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This Constitution is rated "X"

The other day a posting of mine degenerated into an argument about gun control. The prime advocate for controlling firearms trotted out the standard talking points, with extra emphasis on protecting children -- citing teen suicide by gun statistics, teen homicide, and the like.

I'll save the actual gun-control argument for another time, but only point out the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

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.

That brought a bigger issue to mind: the United States Constitution was written by adults for adults. More specifically, at the time it was written for white, property-owning males -- those who, at the time, were considered to be mature and responsible members of society. That has expanded since, to all adult citizens who have not forfeited their franchise by conviction of a crime, but the essential concept remains the same: the Constitution was written for mature, responsible people.

The underlying presumption behind that is that rights and responsibilities are inseparably intertwined. Paul Harvey phrases it as "self-government without self-discipline is self-defeating," and I kind of like that.

People often refer to the "right" to vote, but I don't think of it as such. I view my franchise as a duty, and take it very seriously.

That explains why I (and so many other people) get annoyed at the "for the children" argument for many laws. We need to do this, stop that, outlaw the other thing to keep children from being injured.

But what isn't often brought up is that the reason why they feel the need to pass such laws -- because parents aren't doing their job. And because those parents aren't doing their job, keeping their children from misusing certain freedoms, then by gosh then NOBODY can do it.

In this case, it's guns. Because some people don't care for their guns responsibly, then NOBODY oughta have them. Pornography? Same thing. Every day millions of people look at nekkid pictures and don't go psycho. But because the fourteen-year-old might turn off the TV and miss seeing his 17th ending of a life and fire up the computer to see a picture of two people possibly starting one, we gotta make sure NOBODY sees nuthin' improper. Alcohol? We got millions of drinkers in this country who don't have problems. But because of a few, we all gotta jump through all kinds of hoops. Prescription drugs? Well, they MIGHT be abused, or they ARE being abused, so let's just take them away from everybody to get rid of that nasty temptation. ("Oxycontin" ring any bells?)

The main purpose of a "nanny" is to supplement the efforts of parents. And lord knows that the children who are being neglected and abused need help. But the problem with using the government is that the government is a "one size fits all" solution. There's very little room for individual judgment and discretion. In fact, it's a solid principle of our government that everyone ought to be treated equally under the law.

And in the nanny state, we're all just little kids that need someone to slap our hands and hide the cookie jar and clean up our messes for us.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: David Gerrold nailed it when he defined "freedom" as "the right to be responsible for one's actions." If we're going to have the government step in and protect us from our "bad" choices, how long will it be before it also starts intervening in our "good" choices? And who exactly will decide which choices are good or bad?

Thanks, but no thanks. I know some of my choices are pretty rotten, but they're MINE, and I neither want nor need anyone to "protect" me.


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Comments (26)

Excellent Post, Jay. I've f... (Below threshold)

Excellent Post, Jay. I've frequently wanted to scream through a loudspeaker that if your voting, you're an adult, not a child. Children have no place deciding policy, nor do immature people over age 18/21.

One thing to echo your "self-governance" sentiments, is that... “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)

One of the first duties and responsiblities as a Christian is to self-govern ourselves. As children, we think in childish ways and do childish things. Yet, we grow up and no longer do childish things. As good as we are *in* America, is as good as we are *as* America. So says Alexis de Tocqueville.

Our Constitution presupposes that her citizenry would be generally and reasonably fair, honest and tolerant. Civility was presupposed at the Constitutional Convention.

Stellar post. More people ... (Below threshold)

Stellar post. More people need to take personal responsibility but the state makes it easier and easier to give it away. This is a never ending downward spiral until all our freedoms are gone.

Bravo, well said. I do thin... (Below threshold)

Bravo, well said. I do think guns should be regulated to the point where we anyone wanting a gun whether it be a rifle or pistol needs to pass some kind of test to prove they know what they are at least doing with a gun.

Same idea as a drivers license and the schooling before you get that license or a class on hunting or shooting safety. When you completed the class, and buy a weapon, just present the course cert in addition to your criminal background check. Done deal.

