Tag Archives: 2d Amendment

The GOP’s Interesting Hierarchy of Rights

A recent posting to Facebook got me thinking about the language of rights that dominates our political discourse.

Responding to the over-the-top hysteria about 2d Amendment rights that greets even the most reasonable gun proposals–background checks, for example–the poster (a self-identified Republican) noted that the party’s concerns about constitutional rights have become very selective. Only when guns are involved does the party elevate a “constitutional right” over the right to life.

As he noted, Republican lawmakers defend government when it ignores basic human rights and the Geneva Convention, justifying such behaviors by saying the information so gathered may save lives.

The GOP is completely identified with the pro life movement, a crusade purporting to “save the lives of the unborn” by taking rights away from women. (A substantial number even wants to take away the right to birth control in order to “save lives” that have yet to even be conceived. )

In fact, he notes that the party is increasingly willing to ignore all manner of rights–except the right to own a weapon.

Citing the need to protect against a virtually non-existent in-person “voter fraud,” the GOP has spent the past several years trying to take away the right of poor and minority citizens to vote. The GOP  “fought like hell” to keep homosexuals from having the right to marry, and it fights “against any form of right, or laws both human and environmental that will hurt the bottom line of our campaign contributors.” The party refuses even to consider that healthcare might be a right, insisting that it is a privilege.… “Yet this one. This one right above all others we hold sacred. We refuse to bend.”

It’s an interesting–and accurate–perspective.

It’s also profoundly depressing.


Smart Guns, Stupid People

Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, homicides, suicides and accidents involving guns cause twice as many deaths in young people as cancer, five times as many as heart disease and 15 times as many as infections.

And that’s just young people.

So it makes no sense at all that the NRA and the rabid pro-gun lobby have violently opposed sales of the so-called “Smart gun.” The gun requires that the shooter–presumably the owner of the weapon–be wearing a wristband. Otherwise, it won’t fire.

Mind you, no one is suggesting that the Smart Gun be mandated. It would simply join the wide array of lethal weapons available to buyers in our not-so-civilized country. Yet gun shop owners who have offered them have gotten massive blowback–including death threats–from self-styled “Second Amendment” purists.

Critics argue that the need to “find a wristband, maybe in the middle of the night” would be too cumbersome in the event of a home break-in. Of course, current safety precautions–some a matter of local law–require keeping guns in a locked box, or even disassembled. Surely the time required to re-assemble a gun, or unlock a box, is equivalent to the time needed to find a wristband.

For that matter, paranoid folks can SLEEP in the damn things.

This hysteria over technology that can make their precious firearms safer is just one more bit of evidence of the mindlessness of today’s gun lobby.

If survey research is to be believed, this craziness isn’t representative of the hunters and sportsmen who make up the bulk of NRA membership. If that’s the case, it’s past time responsible gun owners took back the organization from the wacko fringe.

Giving people the ability to CHOOSE to purchase a safer gun is not a violation of even the paranoid version of the Second Amendment.