Those of us living in the Rocky Mountains are steeped in America's famous gun culture - and we therefore know well the binary debates surrounding the Second Amendment. Firearm enthusiasts - the vast majority of whom use weapons responsibly - believe the Constitution protects their right to bear arms. Gun control advocates counter that the Constitution doesn't give anyone the inalienable right to wield automatic weapons that can kill scores of people in seconds.
This is the stultified freedom-versus-safety quarrel that seemed to forever define gun politics - that is, until anti-government activists started bringing firearms to public political meetings.
Sirota goes on to describe what we've all seen over the last days. He mentioned the New Hampshire man who wore a sidearm and carried a sign reading, "It is time to water the tree of liberty," and of course he described the man in Phoenix carrying an AR-15. The conclusion, I found very interesting.
These and other similar examples are accurately summarized with the same language federal law employs to describe domestic terrorism. The weapons-brandishing displays are "intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population." Yes, the gun has been transformed from a sport and self-defense device into a tool of mass bullying. Like the noose in the Jim Crow South, its symbolic message is clear: If you dare engage in the democratic process, you risk bodily harm.
What do you think about that? I must admit, the "bullying" idea often comes to my mind. It's fascinating to consider that people who are motivated by paranoia, fear and insecurity conceal those characteristics and become intimidators themselves.
His conclusion is what a lot of people have concluded but have been reluctant to say. Everyone knows "firearm-free zones" is another way of saying "banned."
One option is willful ignorance: We can pretend the ferment is unimportant, continue allowing the intimidation and ultimately usher in a dark future where "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
Better, though, is simply making public political events firearm-free zones, just like schools and stadiums. That way forward honors our democratic ideals by declaring that politics may be war, but in America it is "war without bloodshed" - and without the threat of bloodshed.
What's your opinion? Do you think there's an element of "bullying" in the open carry of firearms? What about the "threat of bloodshed," do firearms inherently carry that? I think they do. Aren't partial bans and other local restrictions allowed under the DC vs Heller decision?
Please leave a comment.