Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- To supporters of gun rights, California is a prime example of how bad things can get. If you’re a law-abiding gun owner in that state, the list of regulatory burdens that you have to fight through is long, while gun violence continues in the state, and the overall homicide rate specifically remains close to that of Texas over the years.
Despite these facts, there are invariably people who want to enact the same laws in their own states. One example of this is going on right now in Oregon—the equivalent of having your neighbors playing wretched music at high volume and deciding to put your own radio on to the same station. Initiative Petition 43 would ban “any semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine, any feature like a folding or telescoping stock, and that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition” for sale and require anyone who currently owns such things to register them, move them out of state, or surrender them to avoid being turned into felons—a Class B felony in this case, subjecting owners to a potential sentence of ten years and $250,000 in fines.
The good news is that this is not even on the ballot yet and isn’t likely to pass even if it gets enough signatures to be voted on in November. As state representative Bill Post said, “This got zero comment or help from anybody in Oregon's Democratic leadership. The reason they're not supporting this is that they're not stupid. They know this would bring out the greatest red wave of votes in Oregon history.”
That level of political rationality is refreshing to hear from a legislator in the state, especially given the bad notions being offered by the people who are pushing the proposed bill. One of its supporters, Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel, stated, “We recognize that there are perfectly legitimate uses of guns for self-protection and hunting that make a lot of sense. But assault weapons are not used for either of those purposes. Many of these weapons exist only for killing and do not belong in civilian hands.”
As I’ve discussed before, lethal force is at times justified, and Cahana understands that since he admits that having guns to defend oneself makes sense. What he thinks self-defense involves, if not lethal force, is anyone’s guess, but gun control advocates often fail to think things through.
I point out that Cahana is a part of a religious congregation since this initiative is the creation of an interfaith coalition. This raises a point that I bring up frequently with supporters of more and more restrictions on gun rights. Do they realize that exercising one right—or two, in this case, speech and religion—to attack a different right has the effect of undermining all rights? I value the right to speak my mind, and I won’t say that we should silence differing opinions, but we also have to recognize that when opinions become law, they’ve moved into the rights of others.
The impulse to control is one that many people are possessed with, and that impulse too often leads to a loss of the empathy that we’re asked to have, a willingness to ignore the rights of others to settle the urges of our own minds. This is the point that we have to keep driving home in these debates. What is being attacked here is the basic acceptance that there are boundaries beyond which society must not go in its treatment of individuals. Gun rights are a key symbol of this.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.