AL HB 265, The Gun Violence Protective Order Act, sponsored by State Rep. Merika Coleman, is the kind of a no-brainer, sensible legislation that Alabama should have had on the books years ago to prevent people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others from owning firearms. Yet, the Second Amendment extremists are up in arms because they think that it might deprive some folks of their God-given sacred right to own a firearm if someone files a false allegation.
Well, to hell with public safety if there’s even a minuscule chance that something crazy like that might happen. Far better for there to be a mass shooting at a middle school or a preventable suicide than to take the wild risk that anyone might be temporary, albeit wrongly, deprived of their right to own a cache of military-style assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Yeah, that “well-regulated” part of the Second Amendment shouldn’t ever distract from it being an absolute right, right?
Well, that’s the problem. That’s why scores and scores of people had to die before bump stocks were banned. It’s why Alabama just tried to get rid of pistol permits because filling out paperwork is, you know, such a huge infringement. The Second Amendment extremists think that gun ownership is more important than anything else. More important than public safety. More important than the rights of everyone else.
A recent article on AL.com that discussed this issue generated over 1400 comments and many of them were simply jaw-dropping due to their hysterical and illogical opposition. It seems that any attempt at sensible gun regulation or legislation is viewed as a malign liberal plot to create a slippery slope where all guns are confiscated and melted into statues of Nancy Pelosi. Their outrage is beyond absurd and their reasoning the very definition of delusional.
I hate to shatter the conservative schema that all liberals hate firearms, but the truth is that lots of liberals own firearms for a variety of different reasons. The difference is that they understand that these weapons should be well-regulated and kept out of the hands of people who would do great harm to others or themselves. They don’t think anyone needs military assault-style weapons to hunt or protect their homes. They believe in background checks. Many think gun owners should have to purchase insurance and be required to go through training. They don’t think that it’s cool for technology to be developed and sold that can easily turn a firearm into a weapon of mass lethality and destruction.
We’ve spent decade after decade pretending we can’t have a debate on this issue because every time we try, it’s unfortunately in the wake of a mass shooting. Well, right now, Alabama has a chance to get it right and at least pass a bill that could prevent someone from acting out their very worst urges. If the Second Amendment extremists are so afraid that someone could be wrongly accused, there’s a way to impose penalties on someone who makes false allegations and quickly restore the rights of the person who was wronged.
The Second Amendment extremists will continue to oppose any sensible regulations on firearms, but it’s up to rational citizens to push for bills that make our communities safer. Gun ownership is not an absolute right and anyone with eighth-grade reading comprehension clearly understands that concept.
The folks that are the loudest about the Second Amendment seem to always downplay or flatly ignore that “well-regulated” language in the amendment. It’s time for sensible gun owners to take a stand and support bills like HB 265 and ignore the extremists.
None of our constitutional rights are absolute, including the right to own a gun.
It’s why you can’t joke about having a bomb at the airport. Think about it.
Clete Wetli is former Chair of the Madison County Democrats and a liberal political activist.