We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ 2nd Amendment.

              I bought my first, real gun in 1956 from some swamp rat at a tag show in the Florida Glades. From then until 2008, when my friend Tony Scalia told me I had a Constitutional ‘right’ to own a gun, as long as it was a handgun and I kept it in my home, I probably bought and sold at least 500 guns. At an average of 10 guns a year, for a gun nut that’s no big deal.

              One of those guns was a Colt Single Action Army manufactured in 1886. Another was a beautiful, pristine Colt 1911 built in 1919. There was also a Walther P5 that I bought from a Lufthansa  crew member one night when we were all sitting around drinking in some Hofbrau Haus on East 86th Street in New York. At some point, I think I traded those guns and some others for a Harley Low Ryder. I then rebuilt my gun stash when I sold the Harley the following year.

              Not one of those transactions had any Constitutional protection at all. In not one instance when I either bought or sold a gun was I exercising any kind of Constitutional ‘right.’ Know what? As far as the Feds were concerned, there wasn’t a single one of those transfers that was against the law. Well, maybe I wasn’t old enough to buy that beautiful Smith & Wesson K-38 when I was twelve years old, but you get my point. Americans bought and sold millions of personally-owned guns, probably hundreds of millions before the 2008 Heller decision, and nobody cared.

              I have been writing about guns and gun violence since 2012, there are now nearly 1,400 columns on my blog, 10 books in print, profiles in The New Yorker and The (failing) New York Times. I have been consistent in my argument from first to last, namely, that guns should be owned for hunting and sport. Anyone who thinks they should be walking around defending the neighborhood with a gun in his pocket is concocting an argument that has no basis in reality at all. Unless, of course, he also happens to be wearing a shield, because that’s what he’s being paid to do.

              Every time I say the above in print I receive emails and Facebook posts from my friends in Gun-nut Nation accusing me of being a Bloomberg stooge, a liberal jerk pretending to be a ‘gun guy,’ or worse. When I first started writing I received some threats, but those seem to have stopped appearing since the internet has become somewhat patrolled. I never took the threats seriously, by the way, although our friend Shannon Watts is still obliged to hire protective services when she appears.

              The truth is that all this talk about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ ramping up again as even Trump says something about supporting background checks, is nothing more than sturm und drang nonsense that has nothing to do with guns or gun ownership at all. The government is never (read: never) going to ‘take away’ everyone’s guns; the slide into Fascism that was accompanied by a restrictive gun law passed by Hitler isn’t going to happen here.

              Notwithstanding last week’s mass shootings and Trump’s encouragement of racist (‘send ’em back’) screeds, we happen to live in a remarkably law-abiding country, something which is often forgotten on both sides of the debate about guns. Most of the folks fervently supporting more gun laws happen to live in neighborhoods where gun violence rarely, if ever occurs. For that matter, all those armed vigilantes who fantasize going around and protecting their neighborhoods also happen to live in peaceful, quiet zones.

              So why is there such a big deal about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights?’ Because that’s how the narrative has been framed over the last ten years, and most folks find it easy and convenient to repeat what they hear from someone else without taking the trouble to think it through on their own.

              Remember ‘make love not war?’ Now we can say ‘make noise not war.’

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ 2nd Amendment.

  1. Its kinda like free speech, gay rights, and the right to an abortion. The Bill of Rights provisions only come into play when people try to restrict individual actions beyond a point where it is Constitutionally valid to push back.

    I don’t think there was a tsunami of First Amendment law prior to WW I but in the century since Schenck, a lot of cases have made law at the SCOTUS level and generally expanded 1A protections. Prior to Roe v Wade, there was a dearth of fighting about abortion. And then came marriage equality, etc.

    Heller reaffirmed an individual right, but left vast latitude for government policy making (see Winkler or read the decision). The result has been, like Roe v Wade, a constant battle to move the goalposts back and forth. Maybe that is good, maybe bad. But it sure keeps the volume control at 11 out of 10.

    I do get the impression that these last two mass shootings may have been the Stalingrad of the gun rights war. But I’ve rarely been right before on anything.

  2. A few things to remember about Mike the “Gun Guy”…

     Mike says that so called “Assault Rifles” are “TOO DANGEROUS” for “REGULAR PEOPLE” to own….

    In Fact, He just helped write a law that would BAN THEM (and many other Firearms too…) in the state of Florida
    (a state he does NOT even live in)….

    But, Mike must not be “REGULAR PEOPLE”, because he’s owned a few of these “Dangerous and Unusual Military” weapons himself.

    He bought his first AR-15 in 1978, and STILL currently owns two black guns, a Colt H-Bar and a Ruger Mini-14, along with a Mossberg TACTICAL shotgun….

    Mike says guns are only useful for Hunting and Target practice, and thinks the idea of Carrying a Gun for self Defense is a Stupid Fantasy.

    Which is Weird considering that Mikey has hapily made money training “more that 7,000 Men and Women in gun Safety and SELF DEFENSE”….

    Mike knows that HANDGUNS are only good for Killing People, and are the firearms most commonly used during the commission of Crimes…

    Which is why MIKE OWNS TONS OF HANDGUNS including “every Glock 9, the two John Browning masterpieces, a Colt 1911 and a P-35, a Walther PP in 22, another Walther PP in 32…” Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera….

    ….BUT HE WOULD NEVER DREAM OF CARRYING THEM OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE….

    EXCEPT (of course) “a little TPH for when I’m out walking in shorts”, or the Snubby revolver that he admits to stuffing into the Front Bib pocket of his Overalls (WITHOUT a Holster)……

    Because you see, Mikes a Compilated guy…

    A Mystery….

    An Enigma….

    A Gun Lover (for him), and a Gun Banner (for you)…..

    Mike the (so called) “Gun Guy”…..

    ….IS A HYPOCRITE!!!!!!

  3. The 2A does have only one protection for private arms ownership, and as Mike says, it’s for home defense. That’s per Heller and it goes back to our English roots.

    Our guns are very safe from strict government intervention. They’d be even safer if we had a tight federal background check, mandatory safe storage and a few other federal measures (that don’t include any bans). It’s the gun carnage we suffer, at a rate way higher than our peer nations, that’s the problem.
    Gun laws are not a threat to gun rights. Gun violence is.

Leave a Reply