Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

gun rights cartoon
Image found at Technicolor Dreams

The recent US Supreme Court decision on extending 2nd Amendment rights to all cities and states, effectively removing most, if not all, local gun rights, gave me pause.

While I’m not a gun owner [Super Soakers don’t count, do they?], I do support the right to own a gun [no semi-automatic or assault rifles, AK-47’s and the like] and to use it for personal protection, harmless target practice or hunting. Even properly registered guns with a concealed weapon permit are ok by me, as long as the person packing heat has been trained and knows how to use the gun and plans to be responsible in their use.

I discussed this recent decision with a local gun rights supporter, who also happens to feel that state rights should not be trumped by federal rights. Yet, he supports this decision. I asked him about his conundrum and conflict:

  • ME: “So you don’t want the feds to take away states rights, yet you support this decision?”
  • HIM:“Yes.”
  • ME: Asking a follow-up question, “So it’s ok when it’s something you agree with, but yet when the Supreme Court decides on something you don’t agree with, it’s not ok?”
  • HIM: “Well, yes… er.. um.. I guess”

We didn’t discuss much after that, changing the subject to something generic [“Are you getting the new iPhone 4?”], but it made me think about this. Sure, there are some decisions that the court decides that I don’t agree with [the decision earlier this year, removing the limitation of corporations to financially participate in elections], but I really do try to keep an open mind about how some of these decisions are made, for the most part, trying to see how they would benefit others. The ultimate goal of the Supreme Court is to extend rights, not take them away. I’m waiting to see what the impact of this 2nd amendment decision will be before I weigh in with my thoughts, but would like to hear how others feel about this.

Comment away below.

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  1. B.E. Earl says:

    Quick question: Since the ruling reaffirms 2nd Amendment rights in cities and states, doesn’t it effectively remove local gun restrictions rather than local gun rights? Or am I not understanding this correctly?

  2. martymankins says:

    earl – Good question. The case was brought forth based on gun restrictions, but if I am reading the details of the ruling and opinion correctly, it is rights that they are affirming.

  3. Finn says:

    I don’t know how I feel about this either. I think that sometimes people miss the point of the 2nd Amendment (a point which is reiterated by Justice Stevens in the article you referenced) and feel that controls on owning deadly weapons are never justified. On the other hand, law-abiding citizens should be able to defend themselves. I don’t think requiring education, responsiblity and licensing restricts most people’s ability to own a gun if they want one.

    As far as the state’s rights question, it seems to me we have to decide whether states govern themselves or the federal goverment rules all, then follow it across the board. We can’t just pick and choose.

  4. Avitable says:

    I think that the rule has always been that the states can make things stricter than the federal government, but not more lenient. By doing this, the Supreme Court is bringing into question a lot of different areas. By the same logic, the Supreme Court could use the 1st Amendment to prevent states from enacting bans on adult venues, sodomy, etc. This is a slippery slope.

  5. Ren says:

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down there bud. You glossed over the most important part of this…

    *Are* you getting the new iPhone 4?!

  6. I find the whole gun ownership issue rather weird to be honest. But then again I grew up in a country where you’re not allowed to own guns so it’s not really part of my nature.

    I do understand that Americans have a right to own weaponry but still, after living in the USA for the last 13 years, walking into a shop and being able to purchase something like this just boggles my mind.

    When my Mum & Dad were over from England a few months back I took my Dad to that shop. It blew his mind. “People are allowed to buy those then?” he asked me in a state of disbelief. “Welcome to America” I replied 😉

  7. kapgar says:

    It’s hard to know what to think of decisions like this as they are made and passed down to be enforced at the local or state level. But, many times, I feel that the federal legislators rarely understand the needs of the states they supposedly represent. If we were a smaller country, I can understand more Federal control. But we are such a large and diverse and spread out country that you almost need to deal with us on a state-by-state basis or, at the very least, a regional level.

  8. Dave2 says:

    And that pretty much sums up Americans’ take on politics: people like something when it benefits their ideals and hate something when it’s detrimental to their ideals… even if the underlaying concepts are completely the same. And though it may seem logic-free on the surface, I take comfort in the thought that it’s at least consistent!

  9. Sybil Law says:

    It worries me, for sure. I am all for people legally and smartly owning guns. In fact, I am really thinking of buying one, myself. Of course, I’ve said that for years, now…

  10. martymankins says:

    finn – I’m all for states rights on what kind of restrictions or permissions that apply locally for gun use, but as you said, we can’t pick and choose. The 2nd amendment does grant basic rights of gun ownership. As I said in my post, I’ve not researched this enough to form an opinion.

    avitable – I would be concerned if this ruling also started affecting other adult activities like strip clubs and the like.

    ren – Ha! Nope, won’t be an iPhone 4 owner anytime soon.

    kevin – I understand your thoughts, especially seeing how much and what you can purchase here in the US when it comes to firearms. I would hate to see this ruling add more fuel to to the debate of banning more powerful firearms (Bush let the ban on assault rifles lapse, which IMO, needs to be reinstated).

    kapgar – I think the concern here is that too many state and local gun rights may be too strict, which I can see being an issue. Perhaps a basic ownership and registration nationwide, with states controlling what types of guns. Although, again, that’s a concern if say one state allow assault rifles but another does not and the person that owns one moves to that state that bans them.

    dave2 – Being consistent on these rules and laws is what I’m hoping for. Confusion only add more fuel to the fire.

    sybil law – I’ve never had an interest in owning a gun or firearm, but if I lived in an area where I felt I needed one for protection, and it made me feel more secure, I’d certainly be open to having one and getting properly trained in the use of it.

  11. Aydin says:

    Hi im not from USA but i liked the picture have fun because guns are not allowed here.

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