Time to grow up

Gun violence prevention needs to move forward. The rate of gun violence in the United States compared to other Western developed countries, as well as the statistical human cost are beyond well documented. I urge you to look at the following sites and be overwhelmed by the statistics:

Yes, we can argue over statistics, but the above are among the best and most accurate as they coldly reveal the carnage of gun violence on steroids in our nation. Oh, now toss in stats from Harvard University, Johns Hopkins, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Center for Disease Control. Then open your newspaper. Facts and truth abound! What is a way forward?

RESPECT THE NUMBERS. Sure, bring on opposing numbers, put them and all on the table, talk and listen to all the numbers. The bottom line is that 32,000 people die of gun violence each year, with about 2/3 being suicides and the other by homicide with a small number by accident. These figures are not debatable. The USA is Number One in gun deaths among Western developed nations.

BE REAL ABOUT THE SECOND AMENDMENT. The Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights because we had no real standing army, the people were afraid of an army, and the cost of an army was prohibitive. We were a young country that had struggled to fight its way to independence. There was a strong focus on individual rights.  We were a frontier nation. We needed a militia to be at the ready. Besides, forgive me, Indians were a threat, as were rebellious slaves. Guns in the possession of the people were necessary for protection and securing food. Read the first words of the Amendment: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state….” Yes, there is also the second half: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Why is it that the NRA includes only the second half of the Amendment on their entryway in front of their office in Washington, DC? Let’s be intellectually and Constitutionally honest.

Today, the Second Amendment has been used abused to justify free-wheeling gun possession and economic freedom for the gun manufacturers. Gone are the legitimate reasons as stated above. Now the reasons are profit, crime and paranoia.

LET GO OF THE PARANOIA THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO COME AND TAKE AWAY YOUR FREEDOM. As fervent as many militia groups, the NRA leadership and Gun Owners of America folks stoke this paranoia on Constitutional grounds, the government also dwells in the Constitutional house. The government respects the Second Amendment as well as ALL of the Amendments. The Second Amendment is not the only Amendment which guides our democracy. How about the Preamble which states: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare….” This is the governments main charge. Protection not persecution.

How about Amendment IX: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” ALL people have rights, not just the gun owners and gun manufacturers. We need to remember that the Declaration of Independence speaks of the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This is for ALL citizens. Are we prepared to denigrate these hallowed words from our most sacred documents?

How about Amendment XIV which proclaims that “…any state deprive any person of life, liberty and property, without the due process of law, nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Again, ALL PEOPLE are the subject of these rights, not just the gun owners and gun manufacturers.

The Constitution permits and constrains what government and the people can and cannot do. The purpose of our government is in the entire Constitution. Government is about life, ensuring life, liberty and happiness and domestic tranquility. Government is not spelled GUN. Fealty to only the Second Amendment leads to tyranny by gun!

COMMON SENSE GUN LAWS PROTECT LIFE AND OUR DEMOCRACY. Common sense gun laws allow gun ownership for responsible gun owners. Felons, the mentally ill, domestic abusers, the under aged do not qualify. Universal background checks for licensed and private sales as well as Internet sales are reasonable, plus they dramatically lower gun deaths. It is reasonable to prevent those on the Terrorist Watch List from purchasing a weapon. Similarly, an assault weapons ban seems reasonable. Assault weapons are designed for the military, for rapid and efficient killing. Reasonable regulation ensure every one’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No regulation opens the floodgates for anarchy and narcissistic chaos!

RESPECT THE FIRST AMENDMENT. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The free-wheeling flood of unregulated guns stifles the First Amendment. Unregulated guns create fear and deny freedom, life and happiness. Where fear dominates, death too frequently follows. Guns+fear=tyranny by gun!

The United States was founded for the purpose of FREEDOM TO LIVE, LOVE AND THRIVE! It is time to grow up, imagine life-giving honesty, and choose the ways of life for ALL.