Confronting 'Gun Culture' Means Ignoring Constitution

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

I have no problem accepting that some people aren't fans of guns. I've known plenty of good, decent people who simply aren't comfortable with firearms and would rather not have them. I can respect this.

Where I run into a problem with someone is when their discomfort with guns or violence is used as justification for their efforts to prevent me from having guns.

A publication called Waging Nonviolence--which is apparently associated with the pacifist group Fellowship of Reconciliation--decided to take issue with "gun culture."

Now, taking issue with violent crime is totally within the realm of what a pacifist group would do, so I don't have an issue with that. I can even see them trying to tell me I shouldn't fight back because, well, they're pacifists.

I, however, am not, so when they decided to go beyond all that and attack "gun culture" instead, I got a little miffed.

While each horrific mass shooting is greeted with shock and prayers for the victims, political dysfunction in Washington has made substantial action by Congress impossible to achieve. Despite this partisan paralysis, in 2022, the Biden administration successfully pushed Congress to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first major gun violence protection legislation in 30 years. President Biden highlighted the issue of gun violence in his 2023 State of the Union, and in March 2023 he signed an executive order increasing background checks and the use of “red flag” laws.

Make no mistake about it, gun control legislation is important, and Congress can and should do more. They should pass an assault weapon ban and universal background checks for prospective gun purchasers. There is no earthly reason why anyone should possess what was designed as a weapon of war. And why would we ever allow anyone to purchase a weapon without a license? Yet if we only look at what legislation we can pass, we are missing a fundamental point.

Legislation and policies alone will not solve the problem. Nor will the rather bizarre proposals from gun advocates that we turn our schools and other public places into maximum security facilities with armed guards and kindergarten teachers carrying concealed weapons, or that we allow airline passengers to carry weapons — thereby creating a “mutually assured destruction” stand-off on planes, or in movie theaters, places of worship, etc.

The reality goes beyond policies or legislation. It isn’t just that our guns are too sophisticated for our own good, or the obscene number of them in circulation. Our problem is simpler and deeper. It is our sick “gun culture.”

The author goes on to argue that things like video games and television contribute to the problem, fueling violent crime despite evidence that video games may have been responsible for the decline of violent crime since the 1990s.

Of course, he then invokes the 1950 film "Gun Crazy" to support his thesis, because a violent film meant to entertain is really just a biography of someone who never existed or some other pathetically tortured nonsense.

To finish up, the author includes this:

We know all this. And yet there continues to be an obsession not only with owning weapons but with blocking any reasonable controls on their ownership. In the end, we have a “gun crazy” culture, armed to the teeth, with some believing that they are the true patriots defending liberty against tyranny. Despite their rants and threats, there must be an increased public pressure demanding the passage of new laws banning assault weapons and requiring background checks. But until we have a prolonged and serious national discussion about our sick love affair with guns and purge ourselves of this pathological obsession, we will only be skirting around the edges of an issue that is killing us — every day.

Yet nowhere in this entire screed is there any mention of the United States Constitution or, more specifically, the Second Amendment.

See, all the things he's demanding are what folks on this side of the debate call unconstitutional. The reason so many of us got into guns wasn't because we were characters in a 74-year-old movie but because there is violent crime all around us, and while we might not be destined to experience it, we don't want to take that chance.

There is no "pathological obsession" with guns.

There is, however, an obsession with making damn sure that our right to keep and bear arms is respected and that we have the means to defend ourselves.

Our pacifist author here would have us turn the other cheek, but that doesn't stop tyranny from forming in our backyard. How many times has history seen the rights of men trampled by the boots of their own governments? How many invaders have we seen roll over borders and commit atrocities on the people?

Our "obsession" is in defending what is right and what is good, which is where I can never side with pacifism.

Some things are worth fighting for, and that means having the means with which to conduct that fight. That includes the Constitution that was missing from this entire diatribe about how guns are bad.