Tag Archives: gun rights

Gun control does not violate our rights

As I watch the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse unfold in Kenosha, Wisc., I am pulled back toward an argument I have sought to make.

Which is that there must be a legislative remedy to the violence that erupted when Rittenhouse allegedly shot two people to death while packing an AR-15 assault weapon.

Rittenhouse faces a potential life sentence if a jury convicts him of the crime for which he has been charged. The young man sat in the witness chair today and told the court how the rifle he purchased “looked cool.” He had no intention of using to hunt animals or to protect his home. It “looked cool.”

That’s it.

Rittenhouse was packing the rifle while strolling down a Kenosha street during a protest against the Black Lives Matter protesters who marched to object to the shooting of an African-American by white police officers.

I cannot get past the notion that there must be some sort of legislation to be written that does not infringe on our Second Amendment guarantee that allows us to “keep and bear arms.” I am all for the amendment’s provision. I also believe there must be a way to craft some sort of control mechanism that does not prohibit law-abiding, rational American citizens from owning firearms.

I just do not see the Second Amendment as an “all or nothing” guarantee.


POTUS makes another run at gun violence

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden well might beat himself senseless with this initiative but he deserves credit for bringing needed attention to a national scourge.

That would be gun violence.

Biden says clearly that “it has to end.” To be sure, the president is getting push back from — get ready for it — the Republican caucus in Congress. GOP lawmakers blame the progressive movement and its “defund the police” mantra for the spike in gun violence. I guess that means Republicans won’t do anything about it. They’ll continue to sit on their hands, continue to obstruct any effort to legislate a remedy to what has become an all-too-common event: mass shootings.

USA Today reports: “Folks, this shouldn’t be a red or blue issue,” Biden said in the White House State Room. “It’s an American issue. We’re not changing the Constitution. We’re enforcing it, being reasonable. We’re taking on the bad actors doing bad and dangerous things in our communities.”

In a speech from the White House, Biden announced a “zero-tolerance policy” for rogue gun dealers and a new focus by the Justice Department to try to stop the illegal sale of firearms.

Biden also emphasized that cities and states can use their portions of $350 billion in direct aid from Biden’s COVID-19 rescue plan, approved by Congress in March, on public safety efforts, including hiring more police officers.

So, the resistance will come from those in Congress who believe liberals are to blame, which gives them a pretext to oppose legislation that seeks to target bad actors out there who contribute to the carnage.

‘It has to end’: Biden targets illegal gun sales, rogue dealers in strategy to combat rising crime (msn.com)

It’s hard to say how much of an impact President Biden’s initiative will have on the plague of gun violence. But my goodness. Why in the world must this resistance continue to obstruct good-faith efforts to deal forthrightly with what every sensible American must believe is occurring on our streets?

I have no intention of giving up this fight and I will continue to stand with those in power who see gun violence against innocent Americans as the existential threat it has been for far too long.

Get ready for more guns, Texas

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The organization once known as the “law and order party” is about to give Texas residents some serious pause about its commitment to the issue of, um … law and order.

On the strength of all 18 Republican Texas senators and a GOP majority of Texas House members, the Legislature is about to approve a new bill that allows Texans to pack heat wherever and whenever they want — without acquiring a mandated state-issued permit to do so.

Do you feel safer now? Hah! Me neither.

I hasten to add that this legislation is being pushed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk over the strenuous objections of big-, middle- and small-city chiefs of police all over the state. Many of them, such as Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, worry about a dramatic increase in armed suspects being stopped for various violations and the risk their officers face as a result.

Now it’s a matter of giving everyone who wants to carry a gun permission to do so. Yes, they have written some restrictions into it, such as disqualifying someone with a recent felony conviction.

Still, the notion that this bill takes down so-called “arbitrary restrictions” to the Second Amendment to our Constitution is foolish. Thus, that’s why it is being called “constitutional carry” legislation.

I had expressed some hope that the Senate would resist approving this nutty notion. My hope rested on my friend state Sen. Kel Seliger, an Amarillo Republican, who resisted it saying that the concealed carry permit restrictions were sufficient and that they did not infringe on the Second Amendment’s guarantee of firearm ownership.

I guess Seliger caved. That disappoints me.

As for the Republican legislative majority, I will presume that they all have said at least once during their political career how they support our law enforcement community. Hell, so do I!

If so, then why are they pushing back against the resistance of state’s cops?


Listen to us, legislators!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What gives with our elected representation in Austin?

They are charting legislative courses that, according to public opinion surveys, go directly against the wishes of the people for whom they work. That us, folks! You and me! And perhaps even our neighbors and family members.

Here’s a case in point.

The Texas Legislature is moving toward enacting a law that allows Texans to pack heat on their hips — a pistol in the open — without having to undergo a simple course and exam to prove they know how to handle the shootin’ iron.

