The gun debate has been quiet as a grave for years and years now. Why? Because the The More Guns the Better people had won the argument, completely. But, as it happens, temporarily. They cared more and they organized more and they finally achieved the Golden Pinnacle in interest group politics. An Absolute Hammerlock on all branches of government, including the Supreme Court. (Grover Norquist had achieved something close with Taxes). It eventually gets to the point where it doesn’t even matter what the arguments pro and con are in these situations. Ideology decides and power politics executes, so to speak. But I’ll summarize the argument for unrestricted gun ownership anyway.
The Founding Fathers wanted modified machine guns in every home. They didn’t know what a machine gun was, but they dreamed of them, which became known as The American Dream. Because they imagined this day coming, they wrote the Second Amendment to make sure it would come true. And because they wanted their wishes to be crystal clear, they worded the amendment as ambiguously as possible, putting in something about well-regulated militias as the context for the amendment, but they didn’t want you to consider that part seriously. They had some extra space on the paper and they needed to fill it up, like a kid faking an essay question on an exam.
And, now that we have defined the amendment the way we want them to have meant it, on to the guns! The more the better. The gun slaughter that decimated American cities for so many decades was a small price to pay, because, well it was in the cities and we lived in the suburbs, so if they are in there shooting each other, is that bad? Or good? Doesn’t matter. Outside the cities we knew how to take care of our massive arsenals. A semi-automatic military weapon in every bedroom? You never know when we might decide that we don’t like the laws passed by the world’s greatest democracy, and decide the government needs to be overthrown, and we need to “vote with our heat.” And so we sleep better knowing this is something we can get involved in at some point. What could go wrong?
What went wrong is too many wanton mass murders out where “real people” live. All of a sudden the abstract “debate” came heartbreakingly close to home. Innocent little kids. Some things you can’t wave away with rhetoric or lobbying money. And then democracy, as it’s supposed to, eventually comes to its senses.