I would have no problem if I knew nothing about guns to taking some kind of instructional course. I think this would also weed out those to some extent with criminal intent. But unfortunately this doesn't stop guns being sold under the radar. Perhaps making it a felony selling to anyone outside your family would make some pause.

Another thought would be to offer incentives for selling your gun(s) back to a licensed dealer instead of potentially putting it into circulation where who knows who will end up with it.

Guns have their place in our society in responsible hands, but not so with those who have evil intents. The challenge is to keep guns in good hands and out of bad.

We need to also remember when that amendment was passed, guns were still a necessary part of life for putting food on the table and self defense from Indians and enemies of newly formed America in general.

Whether our founding Fathers ever dreamed their wording of the 2nd would today cause conflict, it's pretty simple for me. It's past the point of debate, guns are here and have been throughout American history and are here to stay. We need to deal with what's here instead of trying to reverse or revise history.

Luckily for me I grew up around them so I have guns, but am not a regular shooter or hunter these days. I was also a sharpshooter in my "Y" camping days. Those good ol .22 single shots. Bet some of you out there remember that.

just my 2 cents

Go Jay Tea!! Woo-woo-woo!!... (Below threshold)

Go Jay Tea!! Woo-woo-woo!! :-)

Phil: I don't mean to turn... (Below threshold)

Phil: I don't mean to turn an otherwise civilized thread into another debate, but personally, I will never, ever, ever support ANY kind of government licensing scheme.

The power to permit is the power to deny, as gun owners in South Africa have recently discovered when the Minister for public safety or some other unelected poo-bah declared that no more gun licenses would be processed. Ever.

Bingo, instant gun ban without public debate or law or vote.

The only effect of ANY license, permit, registry or other mother-may-I boondoggle is to hassle law abiding citizens and set up eventual confiscation. Criminals generally don't bother to jump through paper hoops.

Phil: "Bravo, well said. I ... (Below threshold)
Josh Davenport:

Phil: "Bravo, well said. I do think guns should be regulated to the point where we anyone wanting a gun whether it be a rifle or pistol needs to pass some kind of test to prove they know what they are at least doing with a gun."

Oh, so you mean bravo, well said, but I disagree.

Phil,I think that ... (Below threshold)


I think that in the spirit of your arguement you are correct, but I realize that such a thing is never going to be possible. Ever.

First, as others have pointed out, criminals do not really care about government regulations. A gang member is not going to make sure his handgun is registered when he kills a member of a rival gang. Even people who have registered their guns who then move on to committing murder probably did not plan to do it when they bought the gun. And if they did, without a criminal record how would anybody know?

You are also putting way too much faith in the government. You are assuming that the government is willing to play fair. We all know how well that faith is placed. Any government knows that an armed populace presents a danger to absolute power, and, despite what America is founded on, no government is immune from a dictatorship developing.

That is why I will never support gun control. Freedoms are rarely taken all at once but rather by degrees so as not to be noticed.

Just look north to Canada w... (Below threshold)

Just look north to Canada where the government protects Canadians from everything. The television channels Canadians see are approved by the government to protect Canadian culture. The level of foreign investment is controlled. Foreign companies cannot own a controlling interest in a bookstore. And there is a $2 billion (so far and counting) gun registry that hasn't put a dent in crime at all.

Most here have already expr... (Below threshold)

Most here have already expressed the best in the fullest means possible, so I won't be redundant...except to add that at one point in time, I encouraged the "own but license" method of "freedom" where our right to own firearms is concerned, but no longer, and for the very reasons pdb writes.

Also, after hearing even a few legislators this one day alone about a complex issue, try to formulate any lucidity, logic...I am now convinced that, although I respect other adults and recognize the difficulty in winning an elected office, I also can easily recognize that it isn't a case of mental or moral superiority involved, so much as a process that won over another. And that, to entrust that some of those persons would/could have my best interests at heart and would even care to act on that, is a waste of hopes.

