Following the law used to be easy. Then Congress got involved.
Gun control: What happens if government passes laws and they are not followed? Potentially, all kinds of things and none are good.
This question has been hushed in the background for some time now, as society becomes more and more polarized politically. The two sides are well defined and there seems to be no common ground. It is because the subject goes straight to the heart of survival instincts – fight or flight, predator or prey, individual or herd.
Nowhere is it as intense a matter as in the gun control debate. That is because beliefs are held deeply and because the inanimate objects in question can be lethal. This is serious stuff.
This question became more public recently when the State of Washington passed Initiative 1639, a measure that punishes people who want to buy and own firearms. Some law enforcement agencies have indicated they will not enforce it.
Then a Maryland sheriff went public, saying he would not comply with proposed legislation regulating ownership of rifles and shotguns. His concern included fears that his deputies might be sent on a “suicide mission” if they were tasked to confiscate firearms from citizens.
The United States has prided itself in being a nation of laws, which presupposes that laws will be enforced and that citizens will follow the laws. That may be unraveling in today’s society.
In what is still a somewhat free society, it is always awkward when government attempts to cram things down citizens’ throats, and/or when government attempts to short-circuit constitutional guarantees.
In any society, if flouting the law becomes the norm, lawlessness takes over. Chaos and mayhem follow.
The U.S. has seen this scenario play out before. It started with the 18th amendment to the Constitution in 1919 and ended with the 21st amendment in 1933. It was called prohibition because it made it illegal to manufacture, transport or sell intoxicating liquors.
People flouted the prohibition laws, spawning entire industries and criminal enterprises that bypassed the laws and expanded the reach and size of organized crime throughout the country. Not good.
And a byproduct of the ill-conceived booze prohibition was the most far-reaching gun control measure ever foisted upon the then-naïve general public. It was the National Firearms Act of 1934, the first federal gun control law, which, among other things, regulated machineguns and silencers.
Since then, there have been tens of thousands of gun laws enacted around the land, with more coming down the pike all the time. Truth is that, even if folks genuinely wanted to be in line with all of them, it would be virtually impossible to do so.
This takes us back to the law enforcement officers in places like Washington and Maryland. They are being asked to enforce unenforceable laws, which puts them into a classic Catch 22 — “a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule.”
Meanwhile, the citizenry faces increasing limits on its constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Government takes on “Big Brother” characteristics when it involves itself directly in all transactions involving arms. That’s where the universal background checks come into the equation.
Universal background checks are an early step on the slippery slope that includes universal registration, followed by universal confiscation. As is feared in the Maryland law proposal, deputies might be called upon to confiscate arms from citizens, which the sheriff feels could put them into harm’s way unnecessarily.
It is easy to get lost and confused in the din of significant concerns and minutia surrounding issues as contentious as gun laws. But there is no need for mental short-circuiting.
All of the hoopla boils down to a simple and fundamental matter: freedom. Those who oppose onerous gun laws value their freedoms. Those who support gun-grabbing want to take away those freedoms. It really is that simple.
Free citizens value their right to defend themselves and their families. A right to keep and bear arms guarantees that citizens will be able to have the means for such defense. Gun-grabbers don’t think that citizens should have those kinds of options.
At issue in all of this is the concept of collectivism. When gun-grabbers talk about “greater good,” they mean the good of and for the collective. They gladly sacrifice the individual for the collective.
From a societal point of view, incremental losses of freedoms on all fronts result in changing the society from one of individualism to one of socialism. In other words, the dominant forces go from the individual to the collective – akin to the herd imperative among prey animals in nature.
A case in point is what the antis call gun violence. Their answer to that situation is to deny citizens access to and use of firearms to defend themselves against criminal and/or terrorist misuse of arms. Pro-gun interests prefer to allow citizens to keep and bear their own arms, meaning citizens then can determine their own destiny and not be forced to be victims of circumstances that never should have been allowed to exist in the first place.
If left unchecked, polarization naturally spikes in both velocity and intensity until it reaches a point of critical mass when meltdown is not just logical, but predictable.
Whenever laws become so onerous that they cause enforcement agencies to stop enforcing them and cause citizens to flout them, those laws are part of the problem rather than part of the solution that they were marketed to be when first proposed.
These legal scourges are foisted by a relatively small portion of the population and made official when the general population is so unengaged and uninformed that it allows the subversive forces to have their way. Yes, it is possible to fool all of the people some of the time. But when they wake up, there can be hell to pay.
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