Tag Archives: Second Amendment

Must we be afraid?

Republican politicians and those who follow them have become adept at scaring the bejeebers out of folks.

Yes, the GOP is campaigning on fear. They tell us they fear their political foes are up to no good.

Let’s cite an example or two, or maybe three.

The GOP has told us since time began that Democrats and liberals are going to take away our guns. They want to disarm Americans. They do not subscribe to the Second Amendment’s guarantee that all Americans are entitled to “keep and bear arms.” They want voters to fear the worst on that matter.

Republicans want you to fear Democrats pushing a “woke” agenda that does all sorts of frightening things, such as “indoctrinate” our children into changing their gender, or seeking to convert everyone to becoming gay.

The GOP fears our children being taught about our nation’s history of racism. Republicans deny the existence of racist policies. They don’t want the Civil War taught as a lesson in states seeking to preserve slavery and their willingness to go to war with the U.S. government to keep slaves in bondage.

I hope you understand my point. The GOP has become a party of fear merchants. They are afraid of losing their grip on power and they want voters to join them in fearing the worst among their foes.

It’s frightening.


Compromise = good legislation

For as long as I have been studying politics and government — which predates my college years in the 1970s — I have accepted a fundamental truth about effective governance.

No one should expect to get everything they want or require, that compromise is an essential part of what I call “good government.”

Thus, the legislation on gun reform that has won U.S. Senate endorsements from both sides of the great divide, while not perfect, is as good as we can expect to get from the current, sharply divided legislative body.

I am particularly intrigued by Republican opposition to the bill from the likes of Ted Cruz of Texas, from those who contend that it does too much, that it is too restrictive of Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. On the other side we hear yammering from progressives that the legislation doesn’t go far enough, that it should contain provisions banning assault weapons and should increase the minimum age of those who want to purchase a firearm.

There once was a time when I was a young ideologue who wanted legislators to see everything my way. Then I got older and, presumably, a bit wiser about how the real world functions.

I have a wish list of items I want to see enacted in legislation that seeks to reduce gun violence. The “red flag law” contained in the current bill is a good start; so are background checks for younger purchasers of firearms. I can live with it and I want it all to become law.

It has been many decades since Congress has gotten off its a** and done something, anything, to deal with this gun violence crisis.

Thus, I will endorse what Senate negotiators have pieced together. I pray it’s just a start. That they hammered this deal out gives me hope.


Gun deal appears done

U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans have come together to approve a deal that takes some important baby steps toward curbing the gun violence that has claimed so many innocent lives.

It isn’t the perfect deal. Then again, as the saying goes, senators sought to avoid letting “perfection become the enemy of the good.”

The package does a number of good things. As the Detroit News reports: The legislation would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and beef up penalties on gun traffickers. It also would disburse money to states and communities aimed at improving school safety and mental health initiatives.

It isn’t perfect. I would have liked to see increasing minimum age requirements for buying firearms and strengthened universal background checks.

However, what has come out of the Senate deal negotiated by a bipartisan group of lawmakers is better than what we had already.

Which was nothing.

President Biden is going to sign the bill when it arrives in the Oval Office. The proposed legislation isn’t all that he wanted, either. However, he served long enough in the Senate to understand that compromise at times is the only way to achieve important goals.

Progressives want more legislative remedies. Archconservatives want nothing done. Neither extreme is correct.

The best answer lies in the vast middle ground. Senate negotiators have cobbled together a decent start on the quest to restore sanity in a nation plagued by senseless gun violence.


Waiting for an explanation

My patience is vast and deep … but it does have its limits. Particularly as I await a detailed explanation of how the Second Amendment to our Constitution is imperiled by legislation that mandates background checks for firearm purchase and adjusts the minimum age for buying a gun from 18 to 21 years.

Those two elements appear to be the crux of the debate that is now raging in the wake of the Uvalde school massacre. Our hearts remain shattered over the deaths of those 19 children and two teachers in Robb Elementary School.

