aren’t we?
If you don’t want to cover the cost, we have no choice but to grandfather the guns and mags already out there. And if we do that, than we’re really no worse off than we were before the ban. gain, the band-aid on cancer metaphor applies.
Which begs the final question: What CAN we do?
Sad answer is that there’s no answer to this. The cat’s already out of the bag, and we really can’t stuff it back in and toss it in a lake. And there’s nothing we can do about violent crime- No matter what sort of laws we put on the books, we can’t legislate morality no matter how much people say we can. There will always be an aberrant portion in every society that will gladly find a way to end you, should they decide your life is worth ending.
Also, as I write this I am aware of a massive loophole in such a law as proposed. While we now KNOW what an assault weapon truly is (Thank me later), we don’t know what constitutes an assault-STYLE weapon. The definition of that is very unclear, and if exploited, this could very well be a thing that opens the door for an outright assault on second amendment rights.
Were I able to vote, I’d vote to keep things as they are. Not only does it keep that loophole closed, but it would be much more cost effective in the long run to put more funds toward better enforcement of the laws we already have.
In closing, let me just thank you for reading this shit if you actually are. Also, I’m hungry. McDonalds, anyone? On you, of course.