Many people seem to be celebrating the defeat of two bills in Congress today. They seem to think that if either passed, it would invalidate the Second Amendment and "take all our guns away."
This is NOT TRUE. On any level.
First of all, the only thing that could obliterate the Second Amendment is a Constitutional amendment. That's how it works. And amendments are extraordinarily difficult to pass. Ask anyone who worked on the ERA.
Secondly, the first bill--the one that just failed--would not have taken anyone's guns away. It was not about outlawing any sort of guns or ammo. It would tighten background checks so that people who shouldn't have a gun by law are not able to buy one. Unless you are a felon, a stalker or insane...your rights were never in jeopardy.
Who is in jeopardy now that this bill failed? Anyone who has ever had to file a restraining order or lives next door to a guy who thinks the voices in his head are ordering him to shoot the next person he sees.
Tightening background checks is a GOOD thing. I am a former stalking victim. Believe me, I get it.
The second bill was about banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. Not ALL guns. Just assault weapons. And frankly, I agree with it. These weapons are not necessary outside of the military.
You might disagree with that one, hell, you might be an assault weapons collector for all I know. It's your right to disagree with that bill. But the background checks? Why is that a bad thing? And please don't include in your answer the words "Second Amendment" or "taking all our guns away." I've already established the fallacy of that argument.
I am not anti-gun. I grew up in the Smokies, in Appalachia. As such, I understand the necessity of gun ownership. Many, many people in this country need to hunt or they will starve. They need to be able to protect themselves from rabid or injured animals. And yes, people need to be able to protect their family and property.
Tightening background checks would HELP you do that.
The Brady Act never took our guns away, nor did in ruin the Second Amendment. And that law, which established national background checks, was signed into law more than TWENTY YEARS AGO.
The bill that just died would have tightened those background checks, to close holes that 20+ years of the Brady Act have failed to do. That's it. It would not have outlawed guns any more than the Brady Act itself did.
I think it's only natural for us to say, "Ok, the Brady Act has been a good thing. We've now had it for two decades. Where can improvements be made? Are there loopholes that need to be closed? What have we learned about background checks in the last 20 years that we can apply here, making the law better and the American people safer?"
Sounds rational, right? Sadly, those voices were drowned out by those who chose to manipulate citizens into being afraid that the bill would confiscate the guns they need for food, sport and protection. Even worse, people were convinced that this bill would destroy the Bill of Rights, the foundation of our Constitution and our government...of our very way of life!
None of those accusations are true. Unfortunately, many people prefer spin to truth. They will believe what they hear from pundits and read through social media. They won't take the time to actually READ the bill itself, to do the research to make an informed decision.
It's much easier to rile people up than it is to tell them the truth. And if you succeed in riling them up...they will be too afraid, too outraged, to learn the truth. They'll even refuse to listen to truth, or believe it when they hear it. Emotion trumps information yet again.
And a good bill, which would have accomplished good things, goes nowhere.
The next time an estranged husband with a valid restraining order against him buys a gun and kills his family, the news outlets and social media will lament, asking "How did this happen? How did he even get a gun?"
He got it because good-hearted, well-meaning people got enraged via misinformation. They then made sure a bill tightening background checks died on the Senate floor, because they erroneously believed that if that bill passed, they'll take away our guns and destroy the Second Amendment. They never read the actual bill. They never inquired into exactly what the bill would do...or the consequences if it failed.
At least have the decency to send flowers.