ASHLAND, WISCONSIN hosts a gun and knife show that drew more than 2500 people and over 100 vendors. Comments from visitors provide insights about why guns are popular.
1. “I believe as long as we have a Second Amendment, gun shows will have a future . . . . People will realize that our Constitution is here because we have a Second Amendment.”
2. “We don’t have a gun problem as a nation. We have a violence problem, and until we understand the root of that violence, the tools that people choose to commit it is immaterial.”
3. ” . . . it is not the gun – it’s the user. It is the person who has the intent of harming other people.”
4. “It is very unfortunate, the things that have happened, but if they ban guns what will they ban next?”
My responses to the above comments are as follows.
1. Justice Scalia, the paragon of conservative legal positions, who wrote the majority position in Heller v. Washington, D.C.,included in his opinion, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited . . . It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for whatever purpose . . . . Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” In short, common sense gun laws are legal and necessary.
2. We have been addressing the violence problem since the Biblical time of the Fall of humankind in Genesis. Honestly, what progress have we made? The 20th Century was the most violent in history, and over 38,000 people die of gun violence each year in the USA. Yes, let’s keep working on addressing violence in both the human aspects AND the gun as instrument. People pull the trigger and the gun does the killing. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:19: “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.”
3. See #2.
4. So the alternative is to do nothing? Carnage and massacres happen. That’s life! Let’s move on. Also, the generalized “banning of guns” is not the common sense solution. There are legal and social permissions for gun use. Let’s talk gun safety. Legitimate regulations save lives, such as Universal Background Checks for all sales from licensed dealers, private exchanges and online sales. Extreme Risk Protection Orders will temporarily remove guns from a person undergoing personal stress. Registration and licensing of all weapons will decrease the secrecy of weapon purchase and use. Mandatory waiting time for gun purchases may provide a cooling off time. Mandatory gun safety course for purchases will increase safe gun usage and help prevent illegal and fatal use. Bannng of assault-type tactical weapons as they are weapons of war. Pass laws which allow the study of gun violence which will lead to increased safety measures.
It is time to look deeper into gun purchase and use justifications. At best they are half-truths. As we look deeper, we will discover ways to save lives while protecting legitimate gun rights.
Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)