Eric Zorn recently wrote an editorial titled Let’s Try Extreme Vetting for Gun Owners in the Chicago Tribune. In part, Zorn wrote:
“…what if it actually isn’t a good idea to allow nearly everyone to buy all the guns they want with minimal to nonexistent background checks? What if it’s not just poverty, joblessness, illegal drugs, wimpy judges and fractured families causing the sort of mayhem that recently saw three kids die of bullet wounds in just two days in Chicago? What if the glut of guns is a part of it.”
Frustration and outright anger are running high in Chicago over the stunningly violent crime rate. In the past two weeks there were three shocking accidental murders even by Chicago standards. A two-year-old boy was shot in the head when a gunman open fired at the car he was in with his uncle and his girlfriend. And in unrelated incidents an 11 year old girl was killed by stray bullets and within half an hour a 12 year old girl under similar circumstances. In 2016, the City of Chicago had 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,331 shooting victims.
Despite being a liberal, Zorn isn’t anti-gun per se. I interviewed him on my radio show in 2013 and at that time, he said he believed citizens have a right to own a firearm to protect themselves and their property and that Illinois was remiss in not being a concealed carry state.
Zorn went on to say he had no problem with law abiding people owning firearms and that he wasn’t particularly concerned about “cosmetic issues having to do with assault weapons.” Rather, he thought it was a “distracting issue” and the real problem was there are too many bad people that have free access to guns.
Four years later, he wrote something similar in his editorial but stressed that he also believes the Second Amendment is “compatible with strongly enhanced measures to prevent firearms that were legally purchased for legitimate purposes from ending up in the hands of evildoers.” For example, Zorn supports background checks on all sales, public and private, at gun shows as well as gun shops.
The problem is Zorn is a liberal and though he’s not anti-gun, he’s anti-Second Amendment even as he reassures us he is not. He believes he is not anti-Second Amendment but fails to understand the primary issue behind the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting or even personal protection. The Second Amendment is a constitutionally enshrined guarantee that citizens will hold the reins of power not government.
Liberalism sees the government, and thereby its laws, as the solution to every problem. Gun-related crime is best solved by severely restricting, or preferably depriving, everyone of the right to bear arms rather than deal with the root cause of why there is gun-related crime.
The Second Amendment is built upon the theme of being able to defend one’s country from armed despots. “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.”
Liberals quibble over the word “militia.” They interpret it to mean the National Guard but it is a disingenuous position because the Founding Fathers were very specific.
In a letter Thomas Jefferson sent to James Madison in December 1787, he wrote: “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time-to-time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”
James Madison wrote of every able-bodied man capable of bearing arms being the militia. George Mason in the debate on the ratification of the Constitution before the Virginia Assembly, said: “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” And one of the best known quotes by Jefferson comes from the first draft of the Virginia Constitution, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
The problem with the liberal perspective is it blames guns for the carnage in Chicago. If guns are to blame then the solution is to disarm everyone. It overlooks the culpability of those wielding guns because it is far easier to blame guns than to address the real problem, those that are using guns illegally.