The Dangers of Going Right in Sin City: Gun Control

While visiting my brother in Las Vegas recently, there was a sight that caught my attention with no less shock value to me than George Bush high-fiving Osama Bin Laden. Somewhere off the strip, next to ‘Casa Di Amore’ which was fenced off with caution tape rests a gun store cleverly named ‘The Gun Store’. A sign next to the door read “Voting for Obama? Save time, deposit your guns here” with an arrow pointing down into the trash can.

My red flags went up as this example of fundamentalist dead-end thinking has always been a sign of danger to me. A recent conversation I had with my supervisor came to mind immediately. He said that the right wingers seem to think the democrats will take away their guns and make them get abortions. At the time this idea seemed a bit extreme yet here it was before me in black and white. I know this isn’t true for the majority necessarily, but the more I observe the more I tend to agree.

Sign outside the gun store
Sign outside the gun store

Where does Obama really stand on the issue?

Without being persuaded by fundamentalist views on either side which prohibit one from making informed decisions and thinking for themselves, where does Obama honestly stand within the issues of gun control?

As an old statesmen once put it, “Let’s take a look at the record.” Obama favors states and cities determining their own laws. He says he ‘respects’ the Second Amendment even though he endorsed a handgun ban in his own state. He urges common-sense enforcement on gun licensing and voted to pass a bill in 2000 to limit the purchases of guns to one per month. He is okay with retired officers carrying concealed weapons and desires to ban semi-automatics, stop unscrupulous gun dealers from dumping in the cities and wants to keep guns out of inner cities altogether while acknowledging that people desiring protection is natural and reasonable. The list goes on, back and forth between the pros and cons of gun control and how he would do his best to handle it.

Obama for balance in ’08

Clearly Obama favors balance. He acknowledges the dangers of guns falling into the hands of the criminally insane and the morally-bankrupt while desiring to keep them in the hands of the lawmen and honest citizens. This seems reasonable, no? The idea of throwing your guns away is a bit of a drama queen’s battle cry, but what’s new with the extremist party goers? This time, they just happened to be right wingers. Besides, with Obama in charge you might not be able to acquire a gun to even be able to throw it away. There is no pleasing everyone and the gun freaks have always been a touchy and trigger happy bunch.

However, I do understand the citizen’s frustration in restrictive laws that hamper their ‘right to bear arms’ be it for protection, recreation or to usher in the second coming of Christ. While in Nevada I had tried to pick up some Mini -14 Ruger clips for a friend of mine back home in California but due to state gun laws that restrict the sale of higher caliber weaponry and higher round clips, I was denied. California residents cannot even purchase these certain items out of state; specifically our driver’s license is a dead give-away as a refusal for sales. As the old argument goes, it seems that gun laws hinder the honest citizen from acquiring what they want, while the criminal will always find a way around the law to get what they need.

Without being deceived by the arguments or the issues that are the medium, this is clearly an issue of fear. The corroding thread of fear is usually being sewn along the lines of losing something one has or not getting what one wants. In this case it’s the fear of loss. And yes, we are a country that clings to our right to bear arms! I’m sure everyone remembers Heston’s harrowing and silly speech: “From my cold, dead hands!”

Ultimately, people will find a way to get what they want whether it’s firearms, a particular president or a new religion. Where there is a will there is a way and people will vote how they want to (too often biased and by party rather than by who is the best qualified). So what could I do but seek a different gun store and method to get my friend the gun magazines he wanted.