Legislators, led by the Republican majority, call it “constitutional carry.” So, what do rank-and-file Texans think of it? They are opposed to letting our neighbors pack heat into the grocery store, or to park, or the gasoline service station.

The latest poll from the Texas Tribune/University of Texas says that 59 percent of Texans oppose “constitutional carry” of firearms. According to the Tribune: A solid majority of Texas voters don’t think adults should be allowed to carry handguns in public places without permits or licenses, though the idea is popular with a 56% majority of Republicans. Overall, 59% oppose unlicensed carry — a number driven up by the 85% of Democrats who oppose it. On the Republican side, the gun questions revealed a gender gap. Among Republican men, 70% said they support unlicensed carry; 49% of Republican women oppose that position.

So, my question is this: Who in the hell are the 181 state senators and House members, plus Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who runs the Senate — listening to?

Texas voters on “constitutional carry,” abortion bans and more in UT/TT Poll | The Texas Tribune

If we are to believe the Tribune/UT poll, they ain’t listening to their bosses, those of us who have to live with the laws they approve.

Shameful. Just shameful.

Gun hysteria is frightening

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The hysteria coming from the right wing of the political spectrum over gun safety, gun rights and gun related violence is scaring the bejabbers out of me.

I keep hearing the same mantra. Those who want to regulate gun purchases are intending to “take away your guns.” They want to disarm law-abiding Americans. They want to “toss out the Constitution’s Second Amendment” and they want us to create a passive population that does whatever the hell the government tells us to do.

How about that? Do you believe any of it? I don’t. Neither should you or anyone else.

The Second Amendment, which I contend was written poorly by the founders, does not mean that government must not regulate the purchase of firearms. The “well-regulated Militia” part of the amendment, of course, causes me some confusion as well.

Still, no serious politician that I have heard has said a word about taking guns away from those who keep them for legitimate purposes. You know, hunters, target shooters, those who want to protect their homes and their loved ones from robbers or others who want to harm them.

Good grief, man. There’s not a damn thing wrong with any of that.

Just so you know, we have two rifles in our home. I keep them hidden away. No one is going to take them from me. Nor do I ever expect government goons to bust down my door to seize them.

The gun debate has devolved into the worst form of demagoguery possible.

Gun violence remains a crisis in this country. We elect members of Congress to represent our interests. I believe they should heed their “bosses” demand that they do more to protect us against those who want to harm us.

Paranoia? Don’t think so!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Paranoia is not part of my emotional composition.

However, while walking through the neighborhood with Toby the Puppy on leash, a horrifying thought raced through my mind as we walked along a busy boulevard bordering our ‘hood.

I must preface my thought by noting the rash of gun violence we have experienced in this country for, oh, the past 20 years or so.

The thought? What in the world would I do were I to hear gunshots dangerously close by? What’s worse, the thought crossed my mind about what I would do were I actually hit by a stray bullet.

Has such a thought ever crossed your mind? Don’t answer that. I am speaking only for myself.

The truth is I don’t scare easily. I am not particularly “scared” right now. My noodle occasionally dances around with some strange thoughts. It did so this afternoon while I was walking our precious puppy through our wonderful, quiet neighborhood. I do not expect anything of the kind of violence we have witnessed in far-off places to erupt near us.

It’s just that the spate of gun violence, particularly in the past few days and weeks, has injected my brain with thoughts that give me some concern.

I don’t intend to act on it, tempting as it might seem to be.

We live in crazy, chaotic and kooky times. They are giving me thoughts I never imagined thinking when I was a boy or even as a much younger adult, other than when I drove through Da Nang, South Vietnam after the sun went down back in the old days. Hey, that was war, man. I certainly hope we aren’t heading in that direction here at home.

‘Come and Take It’?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

While watching the hideous insurrection erupt on Capitol Hill this past week, I was struck by the preponderance of at least two banners toted by the rioters who stormed into the halls of our democratic government.

One was the Confederate flag. Imagine that for a moment. The flag of traitors waving “proudly” in the hands of those supporting Donald Trump’s call for insurrection against the government.

Another was a banner with the phrase “Come And Take It,” featuring an image of some sort of assault rifle. These are the Second Amendment enthusiasts who comprise a sizable portion of the mob.

I want to focus briefly on the Second Amendment.

I suppose those who carried that banner want to send a message to President Biden and the new Congress, which is: Don’t mess with my rights to “keep and bear arms.” 

That “come and take it” mantra disturbs me to the core. I am not aware of any serious proposal being considered that would “take” guns away from citizens who own them for the right reasons: to hunt game, to shoot at targets, to protect their homes and loved ones from those who would do them harm, or just to own.

