Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama finally speaks on gun control

I can't remember the last time Democrats made a sustained effort at making gun control part of the national political conversation. They have collectively decided that it's not something they should talk about. I'd say they talk about abortion more than guns, which I would think is just as divisive a topic. Anyway, here is Obama:

I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. And we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation -– that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.

But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals –– that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities. I believe the majority of gun owners would agree that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons; that we should check someone’s criminal record before they can check out a gun seller; that a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily. These steps shouldn’t be controversial. They should be common sense.

Pretty well said. It should be common sense. But nothing with modern Republicans is. You have to live in reality for it to be common sense. And they simply don't. We regulate all sorts of things that people have the right to buy and use. And I'd guess that nearly all of them don't kill as many people as guns do. Beyond that, there is no reason the constitution wouldn't allow for very strict gun regulations.

We don't give people the absolute right to speech, to assemble, or to practice their religion. We can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater because it could harm people. We can't assemble wherever we want whenever we want in part because of public safety concerns. And we don't allow people to kill other people because their religion says they can, which the bible and other holy books clearly say they can. Nearly everyone thinks gov't can regulate those things. So it doesn't really follow that gov't then shouldn't be allowed to regulate a thing that does much more harm that the rights laid out in the 1st amendment.

Putting aside the ridiculous argument that we need guns in order to defend ourselves against the gov't, just because the gov't puts strict regulations on guns doesn't mean you still wouldn't be able to own them and use them to protect yourself if the gov't turned on us. These aren't difficult arguments to make. I know it can be difficult to get a message out there while you have Republicans making ridiculous and simple-minded arguments against you. But that's why Democrats have to ignore what they normally do and make their argument forceful and often. They can't afford to just make a speech whenever some tragedy pops up.

Like with gay marriage, this has to be a sustained effort to get the policies we want passed. And I'm not sure why Democrats shouldn't push for it just as hard as they do other policies. Social issues like gay marriage are fairly popular with the public. But that's another part of the point. If you are constantly out there making your arguments you can eventually sway some people's opinions. Support for gay marriage didn't all of the sudden change. It was a gradual changing of people's minds. If Obama and the rest of the Democratic party really want stricter gun control they will keep the conversation going instead of just making a speech or two in order to save face after a tragedy.

No comments:

Post a Comment