There are some topics that by their very natures are polarizing. We are currently cruising into a national election. Republicans and Democrats and everyone in between are consistently and often vehemently hawking their respective positions. As a result, whether or not it is intended, things get shoved into conservative and liberal camps, where very little gray area seems to exist.
And, that’s the problem. There is an awfully lot of gray area in these polarizing topics. But, things are not always as black and white as the labels would have them be. Generally speaking, I am conservative to varying degrees on different topics. On the topic of abortion, I’m sort of conservative. On the topic of capital punishment I’m conservative. On the topic of immigration, I’m almost moderate—not quite, just almost. And on the topic of gun control, I’m very conservative. And, even among these positions I find I am always adjusting and realigning myself, depending on new input I receive and further reasoning.
I don’t believe we need any more gun laws. I also don’t believe we should get rid of the ones we currently have. I do believe we should actively enforce the laws that are currently on the books. The Second Amendment is a simple statement. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has definitively held that "the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that weapon for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." In the state of Texas the home has been extended to include one’s vehicle. “Conceal Carry” laws are established by states and are a separate argument, which I don’t want to get into at this time.
I want to discuss the right of the individual to bear arms, or to own a handgun. I do not see how there could be any doubt as to the constitutional right I have to own a handgun and use it in defense of my family and property. The state of Texas has said I need not be licensed to have my weapon in my house or vehicle. If I wish to carry it elsewhere, then I must be licensed to do so, which I am. However, I do not carry my handgun on my person; I do not see the need to do so. You might be surprised to find I don’t think Zimmerman had a need to carry a handgun. However, I do believe he had the right to do so, if he met all of the requirements of the State of Florida for carrying a firearm.
However, for the “conceal carry” equation to work you first need a responsible person. That appears to be the lacking element in this case. Whether Zimmerman was responsible will be determined by the jury. In my book there is no doubt that he was a stupid person. There was no need for him to be in that situation. His responsibility as a “watch captain” was fulfilled as soon as he called 911. A responsible person would stop and wait for the police.
We cannot legislate “stupid.” People are going to act irresponsibly. That’s our nature. All we can do is to establish our statutes in such a manner that responsibility is encouraged; it cannot be guaranteed. We cannot guarantee a Navy Seal will not go rogue, we cannot guarantee a police officer will not act irresponsibly; and we certainly cannot guarantee our normally sane neighbor will not go insane. Laws are established for responsible people. The irresponsible among us care nothing for the law and will ignore them to satisfy their own agenda.
Ban and remove guns from the population and the only ones having guns will be the outlaws—the nuts. And, don’t for a minute think a ban on guns will make it more difficult for outlaws to get the guns. All guns are illegal in Scotland; and that did not prevent Thomas Hamilton from shooting sixteen children and one teacher at the Dunblane Primary School. No, the black market will thrive. Most guns used in crimes are black market guns anyway—that’s the status quo. And, outlawing guns will not prevent the crazies from attacking a school or a crowded shopping mall with a homemade bomb, or other weapon. Crazy folks will find a way to fulfill their desires; that’s why they’re crazy.
So, I suppose the question is do we remove the constitutional right of the individual to own a gun because there are irresponsible and often crazy people living among us? Well, are we willing to take cell phones out of the texting hands of drivers speeding down our highways? Or for that matter, are we ready to go back to the horse and buggy as our method of transportation? After all, 32,788 people died in traffic accidents nation-wide in 2010. I’m not willing to do that. The irresponsible and crazy people will always be irresponsible and crazy; and I, who am responsible, would then be unarmed.