Freedom being the foundation upon which America began, surely when the constitution was written it was proper and prudent to allow citizens the unregulated ownership of firearms. But, in light of all the changes that have coming crashing over our nation like a tidal wave, specifically our advancements in weapons technology, how can such a haphazard legality continue to be the national standard?

It’s common knowledge that man is dangerous. It’s dizzily optimistic to think you can allow everyone access to the most powerful firearms available without this creating some ugly problems in return. Especially when you have an intense crime-fueling element like drugs booming in poverty-stricken inner cities.

But instead of being willing to engage in intelligible discourse on the moderation of gun ownership, the National Rifle Association is fundamentally (and some might say zealously) opposed to any restrictions made against the right to bear arms, citing the infallibility of the 2nd Amendment.

Never mind that instead of the single shot muskets they had back then, today’s guns are capable of successive rapid-fire discharge. Never mind that instead of the riders of Pony Express times, today’s disgruntled postal worker is packing Uzis and Ak-47s. Never mind that back when this country was founded, a kid who wanted to play with their dad’s gun had to first load it with gunpowder and ammo, whereas all kids today have to do is look in the closet or the dresser by the bed. Never mind the far more complicated and delicate nature of today’s social troubles. The NRA is willing to ignore all these realities in favor of their armed-to-the-teeth Utopia.

Given how insistent NRA members are to defend the 2nd Amendment above all other considerations, and given their penchant for owning the most powerful of weaponry, a firearm novice such as myself can’t help but wonder how many gun enthusiasts are simply sportsmen, and how many aren’t perhaps trying to compensate for some other shortcoming.

And then some enthusiasts are just hard-core paranoid. There are many so-called patriots who believe America is a law away from becoming a fascist dictatorship (usually under control of the nefarious U.N.), and that the only way to guarantee our freedom is for everyone to own as many firearms as possible. They crave the oh-so-sweet assurance of feeling they can be safe from all life’s evils so long as they’ve got their trusty assault rifle (or Bible, for that blasphemous matter) to hold and protect them.

I’m unaware as to whether Limbaugh is himself a member of the NRA, but whatever the case his views clearly fall in line with that all-or-nothing extremism. Limbaugh has said that Americans need the 2nd Amendment, specifically interpreted as the unlimited right to bear arms, in order to protect the 1st Amendment. As if to imply that without these assault and automatic weapons at our disposal, the government would quickly forbid freedom of speech and religion. There are more practical ways to keep our government in check, such built-in safeguards as a balance of powers, publicly elected officials, constituency, etcetera.

I am quite aware that the majority of gun enthusiasts aren’t in the mind of robbing or killing other humans. But still, all a gun is is a toy, a real deadly and destructive one. It is also a tool of power, of control, and I can certainly understand why people would be concerned about a government that exclusively held this power over its citizens. But only a hard-line radical would argue that people shouldn’t be allowed to own any firearms——all I’m saying is that it should be done in a reasonable manner, not with reckless abandon to insure that people can overthrow the government! (I think the idea is to allow people ownership of that which can be used effectively for sport or safety, but not allow ownership of firearms so powerful that, if in the wrong hands, could easily be used to slaughter a great deal of people in a short amount of time.)


Limbaugh complains that Hollywood isn’t glamorous like it was back in its heyday, whenever that was exactly. You’ve got these trouble-making directors like Spike Lee and Oliver Stone putting all their emphasis on the negative of our distinguishable past, you’ve got idiot filmmakers making t&a gorefests when clearly Bambi is all anyone ever wants to see. And you’ve got a lot of clueless movie stars inappropriately exploiting their celebrity to champion ‘‘leftist’’ causes such as the environment and homelessness.

But apparently Limbaugh only has a problem with the latter if he disagrees with the celebrity’s cause. Talk about movie stars using their celebrity to endorse ridiculous things——how about Charlton Heston supporting the NRA’s protest of the president’s proposed ban on assault weapons? Yet despite his annoyance with these other celebrity activists, Limbaugh roundly applauded Heston for his gesture.

During a press conference, Mr. Heston held up a picture of some guy that’d killed a bunch of people (I wasn’t familiar with the man or his crimes) with ‘‘This is an assault weapon’’ ® pointing at the man. Undoubtedly serial killers would persist without guns (it never stopped psychos like Jack the Ripper, Ed Gein, or Ted Bundy) and people will still be killed. But tell the people who were on that Long Island Railway that. Or those people in that SoCal McDonalds or that Luby’s Cafeteria in Texas. Or all those postal workers.

