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there's an amendment for that

for many years, people like me have felt that nausea that accompanies every mass shooting in the united states; the bodies are still warm when wayne lapierre or one of his meat puppets is on television insisting that the solution to gun violence is to increase the number of guns in circulation. guns for teachers. guns for hospital staff. guns for flight attendants (what could possibly go wrong?), guns for every family member, as many as they can feasibly carry while still being able to stand (their ground). any mention of even a single rule about gun ownership being tightened is met with the hysterical response that someone in government is coming for your guns.

the national rifle association and other affiliated advocacy groups trace their intransigence on this issue to the second amendment to the u.s. constitution, which guarantees all americans the right to bare arms. they hold that amendment to be quasi-religious doctrine, true for all times and in all situations, despite the fact that the men who wrote it would likely drop a load in their pantaloons even hearing about the kind of weaponry available on the open market today.

these people are as ubiquitous as they are insufferable. despite the fact that numerous polls suggest that the majority of americans actually would like to see some sort of reform to gun laws, especially when it comes to high-power assault-style weapons, theirs are virtually the only voices heard in the aftermath of a tragedy. the founding fathers meant, they assure us, for every american to arm themselves out of a sense of patriotism and pride, with the best arsenal known to mankind.

there are lots of reasons to suspect that their arguments are spurious, because they are spurious, but all that aside, i've been wondering what's happened to those people lately. there haven't been any high profile mass shootings, but there have been a lot of high profile government incursions on civil rights, with signs that there are more to come. so why aren't the gun rights advocates crawling out of the woodwork to do a victory lap?

after all, the seizure of power by an autocratic government is literally the exact fucking reason the second amendment was created. the founding fathers weren't concerned about the right to hunt or the right to do some target practice at your local gun club; they were worried that bad people were going to try to storm in a crush their democratic project while it was still in the chrysalis. they wanted to block the government from impeding the people's acquisition of firearms for the specific purpose that those firearms would be available for use against said government should the need arise.

gun guys, this is it. you've won. despite the likes of me telling you that you were being ridiculous with your militia theories, you finally have a case in point: someone has taken over your government and is putting in place measures that will leave you in all manner of danger. this is the goddamned moment you've been warning us about and you're missing it.

to be clear, i am not calling for any sort of armed insurrection, not st all. but since so many of you have been quick to remind us of the importance of the second amendment as we've watched rivers of tears commingle with blood, it seems outright bizarre that you're nowhere to be found now. no one is saying you need to spring into paramilitary action, but for the love of god, the least you could do is stick your heads above ground and say something like "aren't you glad we blocked all those gun law reforms now that there's a chance we're dealing with an actual dictator? do your whole hippie protest thing, but if it comes down to it, as promised and as is constitutionally required, we got this."

your conspicuous absence is enough to make this northern neighbour wonder if you even meant what you said about the second amendment. because right now, it looks like you either only wanted to be able to collect cool things that go boom, or you wanted a personal arsenal you could point at anyone  you just plain don't like. i'm not a scholar on the subject, but i am well certain that neither of those things was what your founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the amendment that keeps your rights sacred, even as thousands of people die as a side effect.

so speak up, gun people. for once, mushy-brained liberals like me may be forced to nod in agreement as you remind us that the threat of armed rebellion might be all that stands between a dictator and america. because if you don't say something soon, it seems pretty clear that you should maintain your silence on a permanent basis.

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