My Second Amendment Conversation

One day recently, a long-time customer of mine popped into my store to say hello. He is a gentleman that I have had many topic-spanning discussions with throughout the years. However, during the past several years, he turned to Fox News as his primary media content source. It happened around the same time Candidate Trump was running against Hillary Clinton and when he began knocking any news media that did not agree with his philosophy.

On this occasion, he arrived just as there was talk of raising the age limit to purchase a gun. For this blog post, I will refer to him as Thomas. For the reader’s sake, I will begin with the actual topic and skip the preamble.

“All I can say is that I am glad we may finally raise the age to 21,” I said. “We know teenagers’ brains are still developing, and guns are deadly weapons.”

He laughed. A big, boisterous laugh, as is his typical nature. Thomas’s average speaking volume is a level eight. “But we can throw them overseas and give them guns to kill people!”

“Oh, no!” My hand shot up in a stop motion. “I ain’t having any of that shit. The Army doesn’t just hand a bunch of kids guns and send them into battle. First, they have to go through training, lessons, and practice shooting. Second, I’m sure they need to know how to dismantle and perform quick repairs if possible since they are going into combat.”

He issued a hmm. “So you would be okay if a teenager had training?”

“Absolutely!” I said, nodding. “Listen. I’m all for the Second Amendment giving citizens the right to own guns. I have several myself and have a Concealed Weapons Permit. But I had to go through an instructional course and pass a test. Suppose a teenager wants to go through the same training as Army recruits which I think is like seventy hours and shooting around five hundred. Then I would be okay with teenagers owning guns. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable if teenagers had trained first?” [1]

“Yeah. Yeah, I would. That’s fair. Even I could agree with that stipulation as long as people like Pelosi don’t get it into their sick heads to take people’s guns away. Then we’ll have Sharia Law. Then we will have to fight against the government.”

“Thomas,” I said, shaking my head. “You know I love you, Dude, but you need to stop listening to Fox Opinion News. “

“Yeah. Who should I listen to? Fake CNN?”

“No. It would be best if you listened to your general common sense. But unfortunately, news media companies only push one idea or opinion to their listeners all day until it seems to be fact, and people start parroting the same phrases. Anyway. Here in America, we have the Constitution, under which is the Second Amendment. That gives us the right to own firearms. But the only thing protecting you and those guys with thousands of guns in their basements from being eradicated from the government is the law, not the Second Amendment.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. You’re saying the second amendment allows us to have guns, but it’s the law that protects us from the government?”

“Yes, it does. Listen, I could have a zillion guns in my home with all the plans to keep the government from invading my land. I could be like the Bundy Ranch folks. The United States Law prohibits the Federal Government from sending a laser-guided missile from a drone and blowing my ass off planet Earth. The Constitution does not give me that protection in the Second Amendment[2]. Laws do. But if we keep allowing our elected officials to eat away at the laws of the United States, at some point, the person in charge of the golden button can press it and kill whoever they want. Right now, almost 400 million weapons are owned by Americans. Do you honestly think that amount of weapons can overthrow the United States? If that were the case, a small country would have overthrown us already.”

“That’s nonsense. The Bundy Ranch held back the Feds. The Feds fled.”

“Yeah. Because of the Law. That’s what protected them, not their guns. I find it hysterical all these people piping on about their guns and the Second Amendment while politicians divert your attention and slowly eat away our rights as citizens. If we keep going on the current path, there will come a day when the government will take away so many rights that weapons will be an easy hurdle to overcome.”

“Not if the Republicans win! The Democrats want to take guns away.”

“They never said that; they want comprehensive gun legislation to limit the type of weapons citizens can have. We know this works in other countries, and it’s not like we are doing something new. In 1994 an  Assault Weapons Ban was passed[3]. The Bill had a ten-year limit, but in 2004 all republicans refused to renew it and the law dissolved. Since then, look at how many mass shootings we’ve had that used assault weapons that were once banned. People don’t need military-style weapons. As I’ve said, those weapons will never overthrow the United States, but do kill more people faster in a shorter period of time.”

“You’ve given me a lot to think about.” He was silent for a minute. “I will have to look into what you said. But I will always support the Second Amendment.”

“I will, too,” I replied honestly. “ But let me leave you with one last thought. In 2003 a shoe bomber tried to get onto a plane. The bomb never went off. But one week later, our lives changed forever. Now we must take our shoes off whenever we want to board a plane. Yet, since 2010, over 150 children have died by assault weapons, and we have done nothing. Think about that.”

He did for a minute with a deep frown. “I will.” He said finally.

[1] I had to research what I said. I was close enough for the conversation: In the past, new soldiers in Basic Combat Training (BCT) shot 500 rounds and received 83 hours of marksmanship instruction over 16 days. The redesigned standards have soldiers shooting 600 rounds and receiving 92 hours of training.

[2] 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.

[3] The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act or Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) was a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a United States federal law which included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms that were defined as assault weapons as well as certain ammunition magazines that were defined as large capacity.

The 10-year ban was passed by the U.S. Congress on August 25, 1994 and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994.[1] The ban applied only to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban’s enactment. It expired on September 13, 2004, in accordance with its sunset provision. Several constitutional challenges were filed against provisions of the ban, but all were rejected by the courts. There were multiple attempts to renew the ban, but none succeeded.

A 2019 DiMaggio et al. study looked at mass shooting data for 1981 to 2017 and found that mass-shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur during the 1994 to 2004 federal ban period, and that the ban was associated with a 0.1% reduction in total firearm homicide fatalities due to the reduction in mass-shootings’ contribution to total homicides.

A 2018 Rand review found four studies that looked at the impact of mass shootings on assault weapon laws, and the impact of assault weapon laws on mass shootings. They concluded that “Gius (2015c) found that these bans significantly reduce mass shooting deaths but have uncertain effects on injuries resulting from mass shootings. Using similar models, however, Gius (2018) found that assault weapon bans resulted in significantly fewer casualties (deaths and nonfatal injuries) from school shootings. Using a data set similar to that used in Gius (2015c), Luca, Malhotra, and Poliquin (2016) found uncertain effects of state assault weapon bans on the annual incidence of mass shootings. And Blau, Gorry, and Wade (2016) found that the bans significantly reduced the annual incidence of mass shootings.”

A 2017 review found that there was no evidence that the Federal Assault Weapons Ban had a significant effect on firearm homicides.

According to research done by the Violence Policy Center, in 2016 one in four law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were killed by an assault weapon. A 2018 study examined the types of crime guns recovered by law enforcement in ten different cities and found that assault weapons and semiautomatic guns outfitted with large capacity magazines generally accounted for between 22 to 36% of crime guns recovered by police.

3 thoughts on “My Second Amendment Conversation

  1. The law only protects as long as people want to follow and enforce it. In the summer of 2020 riots, the law was largely ignored and was not enforced. Same was true in January 6.

    I would not want citizens, especially those under age twenty one, to have semi-automatic weapons with large magazines no matter how much training they have had. People can kill each other with knives, six shot revolvers, and double barreled shotguns like they always have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I agree with you about sales under twenty-one, if it came to not increasing the age limit at all, or increasing the age only if under twenty-one could purchase if training and schooling took place. I would allow training because not many would want to go through the intense training process. It would be a comprimise, but still create the first fracture in a long-standing standoff.


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