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viewpoint

Common sense and guns

| Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One of the main reasons I am proud to call myself a conservative is the emphasis the ideology places on common sense. From issues ranging from abortion to tax reform, conservatives often observe the facts and formulate logical positions. Unfortunately, however, many conservatives seem to lose such a faculty of reason when it comes to the issue of gun control.

While some of my fellow conservatives may call me a gun-grabbing Marxist for writing this column, I strongly affirm that I am a staunch defender of the second amendment. I completely reject the far-left myth that banning all guns would reduce crime. With that said, the second amendment is not an endorsement for any citizen to obtain an arsenal of mass killing machines. In actuality, everyone recognizes this fact. You do not hear too many people argue for the legalization of fully automatic military rifles or military grade rocket launchers. It is obvious that there is a line between reasonable self-defense measures and unnecessary recklessness. The disagreement is found in where such a line begins. And while it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the line, common sense can get us close.

I think there is legitimate inquiry warranted to the question of whether certain legalized weapons in the United States, such as semi-automatic rifles, are not reasonable instruments of self-defense but rather unneeded killing machines. I am not arguing wholeheartedly against semi-automatic weapons, but, at the very least, we should be able to have a reasonable and thoughtful debate. After all, many of the arguments I have heard in favor of semi-automatic assault rifles are, frankly, illogical. If you justify the legalization of semi-automatic assault rifles on self-defense grounds, who are you afraid of breaking into your house?  The Russian military?  Similarly, defending semi-automatic rifles out of some fear of the American government becoming tyrannical is irrational. The American government is not going to suddenly transform into a bloodthirsty dictatorship, and if they did, we would not stand a chance — even with semi-automatic weapons. 

I understand that criminals will obtain weapons whether they are legal or illegal, but we might as well make it more difficult. I also understand why some people are so passionately opposed to gun control measures. People are afraid that the government is overstepping and infringing on constitutional rights. However, one cannot let common sense succumb to fear. The founding fathers never could have foreseen the technological advancement of weaponry. Since we cannot ask the founding fathers how far the second amendment extends, we must utilize our God-given gift of common sense.

Even if some conservatives cannot commit to restricting semi-automatic guns, they should at least agree to other regulations. Unfortunately, some conservatives cannot even agree to enforce universal background checks on those buying guns. This frustrates me because arguing against background checks is a complete and utter rejection of common sense.

I am not claiming to have all the answers when it comes to gun control. However, the answer is not to either pass more legislation or to enforce our current laws; it is both. When we witness what happened at Sandy Hook or Orlando, we have to do something. We are not going to eradicate violence of that nature, but we must do anything to make it more difficult to execute. Instead of wasting time with political banter, let’s just try to curtail the problem. It is time to throw away party platforms and political ideology, and just use some damn common sense. 

Eddie is a sophomore from Orland Park, Illinois. He is majoring in Economics and Political Science and considering pursuing law school after his time as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame. He can be reached at edamstra@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Eddie Damstra

Eddie is a junior from Orland Park, Illinois. He is majoring in Economics and Political Science with a minor in Constitutional Studies and plans on pursuing law school after his time as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame.

Contact Eddie
  • gdogs

    “This frustrates me because arguing against background checks is a complete and utter rejection of common sense.”

    To the contrary, arguing for something that can’t be enforced is a complete and utter rejection of common sense. Please explain to me how the government is going to enforce a UBC law on the 350 million guns currently owned by US citizens. Seriously, I’d love to know how that is going to work, considering the government doesn’t currently know who owns those firearms. Are you proposing national gun registration? Because that is the only way it works, and even then it only works if you can get gun owners to register their firearms – news flash – you can’t, just look at CT and NY’s recent attempts.

    Here are the actual affects of passing a UBC law. 1) Law abiding gun owners will have to pay a dealer to make a phone call and hold onto some paperwork in order to sell their own property (you don’t think they’ll do it for free do you). 2) Criminals will continue to buy guns on the black market without going through any checks. 3) Mass shooters will still purchase their guns legally, as none of the recent ones would have been stopped by such a law. 4) Even after such a law went into place, the government would still not prosecute people that failed to pass a background check – it is currently one of the least enforced crimes on the books.

    This I can promise you. If such a law passes you will have an increase in the semi automatic rifle black market. When you can sell an untraceable gun (already owned before the law went into effect) for twice as much as one that can be traced (because a UBC law will create a gun registry for every new gun sold after going into effect) then more people will sell them that way.

  • Abraham Collins

    Universal background checks would surrender even more of our privacy over to a federal government that is so large and overreaching that it’s practically Orwellian. Semiautomatic rifles are not machineguns. Banning them would be like trying to stop drunk driving by banning scotch. Viginia Tech was massacred by an attacker carrying handguns only.

    You’re a RINO.

    • João Pedro Santos

      That’s a bit of paranoia…

      • Abraham Collins

        It’s a fact. The transfer of private property should be just that: private. I’m tired of living in a surveillance state. True Conservatism means standing in the way of those who would surrender more and more information to a huge central government.

        The government should not know how many guns exist, or who owns them. There should be no such thing as gun tracing.

        • João Pedro Santos

          So are you in favor of demilitarizing the police?

          • Abraham Collins

            No.

          • João Pedro Santos

            So you’re only against some types of government interference in people’s lives… What a hypocrite.

          • Abraham Collins

            Arming the police interferes in my life in absolutely no way. If a riot breaks out and buildings are being set ablaze, you’d better believe that the SWAT team should roll out in an armored personnel carrier.

            Explain to me how the police’s possession of these tools interferes in my life? I’m waiting.

          • João Pedro Santos

            How is police use of force more or less ethical than a riot?

