Sunday, June 12, 2005

Bearing Arms

If one listens to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the most cherished of all American freedoms is the hallowed right to bear arms. Take away a person's gun and they become less of a human being. Well, I've thought about this issue for many years and I think I've come up with a great proposal to bridge the chasm between the NRA and those of us who are anti-violence and, therefore, anti-gun.

For starters, I've researched the verb "to bear". It contains a myriad of different meanings. However, of all the various meanings, not one of them includes the words to "own" or to "possess". Consequently, I've surmised that the right "to bear arms" means the right to have access to and to make use of.

If everyone of a certain age (like with a driver's license, a younger person could obtain a learner's permit to be used only in the presence of another with full rights) and not convicted of a felony possessed the right to have access to and make use of a gun, then their right to bear such would not be negated.

In other words, we could make it illegal for any private citizen to own a gun without removing their right to bear one.

Like books, videos, dvds and tapes, guns could be housed at a public facility akin to a library. If a person wanted to go hunting or target shooting, they would checkout the gun for a specified time period. At the end of the specified time period, they would return the gun to the public repository.

To make such a strategy work, we would necessarily need to stiffen penalties for crimes where a gun is used. If people know that they face a stiff sentence for any type of unauthorized use of a gun, it would lessen, to some degree, many people's desire to use a gun in the commission of a crime.

We would also necessarily have to stiffen penalties for people who returned their checked out gun late or who secretly owned one.

What do you think?


  1. Hi - saw this blog through Hinessight. Not sure how I got there, but anyway...

    I love your idea, but I can't see it working. I'm married to a gun enthusiast, so although I do not in any way share his interest, I am an occasional witness to his hobby. Regardless of the dictionary definition of "bearing arms", one of the attractions of guns to my husband is the owning of them. He loves buying them, he loves selling them, he likes to show them off. He doesn't even hunt much anymore, and he's certainly been willing to sell off his guns when things were tight, but he sure does love having them around. And God forbid I (the peacenik Buddha-loving hippie in the family) suggest that maybe he really doesn't need them around at all. I can't even express my shock when he brought home a little rifle for our daughter (who isn't yet 2) to learn how to fire later on.

    I can't compare it to anything in my life. My stepmother collects Hummels and other little items (and insists on giving them as Christmas presents, too), and I can't understand that, either. I'm sure Hummels can be used as weapons (there have been times when I have considered it), but I don't respond in the same creepy, hair-on-the-back-of-my-neck-standing-up way I do to live weapons.

    Anyway, that's what I think. Thanks for providing yet another way for me to procrastinate at work. ;)

  2. I think it's a bit silly. You wouldn't rent skis or a mountain bike if you skied or biked regularly. You'd want skis or a bike that fit your abilities and attributes. Same goes for guns. Say I want to go do some target shooting with a pistol, but all the rental place had left was rifles. Lame. Or if I wanted to go deer hunting and all they had was snub-nosed .38s.
    No, I'd want a weapon for each activity that suited me. Just like I want my own mountain bike that fits me, and my own skis the right length and characteristics for the way I ski. Not to mention the brands I like best.

    I'm not pro-violence by any stretch. I think conflicts are best resolved through other means. I am, however, a staunch supporter of our military (having been a soldier myself), and believe people with a legitmate need for guns should be allowed to have them.

    Your comment about stiffening the penalty for crimes where guns are used is probably the way to go. I also agree with your notion of conditions placed on gun ownership (no priors, completed required safety training, etc.). I actually do belive the bumper stickers that say "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them". Look what happened during Prohibition. :)

  3. I think it's a bit silly. You wouldn't rent skis or a mountain bike if you skied or biked regularly.

    True, but one doesn't typically use a mountain bike or a pair of skis potentially to harm someone/something else. Skis and bikes allow us to be healthier through exercise. There's nothing creative or proactive one can gain from firing a gun. It's sole purpose is destruction -- even shooting at a target will destroy that part which is struck by the bullet.

    Say I want to go do some target shooting with a pistol, but all the rental place had left was rifles.

    I'd say you would have 3 options: 1) Use the rifle, 2) Wait until a pistol is available, or 3) Forget about it and go home. One of the things we adults learn is that we don't always get to do what we want when we want to do it.

    What if you decide to cook up some exotic dish and you go to the local store to purchase an exotic spice and they don't have it? You go to several more stores and you still can't find it. Are you going to go to the managers of these various stores and say to each one, "Lame!" No, you deal with it and move on.


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