As the NRA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts go dark, another prominent conservative commentator has come out in favor of new restrictions on gun ownership. This time it’s Michael Gerson, columnist for The Washington Post and former speechwriter for George W. Bush. Gerson writes:
And, yes, reasonable gun restrictions are needed. Governing often involves the difficult balancing of rights. Here, the status quo is currently so unbalanced that proposed adjustments don’t even come close to crossing constitutional lines. Measures such as banning assault weapons, restricting gun show and Internet sales, limiting magazine size and ammunition purchases, and requiring more reliable background checks are fully consistent with the Second Amendment, which is not the right to keep a military arsenal. A nation that prohibits the civilian ownership of shoulder-launched missiles is already on a slippery slope — where all responsible governing takes place.
Read the rest here.
I am foefully disturbed that the task of defending the right to own large-capacity semi-auto weapons has fallen on this batch of republicans. Politics is power and pragmatism is the name of the game. We are all at risk now.
No one has the need for “large-capacity semi-automatic weapons.” Ever. Under any circumstances.
That’s woefully irresponsible, and reeks of a man more determined to exercise his rights than to consider the good and well-being of his fellow man. That’s the definition of proud, obstinate, and stubborn.
Gun control is probably good (notice the irony-drugs etc should be made legal yet guns should not)
but it will not make any difference, unless America deals with its lost young men who really have no purpose in life and perhaps carry a lot of resentment etc to cause them to be violent.
Many countries have Gun control laws like UK- but violence has only increased because the root problem is their men and ultimately the lack of Jesus in their lives.
As someone from UK, I noticed Akash’s remark. There has been some agonised debate here, both from leftwingers and rightwingers (e.g. both in the Guardian and the Telegraph). We have been tightening our gun laws which have always been more restrictive than in the US. This was in response to two major massacres, at Hungerford and Dunblane. And yet we still do not feel safe. Tight gun laws do not eliminate the problem.
Gun control may well have a major role in responding to such massacres but they can only be a part.
It is striking that although the US has easily the highest gun ownership in the world, there are places with a death rate from gun crime 10 times as high as US. Obviously guns have a part in gun crime (is that a tautology?) but it is only one factor. Dealing with only this one factor runs the risk of simply transferring the problem to another outlet.
Part of the problem is what one commentator called the narcissism of our age. We are radically individualistic. Our whole celebrity driven culture, reality shows, identity issues and the like, is producing a failed culture just as elsewhere we have failed states. A failed culture will produce horrors. This is something facing both US and UK but can also be overstated. We have much to thank God for in the cultures of our nations, partly the product of Christian people down the centuries. But we are on a slippery slope. We need to tackle the narcissism of our age.
Gerson, as always, shows himself to be a statist, discovering the need for additional powers granted to the central government at the cost of liberty and now, self-defense.
How much longer will we, especially Christians, listen to this guy?
Tim makes some solid points. John, you’re also right – Gerson has been a statist and big government guy for a long time. If you look at his writings, you’ll see that he criticizes conservatives frequently, especially when they believe in limited government or limited federal government. Frankly, I think you’ll find that he criticizes conservatives a lot more than he does liberals.
The Seeking Disciple
Two points. First, what is deemed “assault weapon” is fully debatable. Most Democrats would describe an assault weapon as a shotgun or a handgun which many Americans own including myself. I agree that the vast majority of people do not need machine guns but to simply say that we want to ban assault weapons leads toward a gun ban and not gun control.
Secondly, why are we seeking to legalize all alcohol and drugs when more people are killed by them then guns? Why ban guns but promote the other?
I’ll just make some general comments in reply to some responses I’ve seen posted recently.
First, we have people talking about the right to do this and the freedom to do that. Do you know who you might sound like? There’s a line where devotion to this right leads to idolatry.
The 2nd Amendment gives us a right to bear arms. The government already limits this right in certain ways. In other ways the Supreme Court has liberalized, meaning expanded upon, the 2nd Amendment in largely glossing over the well-regulated militia portion of the amendment.
Second, is the notion that it’s too soon to address any measures taken in the aftermath of the Connecticut massacre. That happened a few days after a series of murders in a mall in Oregon that made the national news and a few months after the well-covered spree in a movie theater in Aurora. For some the grieving never stopped.
Reality is that we’re discussing nothing new. I think, rather, that some are wrestling with some uncomfortable truths regarding their ideology. Perhaps that’s why a number of prominent conservatives are coming forward saying something needs to be done.
I don’t think these people are all of a sudden anti- 2nd Amendment. But, perhaps its true that current gun laws are too flexible and there are reasonable steps we can take.
I’ll echo what some have said about what are considered assault weapons. These would include AR-15 variants and the like and not most shotguns and handguns. These weapons are not ideal for home defense. Give me a shotgun over one of those almost every day of the week unless we’re in a Red Dawn situation. Assault rifles and high capacity mags? Unnecessary unless you’re a survivalist bordering on paranoia about the tyrannical federal government, impending collapse, and the ever-present danger of looters.
Lastly, I’m active military. I know what our capabilities are. The right to bear arms as a deterrent to government tyranny is symbolic at best provided that the federal government has a functioning Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force on its side when some group decides the tree of liberty needs some watering.
Isaiah 2:4. Lord hasten the day.