Self responsibility is the way to go for any sense of peace of mind. You can, at least, be more honest with the rest of society at times of confrontation, while the socialist crowd continues to hem and hedge and placate and make nonsense fashionable.

For responsible persons, however, OxyContin can make chronic pain less awful. Not everyone's an addictive personality (as in, if it's not OxyContin, then it's something else, if you have an addictive personality, problems with substance abuse).

I used to support the idea ... (Below threshold)
Patrick Chester:

I used to support the idea of "testing" for competency with firearms, but years of exposure to the gun control movement gave me the impression that any testing regime would at best be about as fair as literacy tests in the deep South during Jim Crow.

So no, the consequences of abuse is too great, so we mere peasants will have to muddle about and figure out which end the bullets come out of all on our own.

I kept scrolling 'til I saw... (Below threshold)

I kept scrolling 'til I saw -S-. and I was right, words well written. A concise snapshot of the paradox of "freely" elected officials and who and what they represent. I'll keep writing Oxycontin scripts for those that really need pain relief until they pry my pen and pad from my cold dead hands...

I have often heard that the... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I have often heard that the only price than can purchase freedom is blood. Until recently that truism seemed only to apply to armed aggression, but now I see that it applies to domestic situations as well. To preserve the freedom of the many we must be willing to allow the few who would abuse freedom to shed blood, usually their own. Yes, it’s a balancing act, but if you want the freedom to have a gun, use a prescription or even an over the counter drug, drive at a reasonable speed on the highway, or own a car with more then the minimum horsepower, you have to accept that some blood will be shed. Freedom will accept no other price.

Anyone else find it kinda i... (Below threshold)

Anyone else find it kinda ironic that the crowd that think Bush is a fascist dictator in the making are also don't want guns in the hands of civilians? :)

You all make valid points. ... (Below threshold)

You all make valid points. I too am leary of government, and as it is, government already intrudes in the gun buying process as it is. my main thrust was to point out how tough it is to keep guns out of bad hands and only in good responsible hands. No real easy answer, they are here and here to stay. It's a issue that will be debated for a long time.

The Left wants only the Pol... (Below threshold)
Leftism = Slave Morality:

The Left wants only the Police and the Military to have guns. Then they want to control the Police and Military. Why? Social justice (i.e. make YOU a slave).

Litmus tests have their pur... (Below threshold)

Litmus tests have their purpose and gun control is one of mine. Any politician who does not trust the public to keep and bear arms is not someone I would trust with political power.

There is very little govern... (Below threshold)

There is very little government can do to keep firearms out of the hands of the bad guys apart from arresting those who have comitted violent gun crime and sentencing them to very long terms in prison. We the people can do our part by responsibly owning and using(those of us who wish to do so) firearms to prevent and deter violent crimes from occuring.

Phil,Licensing ide... (Below threshold)


Licensing idea has merit....only not with the guns. I'd be more in favor of people having to pass a compentency test for having CHILDREN before having a gun.

I think it's worth mentioni... (Below threshold)

I think it's worth mentioning that this issue -- and Jay's post -- is about more than just firearms, and more than just evil liberals trying to take away guns. Both parties are guilty of promoting the Nanny State. Probably no single individual in Congress is bigger on it than Rick Santorum (R-PA), who apparently believes you don't have "the right to consensual sex within your home".

Licensing does nothing to p... (Below threshold)

Licensing does nothing to prevent gun crime. All it does is track people who are ALREADY playing by the rules.

Although you come from a di... (Below threshold)

Although you come from a different side, you bring up a point that I often make; speech, alcohol, religion, guns, free press are all protected under the Constitution.

What gun nuts don't understand is that these all come with restrictions.

