My non-LGBT column
by Mark Segal
Jan 03, 2013 | 2149 views | 7 7 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Guns. We believe in the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms — but, like the First Amendment, the right of free speech, we believe in limits. As for the freedom of speech, limitations need to be imposed for when people do something stupid or harmful, like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

With that in mind, a similar limitation and several others — some of which were suggested to me in a conversation with my friend, Rob Metzger — should be placed on guns.

First, they need to be registered. All loopholes must be closed, especially in regard to gun shows. Then registration. To get a driver’s license you must prove you know how to drive a car and pass a test. Why? Because cars can kill. So can guns. So, some sort of test must be part of any good registration.

And like cars, guns should be insured. Cars are insured due to the damage they do to people and property. That damage is paid for by insurance companies. If we had insurance for each and every gun and created an insurance pool for victims of gun violence and the cost of insurance was based on that amount, gun insurance might get a little expensive for someone with 20 guns. It’s a horrible thing to think of, but imagine the amount of money the insurance companies would have to pay each of the families of the victims of the massacres at Sandy Hook, Columbine or the Aurora, Colo., movie-theater killings. Not enough? Think of the number of gun-violence victims in this nation each year.

And to bring it all together, how about hefty penalties for anyone not obeying these laws? Have an unregistered gun? That’s two-five years in jail — no exceptions, no excuses, no probation. No insurance? That’s two-five years in jail — no excuses, just jail time.

As for the idea of putting armed police officers in schools or arming teachers with guns — do you realize that one act would add hundreds of thousands of guns to our streets across the country? Those people would be taking their guns to and from work and maybe feel comfortable having them when they have a night out on the town.

So, the NRA wants to give hundreds of thousands of people new guns. What happens if just one of those teachers or officials in just one of those schools has a temper and gets into an argument with a student, a student gets out of hand or what if just one of those hundreds of thousands of people with new shiny guns has a bad night with his or her other half, doesn’t take his or her meds ... you get the idea. It only takes one person to create another Sandy Hook, and suggesting that we arm hundreds of thousands of new gun-slingers is the easiest way to get us another Sandy Hook.

There is no need to debate the Second Amendment. Just like the First Amendment, you can define it. But while we’re on the subject, those wishing to quote it should understand exactly what our founding fathers had in mind when they put that in the Constitution. Very simply, they were concerned that Great Britain might just try and take the colonies (us) back by force, and they wanted something in place to assure that any state government at that time would not side with Britain and take guns away, thereby giving the opponent a free hand to just walk right in. Remember states’ rights? Well, there is no Britain out there. Do you think your gun will stop a drone from Russia or a missile from North Korea or Iran?

Running out of space and we haven’t even touched the issue of bullets, and those 30-plus bullet clips. Yes, hunters, we know you need a semi-automatic and 50 bullets to kill Bambi. After all, it’s a sport, right?

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at mark@epgn.com.

Comments
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Monique Frugier
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January 06, 2013
If "There is no need to debate the Second Amendment" , then why does Mark Segal remind us of "what our founding fathers had in mind when they put that in the Constitution"? Dissent Justice Stevens (joinded by Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer) couldn't have defined it better when he said, "The Amendment's text does justify a different limitation: the "right to keep and bear arms" protects only a right to possess and use firearms in connection with service in a state-organized militia. Had the Framers wished to expand the meaning of the phrase "bear arms" to encompass civilian possession and use, they could have done so by the addition of phrases such as "for the defense of themselves".

Further more, if we think that conducting checks on individuals who want to buy any firearm, making sure they are sane and/or do not have criminal record, won't stop them from obtaining one. History has proved this. Let's be courageous and debate an amendment adopted on December 15, 1791--as well as begin a full review of all previous Supreme Court rulings on the Second Amendment to construct a complete history of interpretations and precedents.
I'm Replying
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January 06, 2013
It's a magazine not a clip. Please get the terms right, you'll be a bit better informed. As to hunting, it's not legal to hunt with a rifle that has a magazine in PA -the rifle must be bolt action. (In other states this may not be the case, but also, the capacity of the magazine is limited.) Although your opinion is otherwise facially sound, it ignores the fact that the catalyst for writing is because a mentally ill person stole the weapons from his mommie. (See how it's the person here and not the tool alone?)

C.Moore
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January 04, 2013
I don't agree with the whole insurance for guns. That's what home owners is for, & I think if we did something like that an average Joe like myself might not be able to afford to keep a gun. Then only the rich will be able to have a gun, which i would see as a violation of my second amendment rights. Our government isn't to stable these days, & I'm sure that one day we all will need our guns to defend our own homesteads. I would rather have my guns taken from my cold dead hands before I allow some paranoid people to take it away. It's not the gun that kills people. It's people that kill people.
C. Ryder
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January 05, 2013
Actually yes your home owners insurance covers your guns, if they are stolen or lost in a fire. Not if you use it to kill your neighbor. And it is people with guns that kill people. Seriously consider your arguments before you make them.
J M
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January 06, 2013
To C. Ryder... I beleive we have laws in place already...You kill someone you go to jail and in many cases that can include death to you via the death penalty. Also, laws are on the books already in most places to allow families to sue for cash/compensation for wrongful death and so on. Adding fines and more jail time won't change people from using guns or any other weapon they see fit to murder or break laws. We have laws already, we just need to inforce them more efficiently.
Rachel Garber
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January 03, 2013
Mark, Believe it or not, I have a fb friend in West Chester, who is a gun owner, a member of the NRA, and doesn't believe that the average Joe or Jane has any need for those types of guns that are only used to kill people. He doesn't agree that the ppl in CO theatre should have all been armed, and as I recall, he thinks the loopholes should be closed. BTW, he is also a Friend of Dorothy. This was a great column and the topic affects all of us The thing with the wackos, they do believe they are arming themselves against a gov't, their own.
Dawn Munro
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January 11, 2013
I think that Monique Frugier has it right. There is need for a sane discussion on this topic! All rights are qualified and as a non gun owning (currently) citizen I have right to live in a world where I'm unlikely to be confronted by some cretin carrying a military weapon with a high capacity magazine. I used to own a Mossberg rifle which carried 10 rounds in the "in stock" magazine. When hunting I can't recollect having ever used more than three at any one time.