For years we heard about the “tyranny of the minority.”
Right-wingers lamented how “minority groups” or more often “minority thinkers” forced their will upon the majority of us in this nation by citing the Constitution on issues including prayer in schools, Christmas displays on public grounds and homosexual marriage. (Recent polls on that last issue indicate the majority of Americans now favor it, however.)
Now many of those same right-wingers are in the minority and exerting their tyranny over the nation and citing the Constitution as their rationale.
In the wake of a tragedy in which 20 sweet, innocent first-graders and six noble educators in Connecticut were shot dead by a profoundly and obviously disturbed young man with a semi-automatic weapon, 90 percent of Americans favor background checks on all gun purchases.
To most of us universal background checks sound like a reasonable way to try to keep guns away from the evil, the angry and the crazy. It is not the answer but it is an answer to a horrifying problem with gun violence in our nation.
Yet any action on universal background checks is being held up by a vocal and well-funded minority who insist they have the Second Amendment right to buy any and as many guns as they want without any background checks being done. In fact, there seems to be an underhanded movement to roll back the existing laws that allow for background checks on 60 percent of gun purchases.
Gun lovers and conspiracy theorists insist that any government gun registry may, and in fact probably will, mean jack-booted government thugs of our nation’s vicious dictatorship soon bursting through doors of private homes and confiscating all firearms. Some are even claiming the mass killing in December in Newtown, Conn., was staged by the government to justify the mass seizure of weapons from the citizenry.
The NRA, which is largely funded by gun manufacturers, and Glenn Beck, who is largely funded by NRA and companies capitalizing on people’s apocalyptic fears, promote mass gun-confiscation scenarios as realistic and are urging people to stock up on guns and ammo now, before the inevitable happens. In doing so they are moving our country further toward what they see as the glorious return of days of the Wild West, when every real man had a dip in his lip and a gun on his hip.
They insist that gun on their hip or in their hands is their constitutional right at all times and in all places,
One also could make the argument that the Second Amendment allows for the purchase of weapons without background checks, although just how psychos such as James Holmes or Adam Lanza driving around town with arsenals of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines qualifies as a “well-regulated militia” baffles me and millions of other Americans.
Frankly, I feel more threatened by an unstable neighbor — and I have at least a couple of those — with a cache of weapons and ammunition than I do Chad and Dustin from few houses down being allowed to marry.
Sadly, the tyranny of the minority is trying to keep Chad and Dustin from getting married while at the same time keeping everyone, including police, from knowing whether a disturbed — as documented — neighbor is fully equipped to shoot all the folks in the neighborhood.
Bret Kofford teaches writing at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus. His opinions don’t necessarily reflect those of SDSU or its employees or the Imperial Valley Press and its staff. Kofford can be reached at Kofford@roadrunner.com