As it currently stands, the United States has approved Concealed Carry gun laws for all 50 states in the Union.
That means people who take a course and own a gun can carry that weapon around in public places.
Well, that’s not entirely true. There are signs on libraries and churches and many other public facilities banning guns of any sort from entering the building.
That’s because people who run those buildings know that people with guns can’t really be trusted. The very assumption that a gun is necessary to move about in public places is a breach of the American spirit of equality and democracy. It is an expression of belief that our system of government (that being democracy) has failed in some patent way. If you don’t feel safe in America without a gun, then the American experiment, as it has often been called, has truly failed.
So many guns
But that’s not because there are not enough guns to go around. As reported on The Blaze, a right-wing website run by noted conservative Glenn Beck, “According to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey – the leading source of international public information about firearms – the U.S. has the best-armed civilian population in the world, with an estimated 270 million total guns.”
And as a direct result of that figure, America has the most gun violence of any nation in the world.
These brands of cognitive dissonance dominate the debate over what constitutes effective gun policy in America. As a Pew Research study stated, “Although a measure to expand background checks on gun sales failed in the Senate last year, Americans who live in a household where they or someone else is an NRA member overwhelmingly favored the idea of making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to such checks. About three-quarters (74%) backed these expanded checks compared with 26% who opposed them. But far fewer people in NRA households supported proposed bans on assault-style weapons or high-capacity ammunition clips.”
This study shows that the gun lobby largely supports background checks, which would potentially help prevent mentally ill or disturbed people from owning weapons. Yet NRA households refuse to recognize the relationship between military-style weapons and the ability to conduct mass shootings. This is a breach of faith in the public trust.
That is why the gun lobby cannot be trusted on its own to govern how guns are sold, distributed and regulated in America. There is a disconnect between gun ownership and public safety. Surely this is reflected in the seeming denial of the first phrase of the Second Amendment, which in its completeness states, “”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.”
The refusal to accept the first part of that phrase in favor of promoting the more selfish second clause is what makes it impossible to trust the gun lobby to its own devices. The rest of us really don’t trust that the gun lobby has America’s best interests at heart. Emphasizing the selfish right to bear arms over the priority to manage a nation’s collective security as a free state is a breach of trust. Justice Antonin Scalia wrongly led the charge to emphasize the individual right to bear arms as sacrosanct while denying any connection between the collective safety of the public clearly delineated in the opening phrase of the Second Amendment.
This was the direct expression of judicial activism. Conservative judges put selfish interests ahead of the collective safety of everyday Americans. Effectively, they ruled in favor of vigilantism over public safety.
That’s why we don’t really trust your guns, or you. That’s why libraries and schools and churches have installed signs with a red slash across the image of a handgun. You’re not allowed to carry those guns into public places because no gun owner be automatically trusted to show good judgment in the public interest. The gun lobby’s willing misinterpretation of the Second Amendment proves that. 30,000 deaths a year by both murder and suicide are proof of that.
But members of the gun lobby will likely stand by their selfish interests over the public good until it is their own sister, child, spouse or friend who gets shot in the head.
Ask Martin Luther King, Jr. if you like. Or John F. Kennedy. Robert F. Kennedy. Even Gerald Ford or Ronald Reagan. All were public officials trying to do good in this world who were assaulted by gun owners flaunting the public good. Some died. Others survived.
It is America itself that is now bleeding and suffering from gun violence. But the gun lobby does not seem to care. And can’t be trusted to ever do so.