Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, President Obama’s all-ear’s reaction that sparked a gun debate did not sit well with conservatives. While freak outs about gun confiscation and the destruction of the Second Amendment have been unfound and comical at best, Obama still had to find a way to rub gun advocate’s backs. On Jan. 27, in an interview with The New Republic, Obama likened with recreational gun owners when asked about his history with handling guns.
“Yes, in fact, up at Camp David we do skeet shooting all of the time,” Obama said. “And, I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.”
Here we go. What we’ve seen so far from the new-age gun debate, which has focused almost entirely on the label AR- 15, which is a semi-automatic and ergonomically convenient hunting rifle, is a discussion that has been completely out of focus considering nearly all firearm injuries in this country are with handguns.
The national tangent of dialogue on guns has, however, shed some light on a key issue with the perception of the Second Amendment. Obama’s back-rub comments on his hunting past puts him under this scope as well.
Hunting is an integral part of America’s pastime and a tradition for many American families. However, hunting is not mentioned in the Second Amendment. While the national dialogue on the gun debate has not focused on hunting much, if at all, it has centered around a hunting rifle that is in high demand by prospective gun owners in the wake of discussion on renewing an assault rifle ban.
Conservatives are bashing the liberal media for misreporting what is and isn’t an assault rifle, claiming they are simply hunting rifles. But, humor this: if you’re trying to reinforce the foundations of the Second Amendment, citing sporting activities probably isn’t advised.
The U.S. Constitution states the right to bear arms within these terms: “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.”
You have a right to a gun within the implications that it empowers you, as a citizen, against trespassers and tyranny within your own state of federal government. The Bill of Rights states, to the governing body, what powers the citizen has the right to wield. There’s a reason arms (in 1787 we’d be talking muskets) are written in with such implied power; They come with great responsibility.
One of the more dumbfounding pieces of gun-advocating rhetoric is when gun confiscation threats (even though, as stated, isn’t a reality) are followed with the formulaic response, ‘Well, why not take away our cars? Our baseball bats? Our hands? What’s next?’
Here’s where that reaction is completely off-base.
Cars are manufactured for transportation. Baseball bats are manufactured for sport. Hands. Well, I don’t really need to elaborate more there, do I?
The point is, guns are manufactured to kill. We have the right to own a killing machine under the confines of the Second Amendment. And, aside from hunting, there’s really no scenario where using a killing machine should be seen as something enjoyed–a novelty, if you will.
That is, unless you hunt. Anti-hunting conversation is usually retorted by the justification that controlling deer population reduces car-collisions. But, let’s be honest, how many are going out to hunt every day saying, ‘Honey, catch you later. We’ve got to go meet our deer quota for the betterment of society.’
In essence, hunting is a sport. AR-15s are, within our culture, a sport rifle. Even conservatives are trying to expose misreporting by saying so. Not to mention the fact that the conservative alternative to increased gun control is increased monitoring of who’s insane and who isn’t, based on medical records.
So, we’re going to take the rights away from people medics can deem mentally ill, but we’re not going to question the people who enjoy instigating the slow, painful death of a non-pasteurized animal? Sure, that last sentence might be a stretch, but the point is the entire gun debate has been comically misguided and off-track.
Neither side is providing a considerably decent argument, mainly because the argument went through the wrong door to begin with. The whole ‘what type of gun should I have’ debate turned brown and hit a new fan on Jan. 21 when Vice Pres. Joe Biden claimed a shotgun was a better alternative than an AR-15 for a woman trying to defend her home.
Under the parameters of the Second Amendment— specifically, self defense—an AR-15 is actually far more preferable to an otherwise vulnerable woman than a shotgun. In fact, feel free to watch YouTube videos of females shooting both and decide for yourself.
Our problem with guns in this country is real, but it has a lot less to do with the proper jargon and practicality of guns and a lot more to do with handguns, the lower-class, and a major lack of respect and civility between citizens.
In the past few months both the President and Vice President have offered shallow political rhetoric on the matter, and not much more.
Until both conservatives and liberals stop turning over the wrong rocks, not much in the gun debate is worth listening to.
That is, unless, you like contradictions, falsities, and irony.
Michael is a senior and a Communication major.