The National Rifle Association, as expected, has dug in against any legislative solution to gun violence. The NRA and its Republican beneficiaries in Congress continue to press the idea that the Second Amendment is immune from any legislative action. In other words, anything at all damages the Second Amendment and, by golly, we just can’t have that.

Here I sit in the middle of Flyover Country, in gun-lovin’ Texas wondering out loud: What in the hell is wrong with requiring background checks and raising the age from 18 to 21? 

If someone can pass a background check, they get to purchase a gun. If they are 21 years of age and free of any felony conviction, they can buy a firearm. Law-abiding citizens of this country are in no jeopardy of losing their right to “keep and bear arms.” Period. Full stop!

The right-wing demagogues led by the NRA are continuing to throw out the “Democrats want to disarm Americans” canard. It is wrong. It is a shameful appeal to people’s fear over something that is not going to happen.

Once again, someone will have to explain to me as if I am a 5-year-old how the Second Amendment is put in any danger as a result of common-sense legislative solutions.


‘Yes!’ on background checks

Someone will have to explain to me — in a persuasive manner — why the concept of “universal background checks” on anyone purchasing a firearm is so anathema to those on the right-wing fringes of political thought.

The issue has burst back onto our political consciousness in the wake of the Uvalde school massacre that killed 19 precious children and two of the educators who sought to protect them from the madness that erupted in their classroom.

Border Patrol tactical officers killed the shooter.

He purchased the weapons he used to slaughter his victims legally. How did he do that? Because he did not have to undergo a routine “universal background check” to look for any clues as to why he shouldn’t own the weapons.

Those in Congress — the men and women whose campaigns are bankrolled by the gun lobby — keep harping on Second Amendment freedoms. They suggest that any effort to legislate tougher gun laws runs counter to the Second Amendment guarantee of citizens to “keep and bear arms.”

They are wrong!

How can I explain this any clearer? Those who can pass a background check if they purchase a firearm have nothing in the world to worry about? The law-abiding citizenry can arm itself to the teeth. The Second Amendment stands strongly in favor of their right to own weapons.

A legislative remedy, though, does exist if Congress is willing to enact it as a deterrent against those who might have something in their background that can sound alarm bells.

Perhaps the details of such a background check can be worked out. There could be some serious negotiating into what constitutes a deal-breaker if someone seeks to purchase a firearm. Fine. Then work it out!

This so-called constitutional argument, though, against universal background checks is a canard. Those who seek shelter in the Constitution against such safeguards are seeking to frighten the rest of us into believing that government then will seize every weapon in every home from every law-abiding citizen.

That is demagoguery at its worst.


Massacre must mobilize us

As a general rule I do not categorize myself as a “single-issue voter” motivated to cast my ballot on just one critical issue of the moment.

The massacre that erupted in Uvalde, Texas, however, is likely to turn me into someone I do not generally profess to be. Nineteen children and two educators are dead today in the wake of the state’s worst-ever school massacre and the second-deadliest such tragedy in the nation’s history.

My aim now — along with my bride — is to ensure that every candidate for statewide office on the ballot this year, along with local congressional, legislative and county candidates seeking my vote answer this question the correct way: Are you willing to support the enactment of laws — either at the state or federal level — that seek to prevent future tragedies such as what has occurred in Uvalde?

If they hem and haw their way around an answer and follow the preposterous lead of the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz, then they will not have my vote. Cruz decided immediately Tuesday after the Uvalde slaughter to blame the media and Democrats for “politicizing” the issue of gun violence.

Politicize? Is this nimrod serious?

We happen to require a political solution to this crisis and make no mistake, we have entered a crisis with this spate of gun violence.

I will reject with all due vigor any notion that we cannot find a legislative solution. I will reject as well the notion that we cannot find common ground among politicians to seek solutions that do not violate our Constitution’s guarantee of the right of Americans to “keep and bear arms.”

Any politician who cannot bring himself or herself to seek those solutions needs to be voted out of office and banished from the public arena.

We have had enough.


Compromise possible on guns

Guns usually prompt passionate and occasionally unreasonable arguments over the constitutional amendment that says Americans are entitled to “keep and bear arms.”

