The recent school shooting in Newtown CT is the focus of a renewed effort to limit or define the limits of the right to keep and bear arms.
This conflict arose out of a desire to reduce mass shootings that result in terrible numbers of dead. This desire seems in conflict with the right to keep and bear arms. Though terrible tragedies occur, is it inviting a worse tradedy to limit the right for law abiding citizens to own any type of arms traditionally allowed under the second amendment of the United States Constitution?
The second amendment was passed in 1789. The law and related use has a long presence with various outcomes and perceptions associated with it.
- Barack O’bama and the anti-gun lobby traditionally have lost many a gun fight. This is the weaker side overall. Democrats tend to own fewer guns than republicans at 32%-55% respectively. 36% of independents own guns. Overall, 41% of Americans have guns in the home.
- The National Rifle Association (NRA) and all others who support unfettered acceptance of the 2nd Amendment. This includes CATO, FEE, and Heritage Foundation, among others. The NRA has an image of immense political sway.
The Rival Goal: Limit the type of arms covered by the 2nd Amendment or demand constructively limiting legislation such as background checks, or other processes that limit the ability to buy, carry, or exchange arms.
As in nearly all conflicts, the weaker side, gun control supporters, moved first to make a change in relationship since their ultimate goal was out of reach before the leverage this newest school tragedy provided. Until now most power was in support of the NRA.
Deeper interests: Both sides have security in mind as the reason for their goal. However, security of whom, and from whom is the difference. The dialectic is that government can be a source of security and threat.
The NRA is thinking about security from coercion of government. They may well and reasonably believe the framers of the constitution were OK with individuals owning everything from tanks to rocket propelled grenades, even though they did not yet exist. This is an important concept to them as they see it as protection from the misuse of legitimate firepower of government. There seem little indication that the right to keep and bear arms actually does this save the freedom America has enjoyed since the adoption of the Constitution.
Gun Control supporters believe that the easy availability of assault rifles and extra large magazine clips provide an undue opportunity for kids to do mass harm and that limiting their availability would help reduce school shootings and tremendous numbers of deaths. This may be true or this may be magical thinking along the lines of prohibition and the war on drugs if the problem is indeed deeper than surface.
The Social Rules: Upper Mid-level Power Differential.
The social rules in which this conflict occurs will govern the outcome. The outcome will be measured in quality of internal security in the United States. It is predicted to have a moderate improvement as the balance of power at the upper middle level of the pattern is relatively high balance, a low power-differential.
The process is based on the political process in the United States. This means there is debate at the Federal level. The executive branch, senate, and house must find some level of understanding upon which to engage. This process has stronger and weaker representations when it comes to gun control and most other issues.
The social impact of guns is still in need of research. Politicians may have little systemic evidence to base a decision except what “feels” right. In the case of prohibition, weapons of mass destruction, and the drug war, along with former positions on gay marriage, political zeal, passion, and feelings can be woefully off. The best we could hope for is a call for true research into the deeper causes and the value of gun control. This would be a higher dialogue and create a more positive social environment which in and of itself can bring security and lessen deaths by violent outbursts.
States can enact laws at the local levels however the factors all remain the same as laws enacted at the Federal level. It will be a matter for sociological research.
Some of the processes are claimed to be secretly strategic by the government: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20130118/NEWS/301180038/State-gun-law-what-got-banned-changed
Then, after all is said and done, the Supreme Court can reverse any decision no matter how it is created though research can sway the court to abandon precedents.
The synthetic model predicts an improvement in the quality of security and related factors if both the supporters and detractors around gun control engage deeply and positively with each other to find a creative and beautiful approach. Just the example they set can set the tone for the rest of the nation on other factors as well. Irate and angry young people may find hope and comfort in leaders at any level transcending their bias to try to understand others in order to create a more beautiful world. That example may itself be enough. Every little bit helps.