People that obsess about guns and see them as the main solution to disputes are fear-filled paranoids. They make life less safe for the rest of us and now have fewer legal restraints to stop them from killing those who scare them. Just look at the rise of shootings in Florida since their stand your ground gun law passed.
As a nation, most people are okay with gun ownership, and most people want some regulation. It is imperative that we fight laws that allow the shooting of people without cause and because of baseless fear and paranoia. Those laws have become known as the stand your ground laws.
Responses to a survey on gun regulation by the North America Research Center (NARC) at the University of Chicago indicates that the NRA and Republican legislators across the nation are out of touch with most Americans when it comes to gun regulations. So, who are all these gun laws allowing us to shoot each other for? Who benefits from deregulation and elimination of ownership restrictions, back-ground checks, and certain types of weapons and usage, and who is pushing these laws?
Table 1 Public Support for Measures to Regulate Firearms, 2006
% for Prohibiting
Gun Use When Under the Influence of Alcohol 91 %
for Limiting Sales of High Power/50-caliber Rifles 85 %
for Limiting Sales of Semi-automatic Assault Weapons 82 %
for Criminal Background Checks for Private Gun Sales 80 %
for Police Permits to Purchase Guns 79 %
for Stricter Gun Control after Terrorist Attacks 76 %
for Illegal Gun Sales to be Punished More than Illegal Drugs 54%
The NRA has fought any regulation of guns, including the sensible ones listed above that have overwhelming popular support. And the NRA, the corporatist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their conservative legislators are behind the stand your ground laws passed in 21 states. Self defense laws are already on the books in every state, and stand your ground is a justification for murder. These laws give vigilantes permission to kill. We didn’t need these laws anymore than we needed a preemptive war against Iraq in 2003.
In the same University of Chicago survey, only 11% of respondents called for a ban on all handguns. So why are some Americans so afraid of loosing their guns even when few people are calling for a ban?
Stand your ground laws are for the politicians and the paranoid
Whatever happened to life in the common refrain from the Declaration of Independence, “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness”? According to the NRA, ALEC, conservative legislators and individuals all over this nation, life just isn’t as important as the right to shoot people you are afraid of. Those groups are behind laws that allow us to follow, hunt, and kill others and are the real threat to our security.
These laws are not about self-protection; the passage of these laws is dependent on our fear and misanthropy overriding our compassion and value of life. They depend on the fear of crime promoted through our mainstream media, politicians and groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America.
The NRA has paid lobbyists and lots of money to fire at politicians who don’t move lock step with their positions. While supposedly supporting the safety of gun owners, the NRA has made it easier for criminals to own guns. A law restricting large capacity ammunition clips such as the clip used by Jared Loughner to kill six people at Congresswoman Gifford’s rally over a year ago was block by the powerful NRA lobby from even getting a hearing in Congress. A law to close loopholes that help criminals skirt background checks when purchasing weapons at gun shows was also blocked by the group. And because the NRA depends on controversy to exist, they promote guns with ever extreme laws.
It appears that the property before life crowd has won in the United States. And in some of the most controversial cases, not only did people stand their ground, they chased after those they fear.
In one case, a man went free who chased down and stabbed a person who was looking suspicious near his property. Then there is the case of Joe Horn, 61, who saw two black men entering a neighbor’s property. He called 911, and the dispatcher told Horn to stay put and wait for the police to arrive. However, he took justice, and his shotgun, into his own hands and killed the two men. Horn’s life was not threatened, and neither was his own property, but Horn was cleared of homicide.
These laws have also been invoked in cases of bar fights, gang shootings, and road rage incidents to let those that killed others, whether by gun, knife or bat, go uncharged. In these cases, the killers were partially responsible for the situation in which they found themselves in (in bars, in gangs, or in a road rage situation where you can drive away) but still felt justified to murder.
When is it okay to take a life? Why are so many judges ruling it’s okay to go after someone not on your property and kill them? Why do so many people in the U.S. think that’s okay? The next time, just disagreeing with a paranoid gun handler will be enough for them to feel justified to kill you. And no, not all gun owners are paranoid, just the ones that will chase you down and kill you because they are afraid. Let’s hope you aren’t the next person on their list.
These laws make anyone willing to kill because they are afraid the judge, jury, and executioner.