Dear Rabid American Gun Owners:
I know a lot of people in the US are worked up about any limitation on what they consider to be an absolute right to gun ownership. In particular, Colorado’s new laws on gun ownership have been sending the social media world (since I’m not in the US, I don’t watch hours of US news to see it repeated everywhere else too) into a rabid hyperbolic frenzy.
Two thoughts for you.
#1 No right is absolute.
Even something as relatively innocuous (compared to guns) as the freedom of speech is trumped by three other values — national security, justice, and safety. That means no one gets to provoke violence with their speech acts (see clear and present danger and “fighting words” doctrines), no one gets to libel or slander another person, obscenity is not allowed, and no one gets to put others at risk because of their speech acts.
It seems to me those three values would also reasonably trump an absolute right to gun ownership — even more so because inciting someone to violence doesn’t actually kill quite as efficiently and quickly as pulling a trigger. So, it seems that legislation like Colorado’s limiting the number of bullets your gun magazine/clip can hold, requiring background checks for EVERYONE trying to purchase a gun (antique and family gifts excluded), making the gun owner pay for the cost of the background check, and banning guns on college campuses are reasonable steps (by the way, most universities already have limitations on guns in dorms and on campus anyhow… this just makes it standardized) to try and manage who gets legal access to weapons… You know, kind of like the 7-day waiting period was reasonable to limit “in the heat of the moment” gun violence that you all have gotten used to. These do not stop a law abiding citizen from owning a gun, they do try to balance the aforementioned values with the right to own a gun.
However, in watching conversations about these laws, I haven’t yet seen a rational argument opposing the laws (other than the constitutional question addressed below). Instead, I’ve seen threats of violence offered, infantile and hyperbolic Hitler references (nothing like the red herring logical fallacy), ad hominem attacks against advocates of gun legislation, and slippery slope arguments… So we can summarize the response as either language that incites violence OR logical fallacies. Seriously? I would have thought that you all would be able to form an actual logically valid and well-supported argument by now.
#2 — If you think the new laws aren’t constitutional … put your money where your mouth is
What do I mean by this? Well… pony up, join the NRA (if you aren’t already a member), and push the NRA to file suit against these laws on the basis that the new laws aren’t constitutional. That’s how we do things in the US — laws are tested against the document you all like to quote. Right now, you all have about the best possible Supreme Court (a Conservative stacked Court) that you could have to test what you consider to be the most valid argument against gun control legislation… that it’s a violation of your 2nd Amendment rights. It’s as simple as that — let’s have the folks who are paid to interpret the constitution do their job on what, apparently, you think is the single biggest threat to our country right now.
Oh yeah… and one last thing…