It seems that the shooting spree in Arizona did little to convince Americans that our country is too steeped in a culture of guns, and it is disturbing because there is a segment of the population that believes violence toward the government is justified. There has always been uproar against gun control by conservatives who cite the 2nd Amendment, but since the election of Barack Obama, it has been ramped up by the NRA and its members; including Sarah Palin.
The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The amendment from December 15, 1791, was passed so states and the federal government had the ability to field a well-regulated militia for defense of the country because there was no standing army. Today each state has a National Guard and the country has an army so the necessity of a militia is non-existent. Furthermore, the great majority of gun owners do not belong to a militia of any kind much less a well-regulated one. The militias in America are fringe groups that are race oriented or anti-government paramilitary assemblies standing ready to fight the tyranny of the Obama Administration.
The NRA lobby is one of the biggest in the nation, and their membership of 4 million runs the gamut from sport hunters, collectors, and police, to radical militias planning assaults on the government or law enforcement officials. Although the NRA claims they support and promote gun ownership in accordance with the 2nd Amendment, they have fought to defeat any type of regulation claiming that restricting possession of any weapon is the beginning of an outright ban on gun ownership. It is reasonable to assume that economics plays a major role in the NRA’s opposition to gun control of any type. Gun manufacturers are a big business in America and their financial interest is bolstered by the Right who uses the gun culture to consolidate influence over the hearts and minds of many Americans; especially conservatives.
Gun control advocates have made headway in the past 40 years every time there is a slaughter like the shootings in Columbine and the massacre at Virginia Tech, but Americans have short attention spans and within months of a tragic shooting spree, interest in gun control wanes. Regardless the amount of carnage wreaked by semi-automatic weapons or assault-style guns, the NRA and conservatives vehemently fight any type of gun control measure citing protection of the 2nd Amendment. There is no useful purpose for assault weapons or semi-automatic guns except to kill large numbers of human beings. One must wonder that if the Arizona shooter didn’t have a clip that held 30 rounds; would the victim count have been so high? A standard clip for the handgun Jared Loughner used to kill 6 people and injure 13 holds 10 rounds.
The rise of the tea party and their belief that the Obama Administration is tyrannical and suppressing the liberties of Americans has engendered a renewed interest in citizens arming themselves in case they have to rise up to defend their freedom. Their mindset that they will have to defend their liberty comes from Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin among others at Fox News, and is based on fabrications that Obama will take their guns. During the 2008 presidential election, Palin repeated the mantra that Obama would take their guns and her lies were bolstered by nonstop rhetoric and campaigning from the NRA at gun shows and shooting ranges around the country. The gun ban rhetoric has continued unabated by the NRA, and at its convention in 2010, Palin warned, “Don’t doubt for a minute that, if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the Second Amendment. It’s the job of all of us at the NRA and its allies to stop them in their tracks.”
Glenn Beck tells his audience that he only trusts “God, guns, and gold,” and in 2009 his program gamed a 2014 civil war scenario that involves citizen militias in the South and West taking up arms against the U.S. government. Beck interviewed NRA spokesperson Chuck Norris and during the conversation Beck said, “If this country starts to spiral out of control, Americans won’t stand for it. There will be parts of the country that will rise up…where’s that going to come from? Texas, it’s going to come from Texas.” There is an excellent document that lays out an insurrection time line of violent incidents and near misses that involve individuals bent on overthrowing the government or killing legally elected representatives. Read it here.
With violent rhetoric from Beck, Palin warning her supporters that President Obama will take their guns, and the NRA protecting 2nd Amendment rights, it is no wonder that 18 – 25% of Americans feel it is justified in using violence against the government. It also explains why many gun rights activists oppose a ban on military assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons because they feel they are preparing for civil war or a new revolution. It is obvious their interests are not in sport hunting or target shooting competitions. Semi-automatic pistols that hold 30 rounds and assault rifles are not firearms used to hunt or for target practice; they are weapons of war to kill human beings.
America has more gun-related deaths than any country in the world, and although the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to own firearms, there must be a middle ground. The NRA and conservatives need to keep the gun control issue in the voters’ minds to maintain a semblance of control and distraction. America can have sensible gun control without an outright ban on firearms, but for that to happen, the NRA and conservatives will have to consider the welfare of the American people. It is unlikely though because the NRA and conservatives are only interested in money and control; our welfare is not in their plans.