gun ownership gun control second amendment liberty

Gun Lobbies Protect Their Business Or Our Liberty?
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US Gun Patriotism Or Hypocrisy?

Millions of Americans are armed yet don't rise up as do unarmed European. So why else do they oppose gun control? This 2012 article is by a frequent contributor, Dec 11, whose opinions may or may not coincide with any of ours. If you have a news article or op-ed, please submit it. The author was a senior staffer for the U.S. Congress and for the National Governors Association.

by Joel S. Hirschhorn

There is more private gun ownership in the US than any other nation. We have a far right part of the population with considerable public presence and power. FOX News, the Tea Party movement, and countless groups and think tanks angrily attacking the mainstream media, liberals, and leftist politicians as well as just about everything done by President Obama.

So, why hasn’t the massive number of gun lovers who worship the Second Amendment actually done what they claim is exactly needed, what the Second Amendment was created to give them the right to do, and what their massive gun power supposedly gives them the means to accomplish? Revolt!

How much worse does the government have to become before they finally get the courage to use their guns and restore American democracy and liberties?

After the election and reelection of President Obama, gun and ammunition sales skyrocketed, despite an already historic level of gun and ammunition ownership. Yet these millions of gun-happy constitutionalists do not act. What is going on?

Here is what I think. Most gun owners are receiving so many economic benefits from the existing government and economy that they are unwilling to risk all of them by a massive disruption of the whole US system, just like many protesting Tea Party people looking old enough to be collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits. They keep buying more expensive guns and ammunition, gold and hordes of long-lasting survival foods to satisfy their paranoid thoughts. They keep giving money to right wing causes. They have enough wealth to afford lots of things, especially expensive guns. Yet they do not revolt.

The plutocrats have no desire for a revolution that tears down the whole US political and economic system that they so benefit from. What the plutocracy has accomplished is to manipulate the gun crowd into supporting political causes that maintain the status quo that allows the upper rich to get richer. Keep thinking that you need guns to combat criminals, except there is no evidence that crime has actually been curbed by the massive gun ownership rather than other factors. Just don’t use them as defensive political tools. Don’t go the streets as Egyptians are doing. Of course, all those angry citizens do not have guns. Still, they put their lives on the line.

US gun owning population is on the decline with those gun owners stockpiling more firearms; 20 percent of the gun owners with the most firearms possessed about 65 percent of the nation’s guns; the US with 5 percent of the world’s population owns 50 percent of the world’s guns; the number of households owning guns has declined from almost 50 percent in 1973 to just over 32 percent in 2010.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported the economic impact of firearm sales — a figure that includes jobs. taxes and sales — hit $31 billion in 2011, up from $19 billion in 2008, an increase of 63 percent despite the economic recession. Fighting gun control has paid off for the gun industry.

I agree with Sanjay Sanghoee: “The belief that we need to stockpile guns of every kind to protect us from our own government ... do you really believe that if the U.S. government decided for some reason to direct all its military might against you, you would stand a chance against them?” Of course not, this is why all the adoration of the Second Amendment is a smokescreen for fighting better gun control. Gun lobbies protect their business, not freedom and liberty.

The best path to major political reforms is not through the Second Amendment but rather through what the Founders gave us in Article V, namely a convention of state delegates with the power to propose constitutional amendments. The nation would benefit from transferring the passion for Second Amendment gun rights into support for using the Article V convention strategy.

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JJS: Guns are dangerous, just as power tools are. Table saws don’t need regulation since they might cut off your thumb but not take your life while mistakes with guns can be fatal. Thus regulating them, just like regulating car ownership, seems entirely appropriate to me.

However, just as arming everyone would only make it easier for guns to fall into the wrong hands, neither would getting rid of guns solve the problem of misfits going mad and committing mayhem. To heal those unhappy people, first we must heal society itself. Just as societies are making room for former outcasts -- such as this or that minority -- conventional people might also need to make misfits feel welcome.

One way to make everyone feel like they belong is to share something. An ideal thing to share is something that already belongs to us all -- common wealth. And the greatest stream of common wealth is all of a society’s spending for its land and resources. That money is rightly shared since nobody made Earth and society in general is what makes locations valuable.

Once people get a share of the socially-generated worth of Earth, not only should they feel more accepted but they’d also feel less pressured by economic necessity. Where owners must pay land taxes or land dues, there economies operate much more efficiently, since the dues de-motivate speculation in land and resources. Prices become lower and opportunities to work or invest greater.

In a bountiful and fair system, would some still enjoy guns? Probably. But guns would be toys and not tools of intolerant paranoids. Yet more probable still is that the trend away from guns would accelerate and the majority would find the quiet in nature to soothe their sophisticated souls.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

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