Welcome to the Wild West

Gun Rights


This is how we were warned it would be — the Second Amendment as a blanket right to carry guns anywhere with few exceptions.

Clarence Thomas, writing for the super-conservative majority that is the enduring gift of former President Trump, finally found his voice in defense of the indefensible: The Second Amendment, he wrote, guarantees “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

No, it doesn’t.

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It is part of what in logic is called a conditional statement, also known as an if/then statement. It is based on a world we no longer inhabit, in which to maintain a “well-regulated militia,” citizens needed weapons. The framers feared the British would invade again, and farmers needed to be able to grab their single-shot, barrel-loaded muskets and meet in the town square. Because we needed a militia, therefore people needed guns. There was no domestic police force, no branches of the military and no National Guard.

The Second Amendment has nothing to do with citizens carrying military assault weapons around to protect themselves from other citizens, and that’s why every court challenge has ruled that, as Samuel Alito has written, the Second Amendment is not absolute. So at just the moment when we actually got some gun control measures passed after 30 years of expansion, the Supreme Court more than nullifies it by giving the National Rifle Association the right to challenge every gun-carrying restriction (imagine guns at crowded sporting events and on airplanes) on constitutional grounds.

Think about it. This court has ruled that women do not have the final say over their own reproduction rights but that everyone can carry a lethal weapon in public on constitutional grounds. Our horrific gun violence problem will only get worse — this from the so-called pro-life crowd.

I don’t know about you, but when I see someone with a gun on hip (which is a more frequent occurrence and will become commonplace now), I don’t want to even have a conversation with them.

We will fear the “other” even more than we already do, and every stranger will represent a potential judge, jury and executioner. Fear, which is the enemy of the moral life, will only increase, and we will move silently around people in public. We will be shut down by the thought that any exchange could escalate into a “stand your ground” moment of murder. Remember, all you have to prove is that you “felt” threatened and you are safe to open fire. Have we gone mad?

Yes.

Will we stand our ground for peace, justice, and nonviolence?

Yes.

Will that be even harder now?

Absolutely.

If you feel like you are about to wake up in a country you no longer recognize, then make no mistake about who is destroying it, and get to the ballot box come hell or high water.

Lord have mercy.

The Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers is pastor of First Congregational Church UCC in Norman and retired senior minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC in Oklahoma City. He is currently Professor of Public Speaking, and Distinguished Professor of Social Justice Emeritus in the Philosophy Department at Oklahoma City University, and the author of eight books on religion and American culture, the most recent of which is, Saving God from Religion: A Minister’s Search for Faith in a Skeptical Age. Visit robinmeyers.com

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