An article at CounterPunch titled “Eliminate the Second Amendment and Keep Your Guns” by Tom H. Hastings offers more of the same flawed gun-control arguments we’ve come to expect from the opposition. Here, we’ll refute them, point by point.

Hasting writes:

OK, I confess I fail to see the thrill or need associated with gun ownership and use…

If there were no police, you might have a change of heart.

but we live in a free country—sort of—and I get why those who hunt need long guns.

Except the Second Amendment wasn’t written for hunters. George Mason wasn’t worried about the feds taking away people’s right to a well-dressed deer.

But I teach, write, and live trying to practice nonviolence between and among humans at least.

I suppose that’s admirable. What happens when Person A practices nonviolence but Person B doesn’t and uses violence to violate Person A’s rights?

I’m sure there are people who prefer not to talk or write, but their personal preferences shouldn’t have any bearing on other people’s right to do either of those two.

I’ve had guns pulled on me and fired at me twice and have never ever wanted to shoot anyone. That direct violence is beyond my understanding so I fully acknowledge my bias against guns, especially handguns.

So you’ve met Person B, it seems. One can understand why you don’t want to shoot somebody, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re trying to hurt you. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have had a gun to defend yourself? Why advocate disarming more people like yourself? And if you have no desire to fight back, that’s your decision. But what exactly authorizes you to make that decision for somebody else? Person C might like to have the option to defend herself against person B.

I believe in regulating those things that prove they harm others. No one should be free to harm others—that is not freedom, it is unwarranted arrogated license. The freedom of your hands stops where my nose begins, as they say.

The problem is criminals don’t care about regulations. On a side note, they also tend to prefer their victims are unarmed.

My real point on the Second Amendment is that it effectively blocks sane control of weaponry.

“Sane” control of weaponry always involves restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens (which is what Hastings is advocating). It never involves restrictions on government no matter how many innocent people it hurts. This is why we duly appreciate the efforts of Founding Fathers like George Mason to prevent “sane” controls from happening.

Repealing the Second Amendment would not affect anything that most gun owners feel is desirable.

Aside from indiscriminate weapons, any weapon the U.S. military has or will have I feel is desirable. I also feel most gun owners feel the same.

Glad we got that clarified.

But the Second Amendment as interpreted by the Supremes does make it possible for the gun industry, through its most powerful lobbyist–the NRA–to claim that laws restricting anything to do with guns are odious and part of an unconstitutional slippery slope.

It seems the Supreme Court is somewhat literate, because the amendment says the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.”

The track record is so clear. The Second Amendment protects the gun manufacturers and sellers at the expense of a lot of lives every year.

Tell that to the men and women who have been able to defend themselves and their loved ones because they were able to purchase weapons from gun sellers and made by gun manufacturers. I’m sure they will disagree.

Suicide is possible without guns, clearly. What if greatly limiting handguns, or using available technology so only the registered owner could fire it, could save just 1000 of the estimated 21,175 firearm suicides or just 100,000 of the estimated 836,000 ER visits from self-inflicted gun wounds in the most recent CDC data? Would rational Americans perhaps think about that and fix at least part of the gun problem?

As you’ve already noted, people don’t commit suicide because they got a gun. They commit suicide because they have major underlying issues that drive them to kill themselves. If they can’t get a gun they’ll use something else. There is a reason San Francisco is building a net to prevent suicidal people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Instead of trying to take the means away from them perhaps we should be more interested in figuring out what drives people to kill themselves. Taking the bottle away from the alcoholic doesn’t cure them of the problems that make them want to drink in the first place.

By the way, Hastings is (perhaps unwittingly) arguing from a social utility perspective in which rights are contingent on their overall social benefit. Under this same logic I could argue that putting certain groups of people in jail without due process or trail would be acceptable if it resulted in a lower crime rate. Once you allow for social utility to determine rights anything is up for discussion.

Finally, some serious brave NRA members are challenging the wingnut level of gun lobbying by the NRA, including some who flat out quit the group publicly when NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said the two terrorists who shot up San Bernadino, California, killing 14 and wounding 21, should not have been stopped from purchasing their assault rifles.

This is misconstruing the issue at hand. It’s not about whether those two specific individuals should have been prevented from obtaining guns. It’s about whether or not innocent people should have their rights taken away or restricted after the fact because other people broke the law. It’s about whether gun control laws would have prevented two criminals from obtaining firearms.

Clearly the two killers didn’t care about our laws against murder. Why would they let gun laws stop them?

Perhaps that’s why the California State Legislature just voted to exempt itself from the gun-control laws that apply to ordinary people in the state.

But the politicians who take on the NRA are open to serious retributive electoral pressure and the ones who toe the line for the NRA are richly rewarded by an annual NRA lobbying expenditure of at least $735,000, possibly as much as $3 million. That is a lot of junkets, TV ads, and fat honoraria.

But more Americans are rejecting the politicians who accept big NRA donations—their success rate is falling, and no wonder. Every new mass shooting brings out the most twisted defense of “gun rights” and the most warped disregard for the right to life imaginable by the NRA leadership.

Every new massing shooting demonstrates why it’s important for people to exercise their right to bear arms so they can shoot back. This tends to deter mass shooters and terrorists who want unarmed, defenseless prey.

How many shootings have taken place at gun shows compared to gun-free zones?

However we get there, we need to stop the massive flow of weaponry into our streets and we need to do it on a large scale.

My memory fails me but I think we tried that with alcohol and weed and it didn’t work out well.

Strict gun laws in one town are nice but when we have a 50-state open border country, guns flow into places like Chicago despite good local efforts to stop the murders and suicides.

If that’s the case, why is it that cities with strong gun control laws like Chicago have higher levels of gun violence than those with fewer gun control laws? Also, why is it that countries like Switzerland have a high gun ownership rate yet also a low crime rate?

There are almost 400 million guns out there so it will take a long time to bring down the numbers but we can do it if we get sane and serious about it.

So it’s not about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. It’s about reducing the numbers of privately-owned guns. Got it.

I know no gun opponent who favors disarming the rural hunter putting provender on his or her family table.

Can we drop the whole hunting issue already? It’s a distraction, nothing more. The Second Amendment says a “well-regulated militia” is the necessity of a “free state,” not a “well-armed hunter is the necessity of a well-fed state.”

The Founders wanted us to have guns so we could be sufficiently armed to overthrow a tyrannical government just as they had done. You don’t have to like that, but it is why they were so adamant about ensuring we could have guns.

I can hope that those, in fact, will be some of the voices calling for far greater sensible gun control so they can take a trip into a city and make it back alive—or so they can send their child to college in some town and not fear so much.

Hastings’ proposal to abolish the Second Amendment falls under the same misunderstanding as so many other gun control advocates. The amendment doesn’t give us our right to have guns. It merely acknowledges that right so government can’t later claim ignorance when it tries to restrict it.

Abolishing the Second Amendment removes that right just as much as eliminating the First Amendment denies me the right to free speech.

Even so, we should keep the Second Amendment as a reminder to the federal government we’re going to keep our guns with it or without it.

TJ Martinell

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