Why the NRA Fights -or- The Week in Guns (Part III)
I keep reading that NOW is the time to talk about gun control. Okay, here we go.
Why does the NRA fight against any form of gun control? Banning certain automatic weapons or industrial grade weapons, for example, seems like a good compromise point. Not allowing guns to kids under 18? That seems like a good compromise point.
Simple. Because the goal for gun control advocates is to ban all guns, so the NRA won't negotiate. How do I know, for a fact, that banning all guns is the endgame in gun control? Because I pay attention to history.
America was, in part, founded on the back of the tobacco. A million pounds of tobacco was being exported to England...in the early 1600s! Tobacco was woven into the fabric of early American life. Now I have to point out, 300 years ago, smoking was basically tobacco. Today there's a zillion chemicals in cigarettes. You can get the chemical free cigarettes, but I understand that those taste like feces. (Which is why you put all those chemicals in the cigarettes.)
In 1965, Congress required all cigarette packages distributed in the United States to carry a health warning, and since 1970 this warning is made in the name of the Surgeon General. In 1969, cigarette advertising on television and radio was banned, effective September 1970.
As smoking rates declined over the past 50 years, state and federal laws are at least partly responsible. Despite not being a smoker myself, I remember defending smokers in the 80's. "Fred Hunt, if you don't smoke, why do you defend smokers?" "Easy. Because once they ban the cigarettes, then someone will want to ban the cheeseburger. Once they ban the chesseburger, they'll want to ban the pop. Once they ban pop, then they'll want to go back and ban alcohol again. Once they ban alcohol again....
It never ends. Someone is always upset with what you're doing."
-Fred in 1988
First they banned the sale of cigarettes to minors.
Then they banned cigarettes machines.
Then they banned smoking in public places.
Then they banned cigarettes on campuses.
And don't forget the financial aspect of smoking, they taxed cigarettes out of people's budgets....
What do I mean by that?
Do you know how much cigarettes cost, per pack? (I don't, I have to look it up.)
As unpopular as it is to defend cigarettes today, remember, cigarettes are legal. Why aren't they illegal? Well, there's the ruse. Tobacco use is not inherently guaranteed by the United States Constitution. People could have easily pushed for an amendment banning all tobacco usage years ago. As cigarettes began to fall out of favor once the Surgeon General warned of their dangers in the 60's, the manufacturers haven't made cigarettes safer. Where did the traction to ban them go?
As early as the late 1700's, there have been taxes on various tobacco products. By 1970, every state in the union had a tax on cigarettes. In the year 2009, President Obama authorized the largest Tax Hike on cigarettes in the history of the United States, now $1 per pack goes to federal taxes. Taxes at the federal level, the state level, and, we haven't mentioned this yet, the city level. 5 miles from my home, they use a cigarette tax to pay for a sports stadium.
Either cigarettes are bad and should be banned, or they're not. The philosophy shouldn't be, it's bad for you, but the compromise is to tax it. Politicians have restricted smoking usage as much as they possibly can, citing health studies, but then don't ban the product due to potential lost tax revenue. So if you tax cigarettes, that makes up for their hazards?
Which was part of the marijuana argument. For years I've heard the pro-marijuana crowd chirp that marijuana was illegal not because of its perceived dangers, but because the government couldn't control it. Now that the legalization of marijuana has some traction, the government is still struggling to find its official position, state by state. I keep reading how marijuana is safer than cigarettes, but my question is, if a joint has no filter, how is that possible? What are the lung cancer rates for marijuana?
And you can't legalize marijuana, then turn around and make tobacco illegal. But the politicians are now all about legalizing marijuana, if they can tax the holy hell out it. Marijuana didn't change, the culture changed.
It's not just smoking that works that way in America. Gambling was illegal for years, now all of a sudden it's legal in 48 of 50 states. Why? The culture changed AND state politicians saw $$$$$. It didn't matter if gambling was right or wrong, good or bad.
Am I saying "go out and smoke?"
Heavens, No. What I'm saying is, the cigarette model is what the NRA fears. Every concession leads to the next concession. What happens when you ban the AR-15? If another school shooting occurs, then it will be time to ban the next weapon of choice and on down the line.
If the NRA capitulates today. Will there still be guns tomorrow? Of course there will.
In 50 years, would guns be severely restricted? Probably. There would be age limits, how many guns you can own, types of guns allowed, etc. Could I see a day in America where you would have to pay a yearly Gun Ownership Tax. That's the next bridge we'll be crossing. How does the 'only the rich can afford guns' argument in 2068 sound?
For the gun-control crowd, I have said over and over, you can Amend the Constitution - TODAY - and here's how. They're not interested in that. They want the 'quick' fix, but don't understand that the quick fix of banning guns erodes constitutional liberties. Constitutional liberties not enjoyed by vices like smoking or gambling. Let me restate my position for, like, the third time this month on Beacon of Speech.
Personally: I don't care if you restrict certain guns.
Professionally: Once you take away the Guns (2nd Amendment), I firmly believe that they take away the Speech (1st Amendment). So you can't take away the Guns.
A teenager from Florida just screamed at me "if you were in a school shooting, you would have a different opinion!"
How do you know I wasn't in a school shooting?
Editors Note: Fred was NOT at a school shooting, BUT....
Back in the Spring of 1997, I was an Intern at LeSueur-Henderson High School in Minnesota. I wasn't doing a great job, I was struggling in graduate school. Without delving too deeply into my personal life, I'll be vague, let's just say I was having a lot of problems with anxiety and focus. I took the summer of '97 to try to clear my head.
I remember the exact date I was done with graduate school. Sept. 11, 1997.
Before Sandy Hook, before Virginia Tech and before Columbine, there was Le Sueur-Henderson High School....- Mankato Free Press
Click on Link Above for the Article
I wasn't at LeSueur-Henderson that day. If you read the story above, there were a few details that were a bit off. If you go to the comments section of the story, you'll see a better account of what happened that morning. Ms. Busse and Officer Nelson were heroes. I knew Ms. Busse a little, again, I was just an intern, but her recollection is closer to what I understood happened.
I walked those halls. I knew those kids. I knew that school. I was done.
Ms Busse was right when she said "we were also fortunate that Corey did not bring the assault rifle into the building." He had a handgun, which he had shot Nelson with, but the semi-automatic weapon was in his car.
After the incident in 1997, my first reaction wasn't "ban all guns." My first reaction was "I can't handle this." How can you deal with school shootings? And I felt bad for the kids. How do you deal with the threat of violence in school? These shootings can't just keep happening. I thought back to the San Ysidro McDonald's Massacre. I remembered during the 1980's, there was a spate of post office shootings. By the 1990's, the expression 'Going Postal' had entered the American lexicon. I don't remember a groundswell of people saying to ban guns. I remember the jokes, "don't go work at the post office."
Now in 2018, it's too late. We already have active shooter drills. Even if there's not a shooter within a 100 miles of your school, we (America) are de-sensitized to the news of shooters. I feel horrible for the kids in Parkland. I felt horrible for the kids of Sandy Hook....
"Fred Hunt, calm down. We don't want your thoughts or prayers. If you just ban guns, everything will be okay." Yeah, with 300 million guns in the United States already, I don't know how you put that toothpaste back in the tube. If I honestly thought that banning guns was the solution, Beacon of Speech would be garnering signatures for the Constitutional Convention. People forget, sometimes when you solve a problem poorly, you create another, bigger problem....
I'm sure we'll talk about this topic more on the webcast where I can open things up a bit more once the glitches are fixed. Please re-read the Week in Guns II for a possible school solution.
Now it's time to bury certain emotions back down.
Deep, deep down.