The Supreme Court made an important ruling last week regarding the 2nd Amendment as it relates to private gun ownership. They ruled that the United States Constitution does support the right of private citizens to own firearms. The amazing thing about this decision is the closeness of the vote. It was 5 in favor and 4 against.
There was a bit of coverage for this decision the day it happened. The USA Today website had a front page article, there were a few commentaries about it, and I saw several long comment threads following blog posts.
The next day though, it was almost forgotten news. And this week it has been completely forgotten. We’re back to the floods, the election, and Wimbledon.
If the vote had swung the other way, this wouldn’t be the case. Only a few people have proposed what the consequences would have been had the Supreme Court ruled the other way: that private citizens of the U.S. DO NOT have the right to own and bear arms. The only word that comes to mind?
If the ruling had gone the other way, it would have been chaos. Since the time of the Mayflower (almost), the residents of this land have owned firearms. This isn’t just a constitutional issue; it’s a social, cultural, economic, political, historical, and military issue. The magnitude of what would have happened had the vote went the other way cannot be completely comprehended.
Whether you support the decision or not the consequences of a different vote would have been the same – chaos. It is not a conservative or liberal issue as some make it out. I know as many Democrats as Republicans who are gun owners.
Yes, Yes, Yes – I know. An opposite decision would not have meant the immediate gathering up of all privately owned firearms in the United States. It wouldn’t have meant that local sheriff’s departments would be knocking on doors and throwing guns in borrowed strait trucks to be recycled (after all, they couldn’t throw them away with the price of steel as high as it is). It wouldn’t mean that grandpa couldn’t take his grandson out to the back forty and plink around with the handed-down .22 rifle.
However, the potential would have been there for those things to happen. Potentially, municipalities could have completely outlawed private ownership of firearms in their jurisdiction and been within the U.S. Constitution to do it.
There are few issues which have as little middle ground as gun ownership . It falls into the category of abortion, freedom of speech, and the New York Yankees. You are just either for it or not. It’s a super-emotionally-charged issue; with either side rarely listening to concerns or reason of the other.
Here are some things I suspect would have happened if the vote had been reversed:
1) An effort to get a new constitutional amendment supporting private gun ownership would have immediately been started.
2) Millions of gun owners would be standing on their legislator’s porch the next morning.
3) The “million man” march on Washington which happened a few years ago would be dwarfed by the 50 million man march which I estimate would have take about 3 weeks to organize.
4) Every gun owner in America, if they hadn’t already, would join the NRA: from rednecks with buzz haircuts to corporate executives with $100 hairdos. Much to the NRA’s delight and dismay. After all, they’ve been sending invitations to these guys for 25 years warning of this very thing.
5) Fathers would set their sons on their knee and begin stories about how this day was historic and one of his daddy’s new goals in life would be to make sure his sons would have the right to own guns when they grew up.
6) Every safety officer would purchase a Kevlar vest and wear it religiously. Why? Because every gun owner in America would be toting their firearm in protest. They would have them in their cars, hung over the fireplace – loaded, leaning by their front door, strapped to their side, and across their lap while rocking on the front porch. Civil disobedience would climb to a level never seen before.
7) Pickup truck gun rack sales would go through the roof.
8) Wal Mart, Cabelas, and Bass Pro Shops would be sold out of guns and ammo in case they became unavailable in the future.
9) A new political party would have been formed. The only agreed upon issue would be the right to own guns. Everything else would be up for grabs. And it would be POWERFUL. Democrats and Republicans might as well pack their bags and go home.
10) The bumper sticker which says, “you can have my guns when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers,” would take on a whole new level of meaning.
11) In addition to the 50 million man march there would be marches and protests in every city; from Reasonor, Iowa – population, 246, to New York City – population, whatever. These protests would be large, long, and loud.
Among all these things, there also would have been blood. Yes, blood in the streets. A few people would have taken things into their own hand. Vigilante groups would be formed. To vigilante against who? I don’t know, but they would be formed and they would have been dangerous. Some people would have died.
Fortunately, the swing vote went the direction where all these events could be avoided.
While most of this is written tongue-in-check, in reality just as radical of circumstances probably would have taken place. At some level all of the above would have happened.
And although, I wouldn’t have been one of the people shedding blood – heaven forbid, I would have been on my congressman’s doorstep the next morning and my Browning would have been in the rack in my truck (shoot, I don’t have a truck anymore – the price of gas and all. It would have been in my new “van gun rack”.)
And for those who think it strange for a pastor to write such an article, I point you to the preacher in the movie, “The Patriot.” When asked by a surprised congregant why he was joining the continental army, his response was, “As a shepherd, sometimes it’s necessary to drive off the wolves.” It’s hard to drive off wolves without a gun.
All I can say to that is, “Amen.”