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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guns - Second Amendment Rights Can Cause Rather than Appease Fear

Although Second Amendment Rights were created by America's Founding Father's to help protect people from harm, this privilege is now causing more fear than reassurance.  People are buying guns like never before because many fear others who own them.  This paranoia is out of control and there are likely more guns in American circulation than there are people to protect.

But, many paranoid Second Amendment fundamentalists are ordinary people who steadfastly believe they have a right to own as many guns as they can afford, whether they ever use them (or intend to use them) or not.    Stephen King described these good minded individuals in his excellent essay, "Guns" where he magnificently (albeit with harshly realistic current events) describes how guns are wrongly perceived  as necessary by right wing extremists. 

King writes:
"Most Americans who insist upon their rights to own as many guns (and of as many types) as they want, see themselves as independent folks who stand on their own two feet; they may send food or cloths to the victims of a natural disaster but they sure-God don't want charity themselves. They are, by and large, decent people who want to help their neighbors, do volunteer work in the community and would not hesitate to stop and help a neighbor broke down on the side of the road.  They are more apt to vote for increasing law enforcement funds than school improvement funds, reasoning (and not without some logic) that keeping kids safe is more important that getting them new desks. They have no problem with drug and alcohol recovery long as they are in somebody else's neighborhood. They can weep for the dead children and bereft parents of Sandy Hook, then wipe their eyes and write their congressmen and women about the importance of preserving the right to bear arms."

Constitutional Second Amendment rights, allowing Americans to own and bear arms, are often politicized while current events report life and death drama about those who deliberately abuse this privilege.  

Right wing advocates for this Constitutional privilege deliberately create paranoia about government taking away the right to bear arms.  They're stocking up on guns and ammunition, thereby stirring undue fear in the public, creating anxiety among law abiding citizens who can't understand why some people need so many of them. After all, one human being can only use one gun at a time. Owning an outrageous number of guns doesn't protect a person from attack any more rigorously than one gun aimed at a threat.

Paranoia about the unreasonable need for guns is fueled by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Rather than call for common sense solutions to curb the fear and muck raking about gun ownership, the NRA calls for people to own more arsenals of guns and ammunition, if they choose.  Yet, it turns out, this stubborn entrenchment may have more to do with conflict of interest of the Association's Board members than with protecting people or Constitutional Rights.  When the leadership of the NRA is disclosed, it turns out there are Board members who have a financial conflict of interest with their positions. In fact, policies that foster gun ownership improve the profits of those who sell guns.  Some influential people who run the NRA also own gun manufacturing businesses.  (Check link -

Obviously, change in NRA advocacy for unlimited gun ownership won't happen soon, regardless of how unbridled gun ownership impacts on innocent people, especially, if regulatory practices negatively impact sales and profits.

Sadly, reforming America's Second Amendment doesn't seem likely, but that doesn't mean reasonable people should stop trying to do the right thing. Brave people must call for reform, even when they're grieving over the loss of a loved one or are, themselves, recovering from gun violence.

Reasonable people can join with those who Stephen King identifies as independent folks who protect guns but cry when others are harmed.  We can join with them, as well as with those who are harmed by gun violence and those fearful of facing harm.  It's time we work together to solve the problem of gun violence rather than create even more fear.  Second Amendment Rights are not intended to create fear.  Nevertheless, and unfortunately, fear is now driving both sides of this issue.

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