Why the hell do you think they call it an “assault rifle”? – Mr. Holmes and the Colorado movie murders

Posted: July 23, 2012 in My moral code, Politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

I don’t intend to enter into a debate about gun control. For one thing, I’m not qualified to debate constitutional amendments. For another, very close to 100% of the gun advocates who would want to debate me aren’t either. To be honest, the number of people in the US who think themselves qualified to debate anything constitutional really angers me. If constitutional scholars have to argue then most of us have nothing more than opinions. So I can’t debate the issue, and I won’t try. What I would like to do is to offer two opinions.

1. I could care less whether any particular person has a gun. If you want a gun, knock yourself out. Go target practicing, shoot some deer, whatever. It’s not my business and if you like it, don’t have a criminal record, and want a gun for sport, or even for protection, fine with me. Personally, firearms scare me. My brother-in-law in Texas used to let me hold his 1960s Colt .357 and he’d laugh that I couldn’t hold it without shaking. Fine. My issue. I like my Benchmade knives as much as you like your guns so we all have our issues. But, the simple act of owning a gun is not the issue I want to discuss.

2. I hold an interpretation of the 2nd amendment that differs widely from all the gun advocates. It’s just an opinion so I won’t debate you on it. But, to me personally, the sentence:  “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.” does not mean that people have a right to bear arms. I think that the reference to “Militia” and “Free State” say nothing about individual rights. I think they refer to  State’s rights and the authority for each state to have its own Militia, to which that state can offer arms. So, I don’t think we necessarily have a constitutional right to own a gun. But, again, the simple act of owning a gun is not my issue.

What I want to say goes beyond the issue of owning a firearm. The issue is that of owning a firearm that is used for neither sport nor protection. I know this will piss off all my Libertarian friends but “liberty” is an issue of “rational self-interest” and when it comes to owning weapons just for the sake of owning weapons, I question what happens to the “rational” part of the equation. You see, there is a big conceptual difference between a “gun” and an “assault weapon”. I say that because the word “gun” does not mean much. Conversely, the words “assault weapon” very literally mean “a firearm expressly designed to kill many people”. If you tell me that you want that for “protection” then all I can say is “what the hell army do you think is after you!” I don’t buy it. There is a reason an assault rifle is called an assault rifle – IT’S USED TO ASSAULT PEOPLE! So, please don’t tell me you need it for protection.

So… it happened again. Mr. James E. Holmes, a 24-year-old nutcase decided it would be cool to kill people in Colorado. Not only were 12 people murdered and 58 others nearly murdered, but Holmes laid explosive booby traps in his apartment in what seems like a pretty solid attempt to kill cops or anyone else who tried to enter. He had a pretty cool assault rifle and he obviously knew how to assault people with it. The NRA will tell you that, since he has a criminal mind,  he would have had the weapon ever if the ban on them were better enforced. After all “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people”.  That may be true, but I’m not convinced. Of course, the real issue isn’t the assault rifle, I suppose. It’s the 6000 rounds of ammo. The NRA would no doubt say “Ammunition doesn’t kill people. People kill people.” But, it’s silly to think that we’d actually regulate bullets even while ignoring a weapon ban, anyway. So, here is another case where a wacko goes to work and the gun lobby refuses to accept any responsibility. Somehow, this all has to stop!

So, here is my opinion. Forget about our “mixed” government-regulated society for a second. Even in a society of rational self-interest, property rights and mutual respect are the keys to societal harmony. Assault rifles have no purpose other than to allow one individual to harm one or more other individuals. Generally, when someone wants to kill someone else it’s either to infringe on his or her property, or to show him or her a some very obvious disrespect. So there is no good to come from allowing citizens to own assault weapons.

I admit that all of what I just said is poorly argued and comes from a place of fear. But, I really just need to say that I believe there is no place in our society for assault weapons and  it’s time  for this NRA assault on our society to end.

  1. Lisa says:

    Good post, Steve.

    Did you read the post by Jason Alexander?

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