An 14 year old cant buy alcohol
I can't buy beer in Indiana on Sunday
Most counties in the rural south are dry
I can't drink and drive

Mormons cannot have more than one wife even though it’s their religion
Rastafarians cannot smoke weed even though it's part of their religion
Stan worshipers cannot make sacrifices even though its part of their religion

I can’t print slanderous materials
I can name a couple of reporters who are in jail for not revealing their sources
I cannot use images of people who do not want to be photographed

Speech / Expression:
I cannot yell fire in a crowded theater
2 live crew were arrested on obscenity charges for performing in front of adult only crowds
I can't threaten someone’s life
I cannot intentionally and maliciously make up and print lies about someone in order to damage them

Waiting period for handguns
Some weapons restrictions in certain areas

Clearly there are very few gun regulations, most kids have a harder time buying an allergy medicine than they would a gun, the Federal Law says medicine, even aspirin has to come with a child safety lock, yet a gun needs no such things.

If there are limits to the 1st and 21st amendments then there are limits to the 2nd. I don't want to live in a society where all speech, all print, all media, are censored, or where there is no alcohol or where I cannot protect/arm myself. But with that comes some restriction and I also don't want to live in a society where anyone can do and say, shoot, kill, drink what ever they want, whenever they want, no matter who or how old they are.

It's not all black and white, get with the times.

Anyone else find it kind... (Below threshold)

Anyone else find it kinda ironic that the crowd that think Bush is a fascist dictator in the making are also don't want guns in the hands of civilians? :)-- Posted by: SCSIwuzzy at July 18, 2005 08:15 AM

Yeah, noticed and noticed very clearly and a while ago. Just reading about a certain randy dictator in Venezuela who loyal socialist subjects love because he's providing them with free healthcare by trading with Castro and regards the Catholic Church as "a tumor" on his plans.

Never mind that you're crazy and vile, just give us free things! Love ya', the socialists/communists of the Americas.

And, well, um, I don't see any difference between that crazy dictator (Chavez, Venezuela) and what Hillary Clinton and Dean and others have in mind for the U.S. New York loved Castro when he last visited, I read, and Hillary and Dean and dreadful Kerry and tipsy wife love the idea of taking away individual rights to serve the proletariat. Health "care" never seemed as cryptic as when Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton and other Marxist Democrats wail on against liberty.

And, an armed proletariat is a "privileged" proletariat, in the perception of Marxists and socialists everywhere. Can't have privilege, must have submission.

Jesse...Rick Santorum worri... (Below threshold)

Jesse...Rick Santorum worries about your soul. As do others. What you chose is what determines your soul's destiny and what society sanctions as being just alright for your soul's choices can't be controlled, but it can be advised.

Santorum was and is advising according to his choices. He is entitled as a citizen to make those choices known, and to share what he thinks is right action as opposed to wrong action. You can then decide for yourself because, we all have eternity ahead of us...perhaps you underestimate the consequences of one bedroom filled with free choice of behaviors in the full range of what results afterward.

Many people to their failing tend to be overwhelmed by the moment, the impulsive and perceive because their roof doesn't fall in afterward that whatever they do "in private" is alright, has no negative consequences. It's not laudible reasoning.

When the government demands... (Below threshold)

When the government demands my trust, is the instant it loses all hope of obtaining that trust.

When the government requires that I rely upon them for my protection, is the instant I know against whom I must protect myself and my loved ones.

You may refuse to defend yourself and your loved ones against your attackers. That is your right. But I will see you in Hell before I will allow you to require the same of me.

As Justice Sandra O'Connor ... (Below threshold)

As Justice Sandra O'Connor said : What the government can forbid today -- it can COMPEL tomorrow.

I believe any weapon a US s... (Below threshold)

I believe any weapon a US soldier may have at hand, should be readily available (for a price, of course) to any civilian of any age.

I think Bush is a socialist.

Where does that put me in your equation?

Bush asked for the Clinton Semi-auto ban to be renewed. He's no friend of the Constitution. And Alberto "The constitution is what judges say it is" Gonzales has just enacted another BATFE "rule" (not a law) that makes importing gun parts a federal crime.

I hate drug abusers, but government is NOT the answer. I think I'm going Constitution Party or Libertarian next time out. The Republicans are just as bad as Democrats.

The only possible ray of light is Mr. Roberts' nomination. If that turns out to be a good thing, I might give Mr. Bush another chance to be the conservative that we elected. But until then, he has already discarded my vote next time. (for the repub I mean)






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