Saturday, March 19, 2016

NRA argues that Merrick Garland could tip the scales back toward strict gun control even in the home


Chris Cox, an executive director (admittedly) of the NRA (which I drive past frequently on I-66 in Virginia), provides an op-ed on p A19 in the Washington Post today, “Why we oppose Gordon Merrick’s nomination” .

Cox believes that four of the sitting Supreme Court justices would want to overturn Heller in Washington DC, and that Merrick Garland would join them.  They believe that a new court would re-interpret the Second Amendment in a more collectivist fashion.

I have very mixed feelings about all of this, sometimes resonating with Ted Cruz and other times not. As an older gay male, I do know of an instance where someone several decades younger was recently put in jeopardy in a particular situation.  Although he is OK now, he might not have been.  This is an individual who, were I born several decades later in an “alternative universe”, I might have been a partner of, in my own estimation.  I’m left to wonder what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone maimed for life when he could have defended himself.  Fortunately for me, this remained a thought experiment.  It might not have.  In fact, shortly after moving to California to start Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, then 20, unarmed, gunned the accelerator to drive away from a gas station robbery.  He might have been lucky.

At the same time, it’s obvious that major public venues in western countries regard allowing weapons on their premises as unworkable and unacceptable.

But the right to defend oneself at home or when alone or with family in less public circumstances should not be put at risk.

I do understand the arguments from Piers Morgan and others that gun control has curbed a lot of routine crime in places like the UK and Australia.  With the shootings all the time in parts of Washington DC, I wonder how gun control would play out.  But more aggressive statist gun control may leave individuals in the public more vulnerable to very determined attacks from enemies, whether business related (as with organized crime) or due to ideology (often religious) and international enemies, that is, terrorists.

And whether people have a moral duty to learn to defend themselves and others in their families (and that isn’t limited to just their children and spouses) is a good  question.

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