The issue shows up during election season when conservatives argue that progressives want to “take away your guns.” Well, maybe some ultra-progressive politicians want to disarm Americans. They are swimming against a riptide of opposition to that notion. That won’t happen. Why? Because doing so would essentially eliminate the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

I consider myself to be a good-government progressive, which means I am not a flaming progressive who wants to rewrite the Constitution. The one we have with its 27 amendments (so far) suits me more or less just fine.

What I do want to happen, though, is for our political leaders to find some legislative remedies to curb the gun violence that keeps erupting on our streets. We sit in our suburban Dallas home each day and watch the news tell us of shootings in Dallas, or Fort Worth, or in other suburban communities nearby. Children are stricken by random violence; some of them die from the wounds inflicted.

Then, of course, we all hear and agonize over the mass shootings that kill so many innocent victims.

Some pols want to put more guns out there, believing they create a safer society. I disagree with that notion. I want fewer guns, but to get to that goal requires some remedies to take these weapons away from individuals who don’t deserve to carry them.

Does any of that violate the Second Amendment? It might, but only if it goes too far. Thus, I want our Legislature or our Congress to seek legislative solutions that keep faith with the Constitution.

The amendment that our founders wrote is a bit of a mishmash, if I could offer that critique. It speaks of a “well-regulated militia” and then declares that the right to “keep and bear arms” must stand.

Our courts have ruled that the amendment says the right to bear arms belongs to us all. I accept that.

However, as a law-abiding, tax-paying American patriot, I believe a legislative solution to the gun violence is out there. It’s somewhere in the weeds. We just need some courage to find it and to craft it and to enact it into law. I will not listen to gun lobbyists who insist that there is no solution to be found.

Get busy, politicians. We need some leadership from you.


Curious juxtaposition on guns

A headline in the Texas Tribune had me scratchin’ my noggin.

It asked: Beto O’Rourke went after assault rifles in his run for president. Will that hurt him with gun-loving Texans?

Well, that poses a quandary, don’t you think? Of course it does! But here’s the deal as I see it. I consider myself to be a “gun-loving Texan.” I own a couple of rifles, both of which are keepsakes given to me when I was a boy by my father. One of them is a single-shot .22-caliber rifle; the other is a 30.06 that carries a five-round magazine.

Neither of them is an assault weapon. I love my guns, even though I rarely shoot them.

Back to the Tribune’s question: I fear that O’Rourke’s statement about assault weapons is going to hurt him among many Texans who profess to love their guns, but who in reality love owning — or love the prospect of owning — weapons designed to kill human beings in rapid fashion on a battlefield.

The question came to O’Rourke during a 2020 Democratic primary presidential debate. He had said “hell yes!” he wanted to take people’s assault rifles. I did not in that moment believe he intended to send agents to my home and confiscate my two cherished rifles.

The crazy crowd among us no doubt is going to interpret O’Rourke’s statement in 2020 as a clarion call to disarm us all. You can bet your last bandolier that Gov. Greg Abbott is going to play on that fear as he seeks to paint O’Rourke as a commie sympathizer intent on destroying the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

Will Beto O’Rourke’s stance on guns hurt him in 2022’s Texas governor race? | The Texas Tribune

Let’s get ready for a rough campaign.


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.


Demagogues are winning the argument

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

One word came to mind when I read this post that showed up on my Facebook news feed today.


Yes, the demagogues among us are winning the argument over these matters. They have persuaded others that to be pro-choice on abortion means you favor abortion; that you favor “open borders” if you’re horrified at the treatment of refugees; that you want to dismantle the Second Amendment if you think legislative solutions to gun violence are an option.

The demagogues are winning this argument because they appeal to people’s lesser instincts, which are easier to bring to the surface than their better instincts.

You know how it goes. Someone who agrees with something you say cannot tell you precisely why they agree with you, or even exactly what it is that earns the high praise. If that someone disagrees with you, why they can recite to you every point you make word by word.

Thus, the demagogues among us are winning the argument.

Man, we gotta find a more effective way to respond to these simpletons.