Tag Archives: Second Amendment

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.

Assault weapons have their place, but …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This picture showed up overnight on my Facebook news feed and by golly it pretty much sums up what I believe about assault weapons.

They have their place. They belong in the hands of fighting men and women who are in battle against enemies of the state. They are built to kill lots of people in rapid fashion. Should our military personnel carry them? Abso(freakin’)lutely, man!

What role does a weapon that packs dozens of rounds of ammo have in civilized civilian society? None. Zero. They are used too often by lunatics to kill innocent human beings in fits of rage.

So it is that this debate has been joined once again in the wake of the Indianapolis massacre at the FedEx facility. Eight people died in that mayhem before the lunatic shooter killed himself with the weapon he used against his victims.

Gun-rights enthusiasts/fanatics continue to harp on the notion that the Second Amendment guarantees their right to own whatever weapon they want to own. Even those that carry high-capacity magazines that the weapon can empty in seconds. For what purpose?

As the sign I posted with this blog item declares, it ain’t to kill lots of critters in the forest. Their intent is to kill human beings in short order.

I’ll be clear on this point: We shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for Congress to exhibit any semblance of sanity by banning these weapons. Nor should we expect any sign of courage among those who are willing to stand strongly against the gun lobby that keeps lying about what the Second Amendment allows.

Not ‘too soon’ to debate gun violence

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Eight more Americans died this week in a shooting that erupted in Indianapolis, Ind., and once again we’re sending our “thoughts and prayers” to the victims’ loved ones.

A solution to the gun violence remains a mystery. President Biden, though, is trying to appeal to our sense of national shame. He said, according to RealClearPolitics.com:

“This has to end. It is a national embarrassment … Every single day, there’s a mass shooting in the United States,” President Biden continued. “Who in God’s name needs a weapon that can hold 40 rounds?”

Biden said: “Congress has to step up to act and pass bills on gun reform. We need to ban assault weapons. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t also be working on COVID and the economy.”

Joe Biden on Gun Violence: Mass Shootings “Every Day” Are “A National Embarrassment” And “It Has To End” | Video | RealClearPolitics

The president is preaching to the proverbial choir here, man. But the ongoing spasm of gun violence is a “national embarrassment.” I have difficulty explaining to my overseas friends how American politicians can allow this to continue.

I do my best, though, to explain to them foreigners the nuance contained in the Second Amendment to our Constitution. It reads: “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 one element of that Amendment that I cannot explain is the construction of the single sentence, which seems to contain a couple of non-sequiturs. I cannot connect the part about the “well-regulated Militia” with the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms.”

But it’s written into our nation’s founding government document. That makes it virtually impossible to trifle with.

However, I shudder at the thought of all this violence. I have trouble facing down my overseas friends who challenge the idea that our political leaders cannot find a solution that keeps faith with what our founders carved out.

OK, so here we are. Eight more victims have been slain by a madman. We need to ramp up the debate right now over how we can eliminate this “national embarrassment.”

POTUS cuts his losses

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Believe this or not, but it appears that President Biden is taking the path of least resistance as he issues executive orders aimed at reducing gun violence in this country.

Biden signed off on orders today that ban what they call “ghost guns” and employ stricter background checks for those wishing to purchase a firearm.

What are ghost guns? Take a look at this link:

Ghost guns: Here’s what they are – CNNPolitics

The least resistance part? The gun lobby already detests Biden. The lobbyists detest even more any effort to enact legislative remedies to gun violence, contending that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct and cannot be monkeyed with in any form or fashion.

Indeed, nimrods such as 13th Texas Congressional District Rep. Ronny Jackson, tweet things like this: It’s your Constitutional RIGHT to own a firearm! We can’t allow Democrats to take that away! No one is talking about taking guns away from those who won’t use ’em to kill other human beings.

Meanwhile, general public opinion happens to be on the president’s side. Most Americans favor some stricter rules while also supporting the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Is this executive action legal? My gut tells me that a president with extensive legislative and federal executive government experience already has done his homework. He knows the lines he cannot cross. President Biden isn’t about to be derailed because he made a mistake in performing his duties to protect us.

Motor vehicles are heavily regulated, too

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A fascinating item showed up this morning on my Facebook news feed that tells us that they’ve been regulating automobiles for decades, but that “no one has taken our cars away.”

Well …

What do you think of that? I happen to think it is a relevant statement in light of the building debate — yet again — over whether there can be sensible, constitutional gun regulations in this country.

The discussion has flared once more in light of two horrific massacres, in Atlanta and then in Boulder, Colo. Eighteen people died in the carnage.

President Biden has called for an outright ban on assault weapons and for universal background checks on every human being who wants to purchase a firearm. Make ’em wait for, oh, three days before being cleared to walk away with a gun.

Is that reasonable? I believe it is. I mean, if you’re a “law-abiding citizen” of the United States of America, you shouldn’t worry one little bit about waiting for three whole days or so to get your gun. Right?

Does that take away anyone’s Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms”? I don’t think so, but yet the gun lobby is reigniting the scare campaign that suggests these notions are attempts to take guns away from Americans.

No! They are nothing of the kind! They are initiatives intended to make it just a little more difficult for lunatics to purchase firearms.

