Connecticut and gun control

As a longtime resident of Connecticut, I have been patient and respectful while my representatives in Congress have railed against “gun violence” and called for new and sweeping restrictions on gun ownership.  The Newtown, Connecticut incident was tragic and, politics aside, recognition of the tragedy was appropriate and necessary.

But now they have gone too far.  Senator Chris Murphy has been focused on expanding gun control to the exclusion of everything else.  He led a filibuster in the Senate to highlight his position fair enough.  But after the gun control proposals were voted down, Murphy accused Republicans of “sell[ing] weapons to ISIS.”  Connecticut’s other senator, Richard Blumenthal, has been a less visible but equally engaged activist for increased gun restrictions.  Congressman Jim Himes and other Connecticut representatives walked out of a moment of silence for Orlando in the House of Representatives, saying that silence mocks the victims.

To these legislators, the Orlando incident was little more than an opportunity to revive the memory of Newtown and once again advance their gun control agenda.

These people need to understand some basic truths:

1. Citizens have a natural right to own a gun.  This is an unalienable right by virtue of our right to life, liberty, and property to defend family, self, and possessions.

2. The right to “keep and bear arms” is not granted to citizens by virtue of the Second Amendment.  It is not bestowed upon us by government or by our elected representatives.  Rather, it is a fundamental citizen right, and therefore one that government is morally obliged to protect for all citizens.

3. The Second Amendment exists to protect citizens from precisely the gun rights abuses we are seeing from government today.  It exists to prevent our representatives from interfering with our fundamental human right to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms, and all else that gun ownership entails (such as access to ammunition and indemnification of gun manufacturers).

4. When I need to defend my family and possessions, the police will surely be far away.  Our town police force is capable and competent, and the department is certified to high standards, but the town is sprawling, the force is modest, and response times are long.  My representatives in government will be even farther away in the event of trouble.

There are some cynical but plausible views of the motives of representatives such as Murphy, Himes, and Blumenthal.  They consistently ignore the crucial underlying motivations for these incidents and focus instead exclusively on the instruments.  They refuse to acknowledge that gun control creates needless victims and that gun-free zones are “soft targets” ruthlessly exploited by motivated assailants.  But they are not unaware of these points.  Murphy was eventually forced to admit the inadequacy of his proposals.

On the facts alone, it’s clear that their motivations are predominantly political, if not entirely so, and consequently they forfeit any presumption of sincerity of their beliefs, even while they shamelessly call on our compassion for victims of shootings as leverage for their agenda.  Worse, because they conceal and fail to address the root causes of these incidents, they virtually ensure more of them.

It is a situation quite sad enough for Connecticut, and me, to be embarrassed by its representatives in Congress.

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