When talking with advocates of gun control I try and find a way to have an intelligent and impactful discussion. Unfortunately, the results of those conversations have little to do with how respectful and even-toned the communication.
Over the years I have found gun control advocates tend to fall into several categories.
Frankly speaking, the most dangerous of these advocates are the people for whom gun control is really just a vehicle to impose government control on the population. These are the totalitarians and the statists for whom an armed citizenry represents a real threat to their desire to control people’s lives. Gun violence is merely a convenient topic to use as an excuse to enfeeble the citizenry in their pursuit of power and plunder. These are evil people. Evil. And history is full of them.
Then there are the camp-followers. These are the people who feel the need to appear main stream. They are those most susceptible to the information regularly spewed out by the mass media. They hear it so often that they just assume it must be right and end up regurgitating the talking points they have memorized. Given enough time and conversation these folks can be reached with logic and reason. But it takes time for camp-followers to muster up the courage to change their thinking. ( or lack there of ).
Then there are those who have suffered personal tragedy as a result of firearm violence. For these people, the trauma of their loss is so great, gun control is a means to assuage their pain by lashing out and punishing someone or something. Unfortunately, these highly emotive people never attack the person truly responsible for their loss… the criminal. They always vent their anger against convenient third parties. Amazingly, these people truly believe that engaging in a personal vendetta on a third party is some great moral crusade. One thing is certain: you will never see this person on the front lines to defend someone else’s life when they are threatened by a criminal. They are too busy attending meetings and rallies or writing letters to the editor from the safety of their gated communities.
I find one group of gun control advocates however especially challenging. These are the illiterates. The people who either lack reading comprehension skills or find it too difficult to think things through. Like the camp followers, these people can be brought up to speed, but it often takes a very long time.
For example, these are the people who can not distinguish between the dependent clause and the independent clause within the 2nd Amendment.
The Second Amendment 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.”
Within the Second Amendment, the independent clause is:” .. the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. ” The statement stands on it’s own merits. It is a complete sentence in and of itself. It needs no further explanation to understand.
The dependent clause is: ” A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.. “. This section does not stand on it’s own merits. It requires something else to explain why it is relevant. In fact, the dependent clause merely gives further information about the independent clause. It does not dominate the independent clause. It does not have preeminence over the independent clause. It dilutes it in no way. It merely embellishes what is being addressed.
Also, illiterate gun control advocates are forever confused by the order of words in the Second Amendment. They think that words at the start of a sentence have pre-eminence over those that follow. In the Second Amendment this simply is not true. The statement about a militia only verifies an importance related to the right. Illiterate advocates simply do not understand grammar and the meaning presented.
Illiterate gun control advocates also find themselves confused by the phrase
” well regulated “.
They ignore the fact that the thing that the thing being regulated is the militia…. not firearms… and definitely not the people. This is another example of their failing to understand grammar.
They further do not understand the meaning of the phrase ” well regulated ” as it relates to the militia. Accordingly, an illiterate assumes that any regulation regarding firearms is perfectly legitimate under the guidelines of the Second Amendment. A well regulated militia is a group of armed men who have been trained and drilled so as to operate as a cohesive military force. They have been trained to act as a unit, to follow orders, to shoot accurately, etc. This is the basis of why in modern times we say that someone is part of the ” regular army ” and not a militia.
The illiterate is also often blind to the word ” shall “. Shall is a mandate. An absolute. It is not subject to debate. The Second Amendment clearly mandates that this right is an absolute right. It is not subject to dilution by over-regulation by the government. It is subject to strict scrutiny.
Finally, the illiterate completely misses that fact that the right enumerated is a right of the people, not the militia.
While I often find having a discussion with a gun-control advocate a challenge, it is a challenge that must be met. And it is an effort I will continue to pursue. Failing to do so will be a failing of the oath of obligation I took more than 30 years ago: ” .. to preserve, protect and defend, the Constitution of the United States of America .”