Practical questions for the ‘gundamentalists’
Just before the Richmond, Virginia gun-rights rally on Martin Luther King Day, ignoring the irony, President Trump fueled the worst fears of gun advocates:
“Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia,” the actual president of the United States tweeted. “That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away.”
No, they won’t. Not bloody likely, in spite of all delicious paranoid fantasies.
But we all know you can’t have a fact-based, reasonable discussion with hard-core gun militants, especially when they’re pandered to by a failing and flailing president desperately trolling for reelection votes.
Gun rights advocates can be religious and unshakable, even if irrational, in their views, like evangelicals preaching the imminent Rapture. They have their own facts and reality, and believe what they believe. Attempting to reason is the classic triumph of hope over experience.
So instead of discussing or debating, let me pose a few practical questions for the “gundamentalists”:
1.America has 327 million people. We own some 400 million guns, more than one for every man, woman and child in the country. Doesn’t everyone who wants guns already have enough guns? Who perchance is being denied their guns? Please be specific about the victims.
2. Normally you believe government is completely incompetent. Why in this instance would you believe government — especially with Democrats in charge—suddenly would be smart, efficient and capable enough to systematically identify and descend on the estimated 55 million gun-owning households to seize their weapons?
3. You essentially declare 2A rights to stockpile weapons in order to prevent a tyrannical government from taking away your stockpile of weapons. Are you saying you need guns to protect your guns?
4. Why do you equate sensible gun controls with gun confiscation? The government controls all sorts of dangerous products to protect people, and while you hate regulations, you complain when you get hurt that government didn’t protect you. But jack-booted government thugs in bucket helmets aren’t coming to confiscate our deadly Britax Jogging Strollers.
5. Yes, we’ve all heard the “slippery slope” argument. To fight any sensible gun laws, the NRA’s money-making political strategy and talking points have made this case for decades as if they’re ski instructors warning newbies about bunny hills.
Yet in spite of many Democratic presidents and Democrat-controlled Congresses, gun ownership has surged. Gun laws have been relaxed or overturned. The conservative Supreme Court, in the 2008 DC v. Heller decision, expanded 2A gun rights beyond well-regulated militias to include private gun ownership. The Bill Clinton assault weapons ban expired. Hasn’t arguing slippery slope become an uphill battle?
6. Are you aware the Heller decision still permits sensible gun restrictions that you’re so up in arms about? And the court declared how 2A still does not grant “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose” and also allows “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms”?
Given so, are you aware that the horrible Democrat Virginia laws restricting monthly gun purchases, expanding background checks on firearms, and allowing localities to ban guns in certain designated areas, are perfectly Constitutional? And so is a ban on assault-style weapons, which Virginia Democrats decided not to adopt because opponents fought back by convincingly arguing that to control feral hogs, they need military-grade AR-15s that domestic terrorists use to slaughter children at schools?
7. Are you comfortable and confident in this statement? “Confiscation is not a program that the federal government is permitted to adopt.” Or does it sound like the typical Democrat liberal namby-pamby that ignores the real and present danger to 2A rights? (Hint: The conservative National Review said it.)
8. You love democracy. Majority rule is a cornerstone. Can you accept that a clear majority of Americans — 60% — believes gun laws should be stricter? And that majority includes most Republicans, with over 90% favoring restrictions on gun purchase by people with mental illnesses, 82% supporting background checks for private gun sales at gun shows, and more than 50% wanting bans on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines? Or do you say “suck it” to most of America?
9.Do you really want people to carry concealed weapons everywhere without a permit, as Virginia Republicans demanded, so bar fights, traffic mishaps and Black Friday sales scrums turn into shooting deaths?
10. Let’s play out the claim that we need unfettered gun rights to fight tyranny. Suppose a tyrannical Democrat government does send jack-booted thugs to take our guns and liberty, and you have the arsenal to fight back heroically like our original patriots did to save our country and freedom.
Ok, sooo … what to do? You don’t want to randomly shoot government agents; what’s the plan? Who’s in charge? How are you organized? Are you trained and ready? Who says who you should shoot and when?
Do you really trust the amateur, self-appointed, play-acting militiamen dressing in faux military costumes to look tough at gun rallies, and their neo-Nazi, white supremacist and alt-right fringe compatriots, to lead the revolution and take control of the country? Do you want these crazies to take charge of America? Can they run America? And lead our democracy? Without turning into the politicians you hate?
11. Do you think your unorganized, untrained, unregulated “citizen’s militia” would be any match for the government’s battle-ready National Guard, police SWAT teams, and other law enforcement who are loyal to authority? Do you believe they’ll defect to your cause?
Would you want your citizen militia to shoot and kill fellow Americans in uniform? Doesn’t law enforcement have enough to worry about without testosterone-addled dudes with AR-15s taking the law into their own hands? Don’t Blue Lives Matter?
More tragically, are you inspired by right-wing media hate mongers to fantasize about a new civil war against the so-called gun-taking Democrats, knowing over half of America voted for Hillary and disapproves of Trump, when our last civil war killed 620,000 fellow Americans?
12. Do you actually think our government — or any government—would stand by and allow a citizen’s militia to organize and stockpile an arsenal to overthrow the government? Or not notice the domestic terrorism in the making?
13. Do you care that the government whose tyranny you’re arming against likely would be democratically elected by your fellow Americans? If not in the popular vote where majority wins, then in the Electoral College? As such, is it your fellow Americans you hate the most?
14. Do you realize that you essentially register your guns with the government — voluntarily — every time you: 1) post pro-gun comments, photos or memes on social media; 2) buy guns or pay NRA or gun-club dues with a credit or debit card; 3) carry your phone to gun shows and firing ranges; and/or, 4) show up at gun-rights rallies like in Richmond?
Not to fuel your paranoia, but everything we do leaves an electronic trail the government can access as needed.
I suspect many answers will be silence because there’s no response, or repeating set claims, or just rejecting the premises because I’m “a liberal.” Those non-answers will just prove the point that guns are religion like Jesus. Although I can’t imagine Jesus with a gun.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.