During this gentle election cycle, as always, certain wannabe officeholders vehemently announce total support for the Second Amendment (the Right to Bear Arms). There is nothing nuanced about this proclamation. The sleight-of-hand message is that if a politician is in favor of the Second Amendment, then his or her opponent must be against it.
To many voters, this is their single issue: Either protect my guns — good — or take away my guns — bad.
But this is a false dichotomy. The deafening pro-gun declarations are simply fear-mongering. Our own Darryl Glenn is one such staunch SecondAmendment proponent (though, to be fair, when he exercises his bare arms, it is quite the gun show). No opposition politician has stated an intention to abolish the Second Amendment, nor has any tried to do so. The predicted midnight raids on private arsenals, Obama personally seizing your guns, have never occurred. The Amendment, in name, remains safe.
But what of the reality of gun rights? The NRA (No Restrictions on Arms) ensures that attempts at gun control are extremely difficult to pass. Each time we suffer a firearm tragedy, the Left calls for gun control and the Right calls for more arms, and nothing happens. We cannot even agree about disarming those who are violent, mentally ill or of terrorist persuasion. Simply put, there are certain individuals who ought not to have guns in their hands. We all know some.
In fact, individual gun rights are being taken away wholesale from classes of people: those with a record of domestic violence, and felons. Hard to argue with that, but I will. No one supports the commission of domestic violence or felonies. Yet, domestic violence can include such relatively harmless acts as making phone calls, sending texts and breaking inexpensive property. The word "violence" has been redefined to include many acts that fall outside the dictionary definition of violence. Gun rights are stripped from those with a domestic violence restraining order. It is almost laughably easy to obtain a domestic violence restraining order against a former loved one.
The felony prohibition is all-encompassing and for life, regardless of how serious or innocuous the conviction. This can include crimes such as "False Information to a Pawn Broker" and "Habitual Traffic Offender"; certainly bad life choices, but the loss of a Constitutional right is an extreme reaction, especially when no violence was alleged or charged. No other Constitutional right is in peril: Women do not lose the right to vote, and slavery is not reinstated for those formerly subject to its reach.
In contrast, the felony prohibition formerly made sense and was more limited, to only those who committed violent crimes. There was a logical nexus; you, as an individual, proved you are too dangerous to possess a gun and thus your gun right was stripped. Furthermore, if you later proved rehabilitation, the court could restore your gun rights. The right was taken away on an individual basis, and restored where found appropriate.
Gun-limiting laws have been passed regardless of who is in office. No politician seems interested in protecting the rights of unpopular classes of people. If you bypass his commercial rhetoric and look at his website, Darryl Glenn's fine print wants to limit gun rights to "law abiding citizens."
So you're in favor of gun control, Mr. Glenn? Where do you draw the line with regard to your intended collusion? Those who are law-abiding one day can quickly switch corners when new laws criminalize gun possession.
Some people believe there is a government conspiracy to disarm the populace, and while the government certainly is not competent enough to pull off a conspiracy, the result is the same. More people are losing their gun rights, and the politicians who wrap themselves in the soft Second Amendment flag — 1,200 thread count, courtesy of the NRA — are oddly quiet about all these legislative doings.
If the Second Amendment is your single issue, then ignore the dishonest pandering, and really examine who has done what; and then vote accordingly.
The politicians who give lip service to the Second Amendment are silent at best when your rights are really taken away.
Michael Salkind has been a practitioner of the art of Criminal Defense, in Colorado, since 1993. As well, he comes from a short line of drummers.