          • Abraham Collins

            The police are justified in using deadly force. Don’t fight cops and you won’t get shot. It isn’t difficult to comprehend.

            If the police overstep ethical boundaries they are taken to court and convicted.

          • João Pedro Santos

            “If the police overstep ethical boundaries they are taken to court and convicted.”
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FopyRHHlt3M

          • Abraham Collins

            Can you show me evidence of a cop killing someone, unjustifiably, and not facing trial? Good luck.

          • João Pedro Santos
          • Abraham Collins

            Freddie Grey was a crack slinging piece of crap with a two mile long rap sheet. Justified. Give me a break.

    • RandallPoopenmeyer

      Our homicide rate blows every other first world country out if the water. Guns are the problem, as are people like you.

      • Abraham Collins

        Our rate of homicide is only spectacular in Democrat-controlled states and cities. Neo-Bolsheviks like you are the problem.

        • João Pedro Santos

          “Neo-Bolsheviks” really? Hint: if you don’t know the meaning of a word, don’t use it.
          Plus, there are no “Democrat-controlled states and cities”. States aren’t independent countries therefore they have to obey to federal laws. And right now the far-right is in control of the congress and the senate. So the far-right is the one to blame for gun violence.

          • Abraham Collins

            Cry more. Dem-ruled states offer the government teat and the crooks come running to suck it. My state doesn’t have a crime problem, we coincidentally have guns-everywhere laws. Imagine that!

          • João Pedro Santos

            Apparently in school you were only taught to use guns and they didn’t even teach you to read…

          • Abraham Collins

            And you flunked out of the debate team, evidently. Argumentum ad hominem, I can do it too.

        • Abraham Collins

          Right. It’s a bloodbath here in Real America. Are you sure about that? Got some data to back your claim?

          Meanwhile safehavens in Oakland, Buffalo, Chicago and Baltimore continue to be a huge embarrassment!

          Whoops!

  • Bernardo

    Ignore the tinfoil-hat-wearing trailer park occupants below. I respect a citizen who has the wherewithal to choose his positions individually and not just conform to antiquated party beliefs. Great work, looking forward to more well reason articles such as this one.
    P.S. thank you for writing this article when emotions aren’t in the stratosphere over a recent mass shooting. God only knows if another one will occur in the near future.

    • RJ

      rt

    • gdogs

      I have no party loyalty, just know what is and isn’t possible (not an opinion – it simply isn’t possible to enforce a UBC law and it only affect law abiding Americans). There was an interesting gun control article a while back on the Hpost. It was about how gun control activist need to learn something about guns and gun laws before spouting off their usual ignorance on the subject. The author of this piece should read it.

  • Daniel Esparza

    The others gave their points, so I should just point out: Marxists are actually against gun control. “Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.” – Marx

    There’s a good article, here https://return2source.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/three-positions-on-gun-control/ which addresses this position. “Liberals” in the US are kind of weird in that many have adopted a traditionally right-wing stance on disarming the populace. This may have something to do with the fact that the democratic party was infamous in the early 20th century for suppressing labor movements.

    • Bob207

      Until the Marxist has control and then they are for gun control of others.

  • João Pedro Santos

    “I completely reject the far-left myth that banning all guns would reduce crime.”
    First, nobody ever talked about “banning all guns”. What people talk is about gun restriction, whether they’re what you call far-leftists (though I doubt that you know what that means), center-leftists or rightists.
    Gun restriction reduces crime. That’s not a “far-left” myth. It’s a fact which has a lot of evidence supporting it (just check the Australian case for example). And in most countries gun control in support by most politicians, regardless of where in the political spectrum they belong.

    • Abraham Collins

      Take a long hard look at Brazil and Mexico. The people can’t protect themselves, the cartels have all the guns they could ever want. Melbourne, Australia is being overrun by gangsters with firearms.

      Your claim that our gun laws make us less safe than these places is 100% bull.

      • João Pedro Santos

        Comparing Brazil and Mexico to 1st world countries is not a fair analogy. About Australia, do you mind showing the sources that support what you said?

        • Abraham Collins

          Limiting to “1st world only” is cherry-picking data.

          If gun control couldn’t save them, then it won’t save us either.

          • João Pedro Santos

            So you decide to ignore the entire 1st world country but then decide to compare to two countries whose poverty rate (another main cause of gun violence) is even higher? And I’m the one cherry-picking? What a joke.

          • Abraham Collins

            You cherry-pick. Doesn’t matter if they’re poor. Gun control didn’t save them. You fail.

          • João Pedro Santos

            I never said that gun control would solve all their problems. Stop with the strawmen.

          • Abraham Collins

            Then gun control is a waste of time. If the criminals can still have guns there isn’t any point.

          • João Pedro Santos

            By your logic any law is a waste of time since someone will break it anyway.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy

          • Abraham Collins

            Unlke murder, pedophilia, or extortion.. Guns can be used for good. Good people can use guns for defense.

            You can’t use drunk driving, terrorism, or voter fraud to defend yourself. You can defend yourself with a gun.

            This makes guns uniquely exempt from your stupid argument.

      • RandallPoopenmeyer

        Lol, no. Australia is fine. Their homicide rate is 1.0, ours is 3.9…

        • Abraham Collins

          They’re also on an island (strong borders) with a homogenous population, aside from a handful of aborigines.

          If they had the Mexican/black thug culture like ours they would see an equivalent homicide rate.

          • João Pedro Santos

            How cool, racism. A good reason to report your comment.

          • Abraham Collins

            AKA suppress speech. Let me guess, you’re Venezuelan by nationality. Yes? It would explain your angst toward our gun rights, you lousy neo-Bolshevik.