A few months ago I attended a town hall meeting organized by Kelly Robinson, the County Commissioner representing my area. He invited District 35 State Senator Donzella James and newly-elected State House District 62 Representative LaDawn Blackett Jones, plus State House District 61 Representative Roger Bruce. Each of their districts overlaps my County Commission district to some extent.
Among the topics discussed – and the main one that drew the ire of a number of folks in the audience – was Donzella James’s proposed gun control legislation.
I recognize the pitfalls inherent in most – if not all – gun control legislation I’ve read, and can’t support anything but criminal background checks. Even then I know they’re of limited effect because bad guys have their way of getting things we tell them they can’t have. I’m rambling, but bottom line is, I’m opposed to gun control schemes for myriad reasons – the State Senator’s proposed legislation included. It exemplifies the rash of legislation introduced across the country every time there is a shooting of any kind: lots of tough-sounding proposals but almost nothing that would affect a criminal.
Other than being irked at yet another bogus gun control bill, I wasn’t too worried about the legislation. While James represents one of the many pockets of blue in the state, overall it’s a red state. When you can’t get constituents up off the couch for anything else – which seems to be par for the course in my neck of the woods – mention gun control and suddenly everyone’s an activist.
During the portion of the meeting allowed for citizen comments, a couple of people addressed proposed schemes that would shuffle money out of citizen pockets and into local or state government coffers, then on to government-selected firms. In contrast, numerous citizens spoke in opposition of the proposed firearms restrictions. Many more were in the audience, nodding in agreement.
After the meeting, as I was chatting with a group of people I knew, LaDawn Blackett Jones walked over and introduced herself. Not surprisingly, she indicated that she was supportive of the gun control legislation proposed by her fellow Democrat.
Almost immediately she told the group that they had to be willing to compromise and give up something. A friend (who is a founding member of Georgia Carry) rattled off a list of compromises that had already been conceded to the anti-firearms lobby over the years. Others in the group reminded her that the right to keep and bear arms was included in the Constitution.
“Second Amendment! Second Amendment! – that’s all I hear. You’ve got to give me a better reason than that for not having stronger gun control laws.” If that wasn’t verbatim what LaDawn Blackett Jones said it was damn close. And it pissed people off. As a State Senator she had taken an oath to preserve, protect and defend both the state and the U.S. Constitutions. She had just essentially dismissed the Second Amendment.
But actually, I wasn’t surprised at what she said. She’s a lawyer. She’s legalistic; paid to study the law and find the exceptions, interpretations and precedents that fit her needs. To her, law is a tool – a means to an end. In practice, the spirit of, and reasons behind, a law don’t necessarily mean much in court and, I presume, don’t mean much to any attorney unless it fits their narrative. From everything I’ve read and learned, the intent of the Second Amendment fits no modern-day liberal politician’s narrative.
I feel sure that some of the deafness to the outcry over Second Amendment abuses is because too many gun rights people talk more about firearms and the guarantee itself than they do about the principles it protects and the real-world consequences of hobbling it. Not that you’re going to win many hearts and minds if they’re vehemently opposed to firearms, but a factual, clear-headed and intelligent dialogue will surely get you farther than just saying “Second Amendment.”
If we the people can’t have a dialogue that includes an understanding and respect for all of the reasons behind the Second Amendment, and the only thing we have standing between us and tyranny is its text, we’re in deep doo-doo.