Mass shootings and the Constitution

In the early morning hours of June 12th, the city of Austin, Texas experienced the latest in a long line of mass shootings that have plagued this country.  Unfortunately, one of the first things that can also be expected is the knee-jerk reaction by those who follow the left-wing progressive mindset, who will immediately decry the violence and call for a mandate that will restrict access to guns even more.  However, before the left-wing politicians stand indignant upon their soapboxes, there are a few facts that need to be considered.

Fact number 1:  the shooter was a criminal.

This is not a snap judgment but an informed one.  Simply put, in the State of Texas, it is illegal to carry a firearm of any type into an establishment that receives more than 51% of its revenue from alcohol sales. Any individual who holds a license-to-carry (LTC) in Texas is made aware of that law repeatedly during the training course.  In short:  law being broken = criminal act. 

Fact number 2:  Nothing legally could have been done to stop the shooter, or to reduce the number of injuries. 

While the mass shooting at the church in south Texas was stopped by a person armed with an AR-15 style weapon, this option was not available in Austin.  Why?  Those same laws that make the shooter a criminal would prevent an LTC holder from carrying his weapon or using it for the safety of others.  51% restriction = more people hurt.

Fact number 3:  Currently, the Texas legislature has passed a bill that would permit “constitutional carry” of firearms. 

At the time of this writing, it is still pending the signature of Governor Greg Abbott.  Even if this were in effect, it also would not have had any effect on the tragedy that occurred that morning.

With these facts, the gun-control left really needs to answer the following question:  What law(s) would you propose that could have prevented this?  This is a rhetorical question, of course. 

Fact number 4:  It is necessary to remember that laws only work if people follow them. 

Criminals refuse to obey them, by their very definition.  The only thing that these laws do is restrict law-abiding people and “tie their hands behind their backs.”  The only other thing it does is make it appear that you are “doing something.”  That may look good for your constituents, or get your face in a news story, but it does not make a difference to the criminals.

There is another possible outcome to your reactionary restrictions.

What you may not realize is that a large portion of those individuals that own firearms (in any form) believe that when you pass these laws restricting ownership or availability, you are putting their families in harm’s way from the very criminals that you are posturing against.  These are the patriots, the constitutionalists.  These are the people, conservative and moderate, who are tired of government’s interference.  These are the people who have sat by quietly, watching what the government is doing. 

These are the people that you fear for your political careers.  These are the people who will vote in the next election cycle.  These are the people who are going to tell you, “No more!” 

Now, before the politicians and pundits start to pull their hair and gnash their teeth while wailing about their “patriotism” and “doing the right thing,” it is necessary to clarify a couple of things. As for the label of patriot, people misunderstand the meaning.  A dictionary defines a patriot as "a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors." There is a significant difference between "country" and "government" or "party". To many true patriots, it really does not matter which party is in power, so long as the country is cared for and that their rights and freedoms are not impugned in any way.  Certainly, I would prefer it if a more conservative agenda were being followed. I would much more prefer if the government would stop trying to fix problems that it created itself.

As many of you may remember from studying our history, our founding fathers rebelled against Great Britain because they were not being represented and were being unfairly taxed, among many other things. Yet, if you compare how the government is regulating things in our everyday life, how much different is it from how those same founding fathers were treated? Unfair taxes, government overreach, even direct government involvement in how we go about our daily lives, from licensing requirements to assaults on our rights by police to government agencies telling us how we should raise our children. Our country was founded to stop these abuses, and yet it does just the same. As George Santayana so aptly said, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

One thing that is misunderstood about the Constitution is that it was not built to tell us what rights we have. The Constitution was designed to tell the government only what it would be permitted to do, and how it was to function.  It was our Declaration of Independence that pointed out that we all had "inalienable rights". We look at the Bill of Rights (which, by the way, only is a reference to the first ten constitutional amendments) as the basis of the Constitution. But it is not. Those are amendments that the founding fathers felt necessary to include as an enumeration of specific restrictions on the federal government. That is why the 10th Amendment says that rights that are not specifically given over to the federal government are reserved (belong) to the individual states. Our founding fathers knew that government intrusion is not a good thing. That is why so many people fought and died to start this experiment we call the United States.

We need to stop looking to the government to fix our problems. We need to remind the government that our country was founded as a democratic republic, not an oligarchy nor plutocracy. Yes, as citizens we all should have a voice in our government and help to guide it in the future, but it is time for the tail to stop wagging the dog. It is time for patriots to rise and take back the country exercising our rights at the voting booth.  It is time for patriots to remind our legislators and party leaders that they no longer run this country.  It is run by the principles embodied in our Constitution. It does not matter whether you are liberal or conservative.  We all know that this country is deeply divided between the two camps.  No matter how you define yourself:  liberal or conservative, left-wing or right-wing, Democrat or Republican, socialist or nationalist, we are all Americans and want our country to thrive.  Regardless of where you sit on that fence, however, we should all be constitutionalists.

Graphic credit" Mylk Roventine CC BY-NC-SA license

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