Ask anyone who is engaged in making noise for Gun-nut Nation why they think the 2nd Amendment is so important and they’ll tell you that we ‘need’ the ‘2nd Amendment’ to keep us ‘free.’ Or they’ll mumble something about the God-given ‘right’ to self-defense. Or you’ll get some half-cocked lecture on the ‘tyranny’ of government or some other nonsense.
I prefer the argument about the importance of the 2nd Amendment made by one of America’s most fervent gun owners, who not only was a life-long devotee to hunting in all forms, but also just happened to be the 26th President of the United States. In 1887 Roosevelt formed the Boone and Crockett club whose mission, then and now, was to develop public policies that would create a balance between the desires of hunters to kill game and the necessity to preserve species. Ultimately, B&C’s membership included just about every major figure in the environmental movement (Grinnell, Pinchot, Leopold) because they all agreed with Thoreau who said, “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.”
Here’s how Boone & Crockett defines the importance of the 2nd Amendment today:
“The Club is concerned with any restriction on the public’s legal right to own and use firearms for hunting that could weaken or undermine our unique and successful system of wildlife conservation.”
Hey! What happened to the God-given ‘right’ to self defense? Where’s all that talk about protecting us from the ‘tyranny’ of government? What about all those ‘patriots’ who demonstrate their love of country by walking into a Starbucks with an AR-15 slung over their backs?
I’ll tell you where it is. It’s a crock of sh*t. You want to believe that there is one, single community in the entire United States that is safer because everyone’s walking around with a gun? Tell that one to the residents of Sanford, FL whose armed, community-watch guy named George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012. Or try that argument out with the families and friends of the teachers and children slaughtered at Sandy Hook. After all, both Adam Lanza and his mother believed that having an assault rifle in their home represented their first line of defense.
I have spent the last seven years trying to convince gun owners that the armed, self-defense argument is nothing but a marketing scam. I have also spent the last seven years trying to make Gun-control Nation understand that ‘reasonable’ gun restrictions which preserve legal access to lethal products like assault rifles and hi-capacity, concealable handguns is also a marketing scam. Both arguments are nothing more than what pro-gun and anti-gun organizations believe their constituencies want to hear. To quote myself this time, both arguments are a crock of sh*t.
On the other hand, everyone likes the idea of wilderness. Nobody would dare argue with the concept of a tree. And this is why I think both sides in the gun debate need to spend some time thinking about the 2nd Amendment in terms of what the Boone & Crockett club has to say. Not only thinking about it, but thinking that perhaps here is the real common ground where both sides should meet.
Stay tuned and enjoy a lovely weekend.