No one is going to “come and take” weapons from those individuals. Yet the notion being put forward by pro-Second Amendment zealots is that government aims to raid our homes and confiscate every weapon agents can find.

That is pure demagoguery. It panders to fear mongers. It seeks to frighten Americans needlessly.

Do I believe we ought to toughen gun laws? Absolutely! I have used this blog as a forum to call for legislative solutions that specifically do not inhibit Second Amendment guarantees that we can “keep and bear arms.”

All of this is being ignored by the zealots who contend that any effort to enact stricter guns laws is inherently an attack on Americans’ gun-owning civil liberties. It is no such thing.

How about toning down the fiery rhetoric? How about commencing this discussion once again with a new president and a new Congress that can find solutions to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence?

No need to fly that “Come And Take It” banner … especially while the nut jobs among us are attacking our system of government.

Get ready for the demagoguery

It didn’t take Donald Trump long to learn a skill we see too often along the campaign trail: the “art” of demagoguery.

He entered political life in the summer of 2015 as a candidate for president of the United States and then told the whole world how Democrats were going to “take your guns away,” how they intend to “get rid of the Second Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, how they “hate America” and how they are soft on crime, favor “open borders” and want to tax all Americans into the poor house.

The really bad news is that enough Americans living in key Electoral College stronghold states bought into Trump’s demagoguery to push him into the White House.

Let’s all look for much more of the same as this president seeks to win re-election in 2020. The gun argument is most maddening of all.

It’s fascinating to me to note that even with three Democratic presidents serving in the White House dating back to 1977 that there has been no taking away of people’s rights to “keep and bear arms” under the Second Amendment. President Carter didn’t take the guns away; nor did President Clinton; same for President Obama.

Why is that? Well, let’s see, it might have something to do with the check on executive power written into the U.S. Constitution, a document with which the current president has no familiarity. A president cannot change laws without congressional authority. He cannot amend the Constitution without Congress on board, and with three-fourths of the state legislatures on board as well.

And yet Donald Trump is going to campaign for re-election reciting an idiotic, demagogic mantra about how Democratic presidential candidates will seek to take away our rights as citizens.

Memo to The Donald: They can’t do it!

That won’t stop the demagoguery from flowing forth from Trump’s mouth as he tries to frighten Americans into believing the lies built into his campaign rhetoric.

I just want to offer a word of caution: Beware the demagogue who doesn’t offer a shred of understanding of what he is telling you.

Guns make us bite our tongue

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — A long time passed from when the Texas Legislature voted to allow open carry of firearms before I saw someone actually packing a pistol on his hip.

My wife and I were returning to Fairview today after spending some time in our RV in Amarillo when we walked into one of our favorite eating places in Wichita Falls. We wanted to grab a quick bite before heading on down the highway toward home.

A couple was disciplining a youngster a few tables away. The gentleman was particularly loud in seeking to get the boy to settle down. He has one of those annoying voices that we would have heard even if the eatery was packed wall to wall with customers.

I mentioned the grating sound of the guy’s voice to my wife, who then informed me, “Yes, and he’s carrying a gun, too.”

I shot a glance over my shoulder at the guy. Sure enough, there it was. In plain sight. Some kind of high-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Then it occurred to me: Just as concealed carry laws have made motor vehicle drivers a bit more circumspect with other drivers who cut them off in traffic — at least that’s my view — open carry laws damn sure would prevent someone from speaking out against someone who, um, is bellowing to a youngster.

I didn’t think of saying anything to this guy. But what if someone else on the other side of the table heard him and decided to confront him over the tone of voice he was using to calm the little boy down?

Having seen the firearm on this guy’s hip, I know I’d never say a word to the guy.

As for whether my wife and I will frequent this eating establishment in the future, that’s another matter altogether. I prefer to enjoy a meal in an establishment where guns are prohibited.

Reduce access at schools? No thanks

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has tossed out an idea worthy of discussion in reaction to the Santa Fe High School massacre of nine students and a teacher by one of the students at the school near Galveston.

The discussion, though, should be brief.

Patrick believes schools are too open, that they contain too many doors. Access is too easy. Gunmen can walk in and blast away, according to Patrick.

His solution? Let’s “harden” the schools, reduce the number of doors.

According to the Texas Tribune: “We may have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built. And what I mean by that is there are too many entrances and too many exits to our more than 8,000 campuses in Texas,” he said, citing security at office buildings and courthouses. “Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe he would have been stopped.”

OK. That’s enough of that.

Schools need those doors to enable students can escape in case of fire and, oh yes, in case someone does open fire in classrooms or in the halls.

Patrick’s idea appears to be well-intentioned. I’ll give him that much. However, it is entirely impractical, given the myriad other hazards that can confront students, teachers and school staffers.

At least, though, Lt. Gov. Patrick has started the discussion.