Reconsidering gun control

I am reverent of the freedom-guarding intent of the Second Amendment. But my reverence is irrelevant.

Like many people I know, and public figures I've seen recently, the killings in a Newtown, Conn. elementary school have made me reconsider my position on gun control.

As a hunter, a veteran, and a dyed-in-the wool radical, I want to show fellow gun owners - and, more importantly, fellow Americans who are distrustful of an armed government with an unarmed populace - that the logic I espoused for most of my life is bankrupt.

Until December, my stance on the Second Amendment was essentially, “Our government can't be trusted with the monopoly on lethal power. As such, the right to resist tyranny embedded in our Constitution justified the tragic deaths that would inevitably result from the proliferation of these incredibly deadly weapons.”

I deployed to the Iraq War in 2004 as a U.S. Marine. I came to see my experience in Iraq as that of a pawn doing the work of liars, profiteers, and chicken hawks.

I say this to illustrate that my outlook on gun control is influenced both from the standpoint of a Constitution-observing public servant and as a person who came to question the integrity of our system of governance to the very core.

In short, I was reverent of the Second Amendment's freedom-guarding intent. I still am.

But my reverence is irrelevant.

The Second Amendment stopped giving the insurrectionists among us a chance as soon as military technology advanced beyond the rifle. No modern Shay's Rebellion is viable, militarily speaking, unless the Second Amendment is read to protect an individual's right to bear surface-to-air missiles, personally owned Abrams tanks, and state-sanctioned depleted-uranium artillery.

Who in their right mind would want to live in a place that gave access to these things to any person, no matter how law-abiding or responsible?

Even if you would prefer that much-more-dangerous world, it doesn't exist, thankfully, and because no group of armed citizens is on par with U.S. military power, the “guns guard our freedom” argument is hollow and insane.

The “guns guard our freedom” perspective is the bedrock of the anti-gun-control movement, and until we speak to it with respect and honesty, we will not sway the disenchanted and angry among us who feel the pain of the mothers in Newtown, but fear, rightly or wrongly, the Orwellian implications of disarming.

Frankly, arguments to anyone else is preaching to the choir.

* * *

As I reconsidered my logic and let go of my previous rationale, the only remaining argument in my mind was the old standby, “Guns don't kill people, people kill people.”

That is undeniable. But given the fact that the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia collectively have more people than the U.S., yet have only 0.05 percent of our country's gun deaths, it is now obvious to me that the complete story is: “Guns don't kill people, but when people have access to guns, they kill a lot more innocent people than they otherwise could.”

Patriots and rebels alike, lovers of freedom, please take a new point of view with me.

If your freedom feels vulnerable, I remind you that an ounce of prevention (read: real community) is worth a pound of emergency-room care, which is revolting.

We should not dismiss the National Rifle Association's seed of truth that, in fact, people do kill people. I admit it speaks to the root of the problem.

But we would be foolish to allow a treatable symptom like gun violence to run amok before we devote our attention to curing our disease, whether you see it as untreated mental illness, cultural glorification of violence, or - as I see it - the world view that we are separated individuals, alone in our struggles, and that our love is weaker than our fear.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates