Now this is a person who hunts, owns guns and is a gun collector and gun maker. He is reasonable and happens to agree with a lot of what I believe. He lets it be known if he doesn't agree but he is willing to engage in conversation and compromise with people on both sides. Isn't that what leads to better ideas and a better country? I am probably naive but I am sincere and hopeful. I thought that engaging with folks on the other side of the gun issue and having some back and forth exchanges through my blog could actually lead to some compromise and some common sense solutions that would help reduce and prevent gun injuries and deaths.
But I would be wrong. There are some who are not willing to compromise one iota. Their position is that they are right and I, and the many others who support my positions, are wrong and there is no in between. This has become the way of doing business in our country. It shouldn't be and it's leading to a country where nothing is accomplished to benefit the greater good. What a travesty, really. It feels to me that there is no compromise in trying to stop the senseless shootings. In response to the person who commented, above, here is one uncompromising gun rights guy: "There's no compromise to be had. No free citizen should be prevented from buying and carrying any arm (firearm or otherwise) he likes. No government agent should be notified when a citizen buys or carrys a firearm/knife/whatever. Background checks are ineffective, and a precurser to registration, and should be abolished. Since I won't quit until citizens are free, where do you pretend you will find compromise?"
Well, where does this leave us? I think this guy represents a good number of citizens who feel that compromise would lead to gun confiscation and some erosion of their rights. They are wrong. The Supreme Court decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases took that idea off the table. In addition, Justice Scalia in Heller stated: "..the longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms, are presumptively lawful." That sounds like the laws I am supporting are perfectly legal and not considered to be unconstitutional even by Justice Antonin Scalia. It does not sound like an uncompromising position.
I need to know why compromise is off the table for some. I need to know why that works. I need to know how that will lead to better public safety and preventing people from being senselessly shot to death. So let's look at "compromise" from Webster:
1. a settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions
2. something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
3. a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial ( a compromise of principles)
It may be that number 3 is what this is all about. Neither side wants to compromise their principles for the greater good. But from my vantage point, it feels as if those who oppose my positions don't want to compromise anything. They feel as if they already compromised when the Brady Bill passed. Now that the Brady Law is in effect, we have a system that prohibits certain people from purchasing guns- like felons, dangerously mentally ill people, domestic abusers and terrorists for some. That does not feel like a compromise to me. That just feels like common sense. When a law is passed that stops people who shouldn't have guns from having them without affecting the rights of ordinary law abiding citizens, that is good for public safety. And whether or not it is the gun or the person with the gun who shoots somebody, too many people are being shot to death. There's no getting around the fact that guns are causing a lot of carnage in America. There is no compromising about lives lost to gun injuries. How we get to reduction and/or preventing the shootings is where the compromising begins and ends.
For many years now, the side of "gun control" has proposed several things. The one that gets the most attention is a national law requiring background checks on all gun sales at gun shows. There are many reasons to do this which I have written about ad nauseum. And yet, it is met with much resistance. It is a reasonable way to make sure that, at least at gun shows, everyone must go through a background check. It will stop some, but not all, felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people and even terrorists from purchasing at a gun show. So we would then have consistency for all gun sales from Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers (FFLs) and private sellers alike, at least at gun shows.
It has been suggested here (not by me) that we should propose universal background checks on all private sales but only if the private sellers could also access NICS to do their own background checks. The gun rights folks don't seem to like the idea of having FFLs do the background checks for the private sellers. The first I have heard of this is on my blog in recent weeks. I have no idea whether that is even feasible. It seems like it could lead to some problems regarding making sure the private seller him/herself checks out and is not a criminal searching the data base for someone. I also wonder about the fact that the gun guys hate their privacy to be invaded in any way. This has a potential for problems along that line. Also, how would the ATF deal with this increase in numbers of people using the data base and would they be able to inspect and monitor all of these new "dealers"? So, as I see it, there are many road blocks to this one.
Something else we have proposed is making sure the names of those on the no-fly terror watch list are sent to the data base(NICS) of prohibited purchasers for gun purchases through FFLs. We know that terrorists are purchasing guns but we can't stop them at the point of the purchase. There are problems with this, of course, with the number of people whose names are mistakenly put on this list. This would have to be worked out and could be. There is a current bill for this in Congress. When push comes to shove, however, I sure don't want terrorists buying guns legally in our country and I doubt that many others do either.
What about mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns? That meets with resistance as well. I will provide some more information about why this is a good idea in another post.
And what about a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban? Uff da ( to quote my dear recently departed Mother). Don't even bring that one up. It is very unpopular with the gun crowd who love all of those AK47s and AR15s, etc. for whatever it is they must do with them. I know I can't get along without mine! Anyway, that one gets "shot out of the water"- sorry for the pun- before it even gets an airing.
Of course, there is the non-proposal to confiscate all of the guns in the country and dispose of them somehow. That is what the gun guys think I and my "fellow travelers" really want to do. They know that we have an agenda and it is to precipitously or gradually take away their second amendment rights and their guns. Never mind that the 2 recent Supreme Court rulings have taken that off the table. But we've gone over that one before. No need to belabor that point.
But I did find some comments made recently by Justice Breyer about what the Founding Fathers would think about restrictions on guns and gun rights. Eek! How dare he. I'm just positive that these comments were not met with cheers among the gun rights crowd. But Breyer brings up something pretty apropos to what is going on in politics today. President Obama just made some concessions on long held beliefs about granting tax breaks to the richest among us. He didn't want to but he also wanted some other things for the poorest among us and the shrinking middle class. How did he get an agreement? He gave up something and the Republicans gave up something. And now perhaps we can get some other business done while this gets sorted out. This is what Madison did regarding the Second Amendment if we are to believe Justice Breyer, who is a whole lot more knowledgeable than the average person about the Constitution. Madison wanted the Constitution ratified badly. To get that, he gave in to the states concerns about militias and the federal government forming a national militia to fight against the states. Voila- we have the Second Amendment as it was written back then.
I say that Justice Breyer is a wise man. In his words: " He suggested that those values and intentions mean that the Second Amendment allows for restrictions on the individual, including an all-out ban on handguns in the nation's capital. "We're acting as judges. If we're going to decide everything on the basis of history -- by the way, what is the scope of the right to keep and bear arms? Machine guns? Torpedoes? Handguns?" he asked. "Are you a sportsman? Do you like to shoot pistols at targets? Well, get on the subway and go to Maryland. There is no problem, I don't think, for anyone who really wants to have a gun."