NO, THE U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a "right" to carry a gun.
There. Now you know I will never run for office. That's because the National Rifle Association, America's pioneer mega-lobby, would shoot down any human being who would dare say something so sacrilegious.
But the Second Amendment, the cornerstone of the NRA's BS, is not relevant today. It was ratified in relation to state militias in 1791 and has no meaning in today's world.
The "right to keep and bear arms" does not mean you can own a heat-seeking missile or a nuclear bomb, does it?
By the way, have you ever read the Third Amendment? It's similarly archaic. "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house ..."
The Second and Third amendments addressed conditions in Colonial times, when the British army was America's biggest problem and nobody knew where the Mississippi River was.
Guess what? The redcoats are not coming. But the rednecks are.
And when they say that the Second Amendment protects them from a "tyrannical" federal government, they are more than delusional. The U.S. military is so big, Mitt Romney's annual "income" couldn't buy lunch at the Pentagon, especially if Paul Ryan's budget passes.
Now please don't misunderstand. I don't want to trigger any anger.
Progressives like me don't care if you own a gun. The NRA wants you to think we care, but we don't care. I don't want to rip anything from any actor's "cold, dead hands."
I believe that most gun owners, unlike texting drivers, are responsible caretakers of their deadly weapons.
But we do have problems these days. The numbers are startling – nearly 100,000 shootings per year. And mass shootings seemingly are becoming a weekly occurrence.
To ignore the problem because of some outdated verbiage in the Constitution aimed at warding off redcoats is the ultimate cop-out.
I agree that gun ownership does not correlate with killing. Something more pernicious is at play here. The NRA has evolved from an organization dedicated to sportsmen into a Washington-based political bully and propagandist that encourages the sale and use of guns. And, of course, a vehicle for right-wing political dogma.
"Lock and load," as Sarah Palin, an NRA mouthpiece, would say.
Fear is the NRA's primary mode of marketing itself. Be afraid. Buy a gun. Join the NRA.
Gun sales soared after the election of President Obama because the NRA had its minions convinced that Obama was coming after their guns, which he wasn't.
More insidious than the NRA's dominance over politicians in both parties is its new gig as the writer of laws.
The gun lobby drafts laws and sponsors them through lapdog legislators who would allow people to carry a gun anywhere: in a bar, at a football game, at a college campus. Oh, guns in bars, that's a good idea.
The "Stand Your Ground" nonsense passed in Florida and 22 other states is one of the NRA's marquee accomplishments, and it was responsible for the killing of young Trayvon Martin.
George Zimmerman, a "neighborhood watch captain," acting more like a hunter, armed with a Kel-Tek 9mm semi-automatic pistol, stalked Martin, who was armed with a bag of Skittles, and shot him dead. And the cops let Zimmerman go as if he were a pretty woman who went through a stop sign.
Luckily, such right-to-kill laws were not around when I was a teen. Most of our Pittston gang, especially my brother Cowboy, would not have made it to puberty. Then again, the adults in our day, the people who fought World War II, weren't easily scared by teenagers and they recognized fear-mongerers and vigilantes when they saw them.
The gun lobby insists that "an armed society is a polite society," because criminals live in fear of law-abiding gun owners. But the opposite is true. Residents in "red states" with the highest rates of gun ownership (such as Louisiana and Alabama) are more than twice as likely to become homicide victims than those in the states with the lowest rates of gun ownership (such as Massachusetts and New Jersey).
In Seattle, a liberal bastion where everybody wears a hoodie, including old white guys, there were only 19 murders last year.
Own all the guns you want, just get the NRA back to representing responsible sportsmen and gun owners instead of corporate overlords. Its present mission to make guns of all kinds ubiquitous serves only one purpose, its own, to the danger and detriment of the rest of us, including gun owners.
The gun lobby drafts laws and sponsors them through lapdog legislators who would allow people to carry a gun
anywhere: in a bar, at a football game, at a college campus. Oh, guns in bars, that's a good idea.