I have noted here, before, that reporters and newspaper columnists seem to proceed from the belief that actual knowledge of their subjects (science, firearms, etc.) is irrelevant, and that the expectation of such preparation only serves to limit their right to express their opinions. See, please, the First Amendment. One would think (Aye, there's the rub!) that opinions expressing the desire to suppress another right, e.g. the Second-Amendment right to keep and bear arms, would thus be offered with some humility, but intellectual consistency is, apparently, not a journalistic virtue.
So at the risk of suppressing, via my unreasonable expectations, one writer's right to cling (bitterly!) to his stubbornly ignorant opinion, please allow me to correct a few details amongst his proposed solutions to the problem of gun violence:
Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. [sic] It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. It offers an absolute right to gun ownership, but it puts it in the context of the need for a ‘well-regulated militia’. We don’t make our militia bring their own guns to battles. … Owning a gun should be a privilege, not a right.
What's confusing about it? The prefatory clause states the amendment's main purpose, which is to ensure that the people can defend their freedom — even against their own government. (That's why the clause mentions both security and freedom.) Yes, the Founders were explicit about that. Honestly, the reticence of some writers to actually read is … perplexing.
Mr. Kaul is also confused about the difference between a militia and a standing army. The citizen-soldier model of our present National Guard is a hybrid of the two. Again, a little reading would have served Mr. Kaul well, but moving on:
And surely the Founders couldn’t have envisioned weapons like those used in the Newtown shooting when they guaranteed gun rights.
The Founders' imaginations must have been shockingly limited! Or perhaps the problem is that Mr. Kaul doesn't know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic firearms. In any case, the Founders expected the people to posess every weapon available to the government, and cannons were common at the time, so clearly they didn't quail at the thought that private citizens might carry substantial firepower. The Founders didn't wish to be anyone's subjects.
Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did.
By that logic, newspapers, television, Hollywood, and video-game manufacturers, as well as knife manufacturers, rat poison manufacturers, baseball bat manufacturers, and automobile manufacturers, have also caused more deaths than the CPUSA. But of course members of the CPUSA worked with the KGB to strengthen the Soviet Union relative to the USA, thus sustaining the most murderous regime in world history (or perhaps that title belongs to the Chinese communists), so Mr. Kaul seems to be dropping some significant context. But perhaps he missed the post-Soviet news about what the KGB was actually up to, in the United States. Really, he ought to read a newspaper once in a while!
Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that ‘prying the guns from their cold, dead hands’ thing works for me.
Ownership of unlicensed assault rifles is a felony, and has been since 1934. And such violent, eliminationist rhetoric! I thought that we'd abandoned that sort of talk, post-Tucson!
Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.
Perhaps we should drag a few journalists around until they see the light, or at least agree to get their facts straight before they run-off at the pen?
Too violent, you think? Over the top? Indefensibly childish? Well, yes. But rhetoric like that does serve to make the NRA's – and the Founders' – point. You'd think (There you go again…) that he'd have noticed that.
But let's not be too hard on Mr. Kaul; he's retired and he had a heart attack, so maybe dementia has set in. (The editors who chose to publish that mess, however….)