CNN Op-ed needs a refresher on rights, guns, and reality

Glock Model 21" by Michael @ NW Lens is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED.

There are a lot of anti-gun screeds being written today. Such is the way after any mass shooting. For those who believe gun control is the answer to such things, each mass shooting is some kind of sick validation of their premise that guns are the problem.


Never mind that we’ve seen them in the most gun-controlled state in the nation–two within a two-day span back in January–or that we’ve seen them in other nations with strict gun control policies.

Yet one particular op-ed, one from CNN, popped up on my radar earlier today.

Much of it is nothing new. It’s the kind of thing we see on a regular basis, even when there hasn’t been a horrific atrocity in recent days.

This one, though, has something I really need to address.

In one sense, Cornyn – who predicted no action on guns until at least the next election – was simply stating the facts. Biden does call for an assault weapons ban after most mass shootings. But to hear such a suggestion described as “tired talking points” is still jarring after Monday’s shooter was carrying two AR-style weapons and killed six people.

The Texas senator also encapsulated the reality, frustration and limitations of the guns debate. He said that such bans would affect “law-abiding citizens” adding, “I don’t believe those law-abiding citizens are a threat to public safety.”

Cornyn is right that most Americans who own such firearms never infringe the law, use their weapons recklessly or much less launch mass shootings. But at the same time, some of these weapons designed for the battlefield have the capacity to cause enormous carnage in just a few moments. The assailants that open fire with them in schools, shopping malls or bars have sometimes been law-abiding until their attacks.

The political argument on guns is essentially about the rights of which Americans take priority. Is it those of citizens who own such weapons, even though a tiny minority of them use them to create mayhem and murder? Or should it be the victims of gun crime, like those kids and adults gunned down in Nashville, who had their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness eradicated in a few seconds of terror?


Now, I’m sure the author is quite sure this is some kind of a slam dunk.

It ain’t.

Am I saying these children had no right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Not remotely. As human beings, the right to do those things was theirs for the taking. Unfortunately, someone else did the taking and took it from them.

Yet comparing that to the right to keep and bear arms isn’t quite what the author suggests.

What he’s done is present a false dichotomy based on the premise that it was a lack of laws protecting the right to life for these children. However, the act that deprived them of it was already illegal. Protections were in place for that right. It just didn’t help.

At some point, people like the writer must quit trying to pretend we ignore such rights in favor of guns. The two aren’t at odds.

The reality is that both sets of rights matter. They’re not at odds with one another. The only reason it looks like it, though, is because people like the author cannot fathom anything other than gun control as a way to address such things.

It’s myopic at best to make the claim, but then again, this is CNN.


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