Our Freedoms and Morality?

Some people wonder why there is such a fight over the 2nd Amendment.  They throw morality into the picture, but it is a morality of their beliefs.  “Don’t you want to protect our children from mass shootings?” or “Don’t you want to protect your family from home invaders?”  Those are two different angles on the topic.  The one thing people for extensive gun control lack (for the most part) are knowledge about the firearms they want to ban, and how the constitution works.

The first topic is easy enough to fix.  Learn!  Learn what an AR-15 actually is.  Learn that the AR is just a platform.  Learn that there are far more brutal and effective guns and ammo than an AR-15 and the .223/5.56.  Understand that an AR is not an “automatic rifle.”  It is an Armalite Rifle (company that originally made them over 50 years ago).  Understand that there is no such thing as a fully semi-automatic rifle, and that an AR is a semi-automatic weapon, just like a handgun, shotgun, and every other civilian handgun out there.  Learn that no civilian can own a fully automatic firearm without going through extensive background checks, paying the government a lot of money, and basically giving up their privacy for the ability to own a fully automatic or suppressed firearm.

Having said that, there needs to be some work on background checks.  Every firearm I have purchased, I had an FBI background check done.  With my conceal carry permit, I had a more extensive check done.  If you are a felon, you cannot own a firearm.  If you have any type of domestic abuse charges, you cannot own a firearm.  If you are mentally fucked, you cannot own a firearm.  That doesn’t mean you can’t lie on your form, but lying on your form is a federal offense.  Criminals will not get their guns through legal means because legal means will not allow them to own a gun.  States might have different laws on age limits, magazine limits, etc on owning a firearm.  Many states require a person to be 21 or older to own a pistol.  What about a rifle?  To purchase one, 18 years old.  I know many kids as young as 6 that have rifles.  Can’t we raise the age to own a rifle to 21?  That is a dangerous path to go on.  It can be a slippery slope.  If 18 is too young to own a firearm, maybe it is too young to vote.  After all, 18 is supposed to be the age when children become adults and have all of the same responsibilities as the rest of us.

This brings is to the constitutional part of the conversation.  The amendments are typically written to grant or expand on rights, not take them away.  The 18th amendment put a ban on alcohol.  It took away rights.  That amendment was abolished several amendments later because it overstepped its boundaries… and no one followed it, creating a black market and created criminal empires like the American mafia families.  Do the same with firearms, and a similar market will be created.  That, however, is not the point.  When you start messing with amendments, you start going down a slippery slope.  If the founding fathers were not smart enough to realize there would be technological advances over hundreds of years, and we all should  just have muskets, then, the Internet, Facebook, Instagram, photo journalism (magazines, photos in newspapers), etc should be banned or free speech does not be appy to those mediums because the founding fathers could not possibly have  foreseen those advancements.  Yes, that is a ridiculous argument, but if you apply that logic to the 2nd amendment, it would also have to be applied to the 1st amendment when it comes before the Supreme Court.  Remember, the court system will often use previous cases as precedence for current and new rulings.  Look at the Supreme Court case of the District of Columbia vs. Heller.  In the third point of that decision, the government cannot ban a certain “class of arms.”  This means, they cannot ban handguns, rifles, shotguns; however, limits can be set on that class.  The federal government allows any civilian the ability to own a fully automatic rifle if they pay a lot of money, give up privacy, and go through extensive checks.  States, however, can limit that on their own terms.  That’s why states like New York and California and cities like Chicago can state magazine limits and put in extremely tough laws (which does nothing to prevent crime – just look at statistics for confirmation on that).

Why stop at the 1st and 2nd amendment.  Why not abolish the 3rd amendment and allow the government to take your home and house military solders.  Guess what, it happens today anyways.  Why not get rid of the 4th amendment that protects you from illegal search and seizures.  You know Billy, who is a drug dealer, so that must mean you are a drug dealer too and have drugs and weapons in your house.  Why would the government need a warrant for that?  Guess what, that one is also violated by our own government.  All of these violations can be attributed to a “moral” stance.  “We have a moral obligation to wipe out mass shootings and drug overdoses, so it is okay if we have a gray area and violate these amendments.”  The problem is that for every instance that is used against someone who is doing something illegal, it is used against someone who has done nothing wrong.  When you start injecting morality into law, shit goes south.  There is a separation between church and state.  The 1st amendment gives us a right to practice whatever religion we want; however, morality is a religious construct.  Some religions say murder is 100% bad.  Others say it is bad unless it is against people outside your religion AKA “acceptable or good.”  If we are not supposed to inject religion into our laws, this means we cannot inject morality into it.  We, therefore, cannot have a moral obligation to protect people from mass shootings via the amendments just as we cannot protect people from hateful speech since doing so would violate the 1st amendment.  Hateful speech is a moral construct.  One person’s hateful speech might just be fact.  Early scientists were banished and even killed for saying the Earth went around the sun.  To some people, those facts were hateful, immoral speeches.

“But isn’t murder a moral issue, and thus, should be allowed by your argument?”  That is dumb, but a reasonable question to ask.  The answer is, no.  Murder takes away our right to live.  Morality cannot be used to take away a right.  Morality can be used to grant a right that should have been present all along, like 13th and 19th amendments.  That is why we cannot use morality to abolish the 1st or 2nd amendment just because people say the founding fathers were too stupid to realize there would be technological advances and forms of everything they stated might evolve and change over hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Remember, 80% of a conversation is our listening, observing, and thinking.  Only 20% of a conversation should be us (a certain individual or side) talking.  Listen, think, research (both sides of the argument, not just the side that affirms your stance), and respond intelligently, without yelling.  That is how a conversation should go to be productive.