Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wait a Second! (Second Amendment, that is)

After the mass shooting of twenty young children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, I felt certain that we’d make progress as a nation toward stricter gun laws. Certainly, large numbers of people seemed to agree on two things: 1) the need for background checks and 2) limiting a magazine’s capacity.
Unfortunately, there’s been precious little progress. On the plus side, New York acted quickly to become the first US state to tighten gun controls since the school massacre, specifically banning certain kinds of weapons to prevent high-fatality shootings. As of January 15, other states moving toward tighter gun control laws were Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Washington, D.C. already has strict gun control laws.

On July 1, the Associated Press reported on the status of recently-passed legislation going into effect. Concerning guns, most efforts to pass restrictions in the early part of 2013 faced fierce opposition and failed. At least 18 states, including the states of Texas, Kansas, Arizona, South Dakota, Wyoming, Tennessee, Missouri, and Alabama, my home state, shamefully loosened their gun laws. Kansas approved restrictions favored by the National Rifle Association on the use of state tax dollars to promote or oppose gun control measures or to lobby local, state, or federal officials on the issue. Some of the states passed laws to disregard federal laws (or executive order) and, in fact, aimed toward making it a criminal offense for a federal agent to try and enforce the law in their states. To top that, new laws enabled school employees to carry concealed weapons and ensured that weapons be allowed in more public buildings. Alabama passed a law that now allows loaded guns to be kept in the trunk of the car at their places of employment. How long will it take for an argument to erupt, with the disgruntled employee running to his car to fetch his gun? A lot shorter than the time it would take him to go home—the time spent wisely cooling off.
What prompted this entry was a recent promotion, dubbed the Second Amendment promotion, by The Huntsville Stars, a struggling, minor league baseball team. Anyone showing their NRA membership could get in free. What really bugged me, though, was the give-away promotion, the prizes being three guns. True, the guns would have to be picked up at Larry’s Pistol and Pawn, and that in itself was the height of hypocrisy. Those running the promotion knew guns didn’t belong in a stadium; yet, they promoted giving them away. Get your guns here, folks! No background checks required!

Guns. Beer. Stadium. Opposing sports fans. Ludicrous and dangerous. And not out of the realm of possibility.

Fortunately, though, someone killed the promotion. I’d like to think that a greater, sane segment of the public shot holes in the arrangement, but I read (with dismay) the numerous comments in support. What prompted the cancellation, instead, was the governing body up the ladder recognized this particular controversy wasn’t good business.

Isn't it good business to try to ensure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands through proper background checks? Isn’t it good business to try to limit the number of people killed by passing legislation that limits the number of rounds a gun can shoot? Isn’t it good business to remind people that guns kept in the house for defense often end up with children shooting other children, or the defenders being shot themselves?

Apparently not. It's more important to keep the NRA happy.

One final word: As I understand it, 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."

How can something adopted on December 15, 1791, within a short time of our revolution and occurring at a time of continual turmoil, have any relation at all to bearing arms today?

(Information gleaned from USA Today, The Associated Press, and ABC News articles)


  1. Bonnie, Just so you will know - no firearms were to be given away during the Stars game. The raffle winner would only recieve a voucher which would be presented to a Federal Firearms licensed dealer at a later date. That person would then have to fill out the same Govt registration form and undergo the same background check as any other purcheser.

    1. Mark, a writer should get her facts.straight, shouldn't she?! I hadn't read that anywhere, but it may have been because I was flabberghasted at the promotion.