Keeping heavier artillery out of the hands of the general public isn’t going to end crime or violence, but, in specific instances and to the benefit of many lives, it certainly might help slow it down to a more survivable level.


Many people take the meaning of freedom for granted, when in fact it is open to varied interpretation——at least in the contexts of a government. For in the absolute sense, freedom means being able to kill and rape and pillage without any laws whatsoever.

But in the context of a government whose purpose is to help protect its citizens, freedom means something quite different; it means restricting certain freedoms in order to protect other more treasured and valued freedoms. That’s the paradox of freedom through government——you can’t have any freedom without the sacrifice of freedom. In that respect freedom isn’t free; I don’t think it should cost someone their life (such as in a military draft), but it definitely requires some sacrifices in return.

Obviously the most significant ‘‘sacrifice’’ made is in our right to endanger the well being of others. And the consequences of people’s actions is directly related to what they are allowed to own. If the general public was allowed ownership of nuclear weapons, for instance, then the detonation of such a device in the owner’s home would most certainly infringe upon the freedoms of their neighbors. And so, despite those mental cases who might argue that bombs don’t kill people, people kill people, this worst-case scenario clearly demonstrates the necessity of restricting what citizens are allowed to own.

More than protecting people from the cruelty or carelessness of others, though, the state extends this to protect those who might harm themselves with the use of controlled substances. (But again, you hear very few individuals defending cocaine or heroin chanting, ‘‘Drugs don’t kill people, people kill, um, themselves . . . or something.’’) Like guns, drugs don’t kill people. They’re the dangerous vehicle by which people kill themselves, and for that reason alone they should be illegal. To protect those people who might use, not own but use, certain drugs to their own endangerment.

And somehow it seems inconsistent and more than a little hypocritical that the same consideration of safety extended to people who might harm themselves (with the imprudent use of drugs) isn’t extended just as——or even more seriously——to those who might harm others (with the negligent or naughty use of firearms). Do people really pose greater threats to themselves than they do to each other? It makes about as much sense as sending someone who attempts suicide to the electric chair while letting an attempted murderer off scot-free.

The parallels between drugs and guns run deep. There’s the obvious correlation between drug prohibition and violent crime. There’s the hypocrisy of a government more concerned for the well being of those who might harm themselves with drugs than for the victims of shootings. And finally there’s the contrast between drug laws sweepingly restricting drugs as if they were all alike; and gun laws sweepingly allowing firearms as if they were all alike. And much like my defense of recreational drugs, I feel similar about the relative safety of certain guns. But under our law a joint is considered more dangerous than an assault weapon. Talk about our priorities being out of whack! It should by now be fairly obvious where this analogy is headed, but I’ll go ahead and spell it out for you anyway: Marijuana should be legal the same as sport and safety firearms; and narcotics and stimulants illegal the same as hard artillery. Much like hard drugs, certain guns should be restricted from the public. Not because there’s any danger in their ownership, but in their misuse; they should be prohibited because they are the dangerous vehicle by which so many people’s lives are tragically ended.


Think about what is required to drive a car on the streets of America. First you’ve gotta take driver’s ed, which mainly entails reading a bunch of instructional manuals and watching gruesome films of real-life auto fatalities (presumably to hammer home just how serious a responsibility driving is, though it’s more likely just to scare potential speeders and drunk drivers). Once you’ve passed driver’s ed you get your driving permit. Then you’ve gotta take driver’s training, only after so many hours of which you’re allowed to take a written exam and a driving test to get your license. It’s a fairly long and labored process meant to slowly educate one as to the nuances of safe driving. That’s because a car in the hands of an inexperienced driver can be quite a dangerous thing; and yet despite all these safety precautions, look at how many idiot drivers there are out there! (Granted I live in Los Angeles, but I cannot believe these people’s reckless driving habits are limited exclusively to the West Coast.)

In contrast to what it takes merely to drive an automobile, to buy a firearm all one need do is walk into any old gun store or corner pawnshop. To legally own that gun all one need do is register it. Now think of all those half-witted drivers out there——and yet surely a gun in the hands of an idiot or a lunatic can be infinitely more dangerous than the largest of automobiles driven by the elderliest of little old ladies. At the least owning a gun should require a safety course and a gun license much like that for driving a car. (Though frankly it’s pretty scary to think of a bunch of militia members waiting to register their firearms in as frustrating a place as the DMV.)

I’m sorry if the idea of a requisite safety course and gun license sounds rash and Big Brotherish, but it’s time to recognize firearms for the powerful tools of death and destruction they are, and that if our government is going to allow its citizens ownership of these, then it must be done so with much care and caution.


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