As the social media message points, we have been regulating automobile ownership for decades. We have to have insurance. We have to be licensed by the state where we live. If we drive without a license and are caught by police, we can be thrown in jail. If we are involved in an auto wreck and we aren’t properly insured, we also can be jailed, and fined, and held liable for thousands of dollars in medical expenses.

Look along our streets and highways and tell me if you think there’s been a decline in motor vehicle traffic.

Nor would there be a decline in firearms among law-abiding citizens if we attach a few more sensible rules for their purchase.

Abbott welcomes crooked company to Texas?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gov. Greg Abbott just couldn’t contain his joy at learning that the National Rifle Association has announced plans to relocate to Texas.

Why, Texas “safeguards the Second Amendment,” the governor proclaimed after the bankruptcy-bound gun rights group made its announcement.

Hold on, governor. The NRA’s decision to relocate to some still-undisclosed Texas location doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the Second Amendment. It has everything to do with allegations that the NRA’s top echelon has mismanaged donors’ money, spending it on lavish vacations and other perks that have no relation to the company’s corporate message.

Pardon the pun, but Gov. Abbott has missed the mark badly by throwing out the welcome mat to an organization that has been accused of being crooked to the core.

As Politico reports: The announcement came months after New York’s attorney general sued the organization over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.

NRA declares bankruptcy, plans to incorporate in Texas – POLITICO

Suppose the New York AG’s investigation proves that the NRA is guilty of what’s been alleged. Is that the kind of company that Gov. Abbott wants doing business in Texas? Really … governor?

Don’t misunderstand me on this point. I consider the NRA to be populated by demagogues at its highest level. These individuals have bullied politicians for decades into keeping their hands off any legislative remedies to the gun violence plague that continues to kill innocent Americans. The NRA contends that anything — any law at all — would usurp the Second Amendment’s guarantee that Americans should be able to “keep and bear arms.”

I, too, support the Second Amendment. I also believe it can be preserved while Congress can enact laws that make it impossible for lunatics to acquire firearms.

As for the NRA’s decision to bring its alleged corruption to Texas, well … no thanks.

‘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.

Sen. Seliger thrust into middle of national debate

A Texas state legislator, a fellow I know well — and someone I have supported strongly in this blog — finds himself at “ground zero” of the national debate over how to cure the scourge of gun violence.

State Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo, whose sprawling Texas Senate district covers Odessa in West Texas, has spoken for many Americans while commenting on this latest spasm of violence, which left seven people dead and dozens more injured.

According to the New York Times: “We’re not nearly past El Paso and then here it happens again,” said … Seliger, a Republican whose district includes Odessa and who is a former mayor of Amarillo, a city four hours north of where the attack unfolded. He said the attack forces people into the position of “not thinking to ourselves, ‘If this is going to happen again?’ but when it’s going to happen again.”

Seliger is not one to run from his political alliances, but I am struck at this moment by the TV ad he ran while seeking re-election in 2018; in the ad, he pulls away in his pickup while sporting a National Rifle Association sticker on the truck’s rear window. Yes, Seliger is proud of his NRA membership and I don’t for a moment believe he is going to renounce the organization in the wake of this latest massacre.

Seven people died in the slaughter in Odessa. Police killed the gunman in a fire fight.

I am wondering about the pressure Seliger is going to feel now as a senator representing a community victimized by this latest gun violence tragedy.

Seliger is my friend. I have tremendous personal affection for him; I also respect the service he has performed on behalf of his Senate district.

However, I do not want him to dig in with the NRA’s traditional mantra of keeping hands off of any effort to legislate a potential remedy to this kind of gun violence insanity.

I want this good man to stand strong in favor of working with legislators and members of Congress who ought to look for those legislative remedies and, yes, remain faithful to the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

I truly believe there’s a way to do this.

2nd Amendment serves as barrier to ‘slippery slope’

Now that we’re talking once again openly and relatively urgently — once again! — about gun control legislation, I want to offer an argument that I believe doesn’t get as much attention as it should.

Nearly 30 people are dead after massacres in El Paso and Dayton. Donald Trump has called for “urgent action” to stem gun violence. The nation once again is horrified at the actions of two individuals motivated apparently by vastly different reasons, but whose actions have brought untold misery and heartache to us all.

I believe in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I have read it zillions of times. Although I believe it is worded awkwardly and can be interpreted in any number of ways, it does say that the right to bear arms is guaranteed to all U.S. citizens.

Does that constitutional guarantee act as a barrier against what some might call a “slippery slope” argument opposing efforts to “register” firearms owners? I believe it does.

I’ve heard a bit of social media chatter about how gun registration necessarily leads to “confiscation” of firearms. I want to shoot that argument down — pun very much intended.

The Second Amendment’s language, in my view, prohibits confiscation. Thus, to allow the government to confiscate firearms would require repealing or amending the Second Amendment. Does anyone with half a brain believe that is going to happen, even in the wake of this deadly back-to-back outburst over the weekend? Of course they do not.

Therefore, I maintain my belief that there are legislative remedies available to help stem this epidemic of gun violence. Universal background checks is a start. There might be a registration component to consider as well.

As for the “slippery slope,” the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment acts as an impenetrable barrier to prevent us from sliding too far down that slope. It doesn’t preclude wise men and women in government from doing what they can to legislate a cure for the scourge that is killing too many innocent people.