Helen of Marlowe's Blog

The Right to Avoid the Presence of Guns

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on July 2, 2015

E. J. Dionne says “we need to insist on protecting the rights of Americans who do not want to be anywhere near guns.” Lots of us have been thinking that for a long time, but maybe we needed someone of prominence to articulate it. But, as Dionne goes on to say, as long as the National Rifle association and its allies claim a monopoly on arguments about individual rights, reasonable gun regulations will be ground to death by the Washington Obstruction Machine. We need, as Dionne says, a public service offensive on behalf of the health and safety of all of us.

Dionne quotes Guy Molyneaux , “The evidence is overwhelming that having a gun in your home increases the risks of suicide, domestic violence and fatal accidents, and yet the number one reason given for gun purchases is ‘personal safety.’ We need a public health campaign on the dangers of gun ownership, similar to the successful efforts against smoking and drunk driving.”

The NRA has kept the conversation focused on “rights” – the “rights” of Americans to own guns. No one has succeeded in changing the conversation to talk about the rights of those of us who want to walk and shop and attend meetings in gun-free places. Who will speak for parents who want to take their children to play in a local park, but don’t want their children playing in the presence of guns?  Kids in our country are at least sixteen times more likely to be killed in unintended shootings than in other advanced countries. The NRA positions itself as a defender of freedom, and yet they even curtail the freedom of medical practitioners with their “physician gag rule” which punishes doctors who talk to their patients about gun safety.

The NRA positions itself as a defender of rights, and yet wants to curtail the right of restaurant owners to ban guns from their own restaurants.  They say that owners of bars where alcohol is the main course should not be allowed to restrict guns.   And they get a pass on their Orwellian claim that they are the defenders of individual freedoms.

I hope E.J. Dionne’s recent column in The Washington Post will start a new conversation, one about the rights of people who want to go about their lives without being surrounded by guns. The American conversation about guns does not have to be about what the 2nd Amendment means, it does not have to be about whether our constitution allows you to have a gun, but about whether you should have a gun.

As Molyneux said. “This is not about the government saying you cannot own a handgun. This is about society saying you should not have a gun, especially in a home with children.”

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  1. Jim Wheeler said, on July 3, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I’m sympathetic to your cause, Helen, but I can’t see this changing in this country, the main reason being the structure of government. Cities and individual states have enacted sensible gun restrictions only to find that guns flow in freely from those nearby which have not. Chicago is a prime example. Plus, the NRA’s message has found a resonance within our society that causes certain people to vote single-issue. I think owning a pickup truck multiplies the likelihood by about ten. 🙄

    • helenofmarlowe said, on July 3, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Well that’s a real interesting thought. I actually own a pickup truck, which I use to carry mulch and to take my bicycle to bike trails. Maybe I should add a gun rack, just for verisimilitude.

      • Jim Wheeler said, on July 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm

        Ha ha. I can just picture it. Don’t forget the NRA sticker! 😆


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