And I must point out, just to reinforce the whole rights / responsibilities thing, where laws do not grant rights, only limit them...
When we pass a anti-discrimination law, for example, we limit the right of a bigot to be a bigot, because the target of the bigotry is being harmed.
We pass laws to address matters of harm and property. Guns are property, and they are causing harm, and this is totally the privy of law.
Now, there are other options! I was going to write this above, but didn't.
Basically, gun owners have a burden. Their right to bear arms could put the general welfare into conflict, as well as protect the general welfare. Cuts both ways.
So, it's not like we don't want the guns. SCOTUS made that clear. But, they also said that regulation that addresses a known harm would stand, because that's what we do to manage conflicting actions of a otherwise free people.
The amount of gun violence is excessive. It needs management. Now, here's the interesting part:
If, gun owners stepped up and really did the work to better secure the arms, and perhaps change norms, such that the real impact of loose guns, in the hands of not so stellar people is a serious deal, then perhaps we wouldn't need law.
Our system allows for the people to take care of their own, and I think that's forgotten a whole lot of the time.
You know, when it was my shot at the norms, I did the work. All of my kids know about guns, shot them, understand the danger of them, and were educated rather completely on the handling, potential issues, FUN (and guns are pretty damn fun, when being used safely and responsibly), NECESSARY (I hunted as a kid for food because we were that poor at times), and so on.
The norms set are solid.
Not everybody does that, and in particular there isn't a lot of calling out on slackers.
The ass selling guns on the street needs a talking to. Who will do it and why?
If the right to bear is really that important, and any infringment is seen as a threat, I suggest those adamant gun owners get to work on norms and cleaning their house, or the law will be used to do it over time.
Funny how that Constitution works, isn't it?
In this world, there is money (or markets), law, norms, physics that regulate behavior. Law is only one part of a bigger story needed to successfully manage a society such that it serves it's people.
Go and think about that dynamic, and what SCOTUS said should become more clear.
Frankly, I think they made the right ruling. For a very long time the matter was not settled, and it inhibited the boundary of law, causing a lot of conflict, and difficulty establishing both it and norms.
Well, now the law is settled. I'm ok with that because now the civics surrounding guns are perfectly clear. People get to have them, and so they shall. But, like anything, they must manage that, or be regulated such that the society, the nation as a whole does not suffer undue harm.
That's where we are today.
And I find it particularly galling to hear, "why not enforce the law we have", without also hearing that work is being done to manage the norms in play.
There are a lot of people who think the law in AZ, where concealed without permit is a good thing. Frankly, open carry is something I would prefer no permit, but not concealed. A unstable person, concealing will see no social pressure to yield the gun, or get help. That same person open carry wouldn't go long before somebody steps in and asks a few questions.
Those questions, by the way, are a significant part of how we actually do enforce the law we have on the books. Not to mention the GOP generally down on things like mental health services necessary to even get at the problem. (among many other things)
So then, is that law a good law? I don't think so, because there is essentially NO accountability for ownership when there is no personal data associated with ownership.
Open carry is basically visible. Your peers know you have the gun, and your peers can make judgements about you and what they do based on that info. Concealed denies people that ability to measure their risk, and the cost of that is some authority some where asserting that the owner specifically isn't a risk, which warrants the permission to carry concealed.
It's shit like this, where every attempt to get some accountability really make me question whether or not the very pro gun owners really understand the dynamics in play here. Lots of self-serving behavior in play, and you know what all of that does to norms?
They go out the window, such that any reasonable education on guns that could actually do some serious damage on the death and harm caused by the pervasive ownership of them is broken, just as the law is in like kind.
We flat out hold each other accountable. Gun owners are no different. Dangerous things need to be managed. Lots of ways to do that. We have left the time of the pioneering where there were wide open spaces, little conflict, and a need for the gun just to endure the world.
It's not like that for the vast majority of people, and our norms surrounding gun ownership have not responded to that change, and our law hasn't either, both seriously inhibited by people who own guns so worried that they might be taken away, that they are insuring by their own actions that more burdensome regulation can and will occur.
Just once I would like to see some serious discussion on what we can do with NORMS, just as much as we do LAW in response to a shooting incident, or notable accident. Just once. Gun owners actually stepping up and working on the problem, admitting that we actually do have a problem, and taking ownership of it LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, instead of finger pointing with the whole, "it's not me" that always, invariably comes up.
Truth is, WE live with the guns. There isn't sides in this thing. There are a lot of guns and people, and where that's concentrated, people die more than where it isn't concentrated. Fact.
I'll bet if the studies are done on education and norms, where those are strong, and properly aligned with the risks guns present, people won't die as much, and that's the entire justification needed right there.
Finally, if we are going to say, "enforce the laws we have", well the Constitution itself is there, along with the SCOTUS decisions on many, many similar things, and the message is clear.
Those that own dangerous things have a burden to limit the danger, or they will be regulated until they do.
Posted on January 14, 2011 - 02:04 AM