Whose Second Amendment Is It? The Gun Lobby’s? Or Gun Owners’?

Gun owners -- many of them hunt deer like this one grazing in my back yard. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Lots of people I know are gun owners. They love to hunt. Unfortunately, the voracious deer in my back yard are off limits. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Not surprisingly I got some blow-back from readers and friends who read my Oct. 4 post “Gun Safety. I’m Giving Up on the Cause. Here’s Why.” I wrote it in a hurry, late at night, before heading off for two weeks in Portugal and Spain (more about that later). So my thoughts maybe need a little clarifying.

Yes. I am done ranting and getting all outraged and emotional about the issues I care about; that only seems to play into the alt-right’s desire to excite people and polarize everyone and everything. I’m done playing that game.

As for the Second Amendment, I don’t want to own a gun. I don’t want small children in my family to be in a house where guns are stored. And I don’t want to see yet another mass murder unfold live on my television screen.

But there are lots of people I know and like who love to hunt or feel they need a gun for self-protection.  That’s fine with me.

Gun Lobby Money

Gun owners, it seems, are not really the problem here. It’s the gun lobby and the politicians who let themselves be bought by the gun lobby. Writing in the October 16 New Yorker, Amy Davidson Sorkin says, “Too many politicians treat the gun lobby and other donors as their true constituents, even though polls show that a majority of Americans would support common-sense gun legislation.”

After the Sandy Hook shootings, 75 percent of members of the National Rifle Association supported background checks, writes Sorkin. But the NRA lobbied against it anyway and the measure failed in Congress.

When will that “majority of Americans” speak up and hold its lawmakers’ feet to the fire? And, how is it that gun-owners are OK with belonging to an NRA that doesn’t represent the views of its members?

Will Gun Owners Speak Up?

We need some gun legislation. No doubt about that. But I, for one, would like to see gun owners, gun collectors, hunters, sportsmen, and gun aficionados step up to the plate and make sensible gun legislation happen. I’d like to shut my mouth for a minute and give gun owners a chance to take responsibility for how the Second Amendment they cherish is implemented.

I’m asking my gun-owning friends to think hard. I’m asking them to find a reasonable balance between public safety and their Second Amendment freedoms. Just how much unnecessary death and carnage are they honestly willing to tolerate for the sake of the Second Amendment as they understand it?

Whose Second Amendment is it anyway? The gun lobby’s? Or gun owners’?



  1. Rick Stanton says:

    So well said, Barbara. It seems that only gun advocates have any sway over Congress. Sad but seemingly true.

    I just had a good conversation with an aide to our Republican Congressman here in Charleston, SC. Our Congressman will not change his mind, and I told the aide that I’ve decided to work at the state level instead. (Not much hope for that either in SC.) But I’m not giving up. (The aide said to continue to contact my national representatives as well.) These deaths are too tragic to quit, but I do agree: the gun owners need to speak out.

    Rick Stanton

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