How great is this! It’s soooo great! I love living in a country where we all know, deep down, that guns are screwing up our country far more than they’re helping it, but yet, we hide behind the changeable Bill of Rights and act all pathetic and tough so we don’t risk having to admit that maybe the founding fathers ideals really haven’t kept up with life in the 21st Century.
Where to begin on this one. I suppose I'll start with a quick synopsis of the facts. Three armed robberies occur downtown. Cops roll up two likely suspects in the Moose's Tooth parking lot. I guess I can't knock the criminals for having good taste in food. Obviously, according to Gwen, the nefarious second amendment -- backed by Republicans, the NRA, pistols (the gun made them do it!), the Palin family, and talk radio -- is responsible.
People were robbing other people before guns were invented
A few quick points. First, robbery is a violent crime against persons, not just property. Moreover, without weapons, it still occurs. Nothing would have stopped these two thugs from teaming up against women, the handicapped, or the unwary, and nothing would have stopped them from wielding knives or clubs or any other handheld weapon. So I'm not sure what Gwen's solution would be; non-violent passive resistance isn't a bad strategy but its not the only one (or the best one), and removing firearms from the equation altogether doesn't solve the problem. In fact, it may make it worse because the physically weakest in society now because the most easily victimized.
An Alaskan Issue, not a Federal Issue
The thrust of Gwen's argument on this one is larger than her usual myopia, so we'll back up a step too. She should be aware that the US Constitution's Bill of Rights is not an issue here; the 2nd Amendment has not yet been incorporated against the states (yet). The reason why Alaskan's have a right to keep and bear arms is due to our state Constitution, which states in section 1.19:
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
This was updated in 1994 to read:
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.
The acts of the legislature have created a broad interpretation of this right in Alaska. The wonderful thing about federalism is that if Gwen doesn't like this, she can move to a state that has policies that match her views. For example, she can move to California, or New Jersey (where gun owners own firearms "at their peril"), or New York City, or Illinois, or DC (by the way, I hear that women walking alone after dark in NYC, Chicago, DC, Los Angeles, and Newark are very safe because of the strict gun control).
Alternatively, if she doesn't like it, then she could lobby to have the Alaska Constitution changed. It is interesting to note that it was drafted in 1959 -- the oh-so-old 20th century -- but Gwen thinks it is outdated in the 21st century. Maybe things have changed a lot over the last half century!
Guns are not a net penalty for Alaska or for the Country
As I've discussed before, Defensive Gun Usages -- even using conservative statistics from the US government -- outnumber criminal gun usages by several orders of magnitude. Moreover, firearms are used for many other beneficial purposes including defense against animals, hunting and sport.
Private firearm ownership also has positive implications for the security of our country. When I was in OEF, I'd prefer to have a good 'ol boy from the south that grew up shooting than someone from a big northeastern city that was scared to load his magazines (yes, there are people in combat zones who refuse to load their weapons). In Alaska, private ownership of firearms was helpful in WW2 for organizing the Alaska Territorial Guard. Finally, there are all the anti-tyranny benefits of an armed citizenry which the founding fathers were intimately familiar with.
Even if gun ownership was a net negative, that is not a good reason to ban guns
There are many destructive things in our society. Smoking tobacco is an obvious example. So is hateful -- but possibly protected -- speech. That does not mean that we should automatically ban these things. While I don't like smoking and don't like being around smokers, what gives me the right to take away their personal choice to smoke (oh, wait -- I'm paying for their healthcare now... Put down that Lucky! But I digress...).
Our system of government is intended to protect minority rights. It has provisions that create a government of strictly limited powers and jealously guard the people's sovereignty and individual freedoms. Just because something is unpopular, risky, or dangerous does not mean that the government can or should forbid it. The downside to living in a free society is that people have the option to make bad choices so long as they don't harm others. My choice to own a firearm hurts nobody. You cannot preemptively restrict someone's rights because they might do something criminal. That would be like duct taping people's mouths shut at the Bear Tooth Theater because one of them might call "fire!"