ATTACKING AMERICA’S GUN CULTURE
Terrorism driven by religious extremism in America is alive and well, and it’s not coming from atheists. It is coming from armed hardcore Christian jihadists seeking to end abortions and undermine a woman’s right to choose. It is coming from home grown Muslim jihadists with a nihilist agenda. It is surely just a matter of time before America will be able to ring up a hall of fame of deadly religious zealots that leaves virtually no organized religion unrepresented.
Right-wing Republicans are quick to point out that it is the first responsibility of the government to provide for the security of the nation’s citizens. Those citizens are under siege from armed extremists in a nation awash in firearms. Yet those very same "concerned" right-wingers and their gun nut allies have paralyzed any effort to even discuss measures that might reduce gun violence in America and increase a sense of citizen security. These folks are all about aggressively walling off America from immigrants and making sure we fight our Christian battles on infidel soil. Yet they are venally dumbfounded when it comes to controlling the flow of assault rifles from one crazed hand to another right here at home.
How ironic that many who most loudly tout an unfettered 2nd Amendment Constitutional right to bear arms affirmed by a divided Supreme Court (DC v Heller, 5-4, https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZS.html ) are often the first to equally loudly deny women the Constitutionally protected right to privacy and right to choose an abortion affirmed by a much less divided Supreme Court (Roe v Wade, 7-2, https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/410/113 ). And this dichotomy doesn’t even get to those whose advocacy for fetal rights somehow doesn’t extend to human rights, as many of these same folks support robust capital punishment and ready availability of the weapon of choice for over 20,000 suicides per year.
Despite the contradictions, the only place left for the gun debate in America to go is back to the Supreme Court. Hopefully, a Court majority will wake up long enough to meaningfully restrict access to guns in America. Maybe those supposedly wise men and women will see a nation awash in the blood flowing from their earlier court rulings and end the legal madness that seems to stymie any and all political resolve.
So what does the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution actually say – “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That’s it. Surprisingly perhaps, there is no mention of assault rifles (now romantically called “long guns”), no mention of ammunition, and the only mention of regulation suggests robust regulation to ensure the nation’s security.
In the context of a violence plagued nation, this Amendment is now being touted as the foundation for the gun nut campaigns to arm everybody everywhere as the best solution to confronting rampant gun violence. If this notion were seriously considered only in gun nut caves, the rest of us could breathe easier. But real presidential candidates, politicians, lobbyists, and conspiracy theorists routinely spout this nonsense, and the rabid media give it extensive coverage.
There appears to be little concern for the rights of the rest of us who would like to stay alive, enjoy liberty, and pursue happiness without fear of the gun madness in our midst. And for those who believe in some god and for those of us who don’t, that choice itself and how we exercise that choice is under siege from religious zealots whose 2nd Amendment rights are permitted to trample our 1st Amendment rights.
It is time for gun control advocates to go to court in every corner of the land. It is time to sue every gun manufacturer, every gun shop, every gun show, and every online gun purchase website, and to do so every time one of their products kills a human being. [See NOTE below re successful gun shop liability lawsuit and US Supreme Court deferral to localities to restrict assault weapons.] It is time to look for any reason to sue, have form lawsuit pleadings available to one and all, and teams of committed attorneys ready to take up the cause. This is what the gay rights movement did, and they won.
No more euphemisms for what this nation needs to achieve. We must strive for meaningful “gun control.” “Gun safety” as a goal is the equivalent of the “civil union” fix that weakened the same-sex marriage movement for years. Gun control is the least that those of us seeking to realize our 1st Amendment rights must surge forward and insist upon. If we go on the offensive in every court in the land, there will be judges who see the carnage all around them and realize that they can confront it.
Then, maybe, just as the sleeping legal mammoths on the US Supreme Court finally awoke to the 21st Century and said “yes” to same-sex marriage, they just might say “no more” to guns and gun violence.