Do firearms owners deserve the legal right to own guns? I ask because a republic does not run itself. We elect lawmakers who set public policy. We might blame the police and judges, but it is not their job to care about or enforce human rights. They certainly don’t protect the right of self-defense. Police and judges only enforce existing laws, and laws in California and Washington State are taking away the legal right of self-defense. I don’t think the gun owners in Washington and California deserve to keep their guns. They are not alone.
Democracy works for those who show up. Starting with California, gun owners simply didn’t bother to vote to protect their rights. There is no reason for politicians to respect the rights of gun owners once they have removed themselves from the political process. Gun owners either voted for politicians who wanted to take away their rights.. or gun owners stayed home last November. Let me show you.
If 70 percent of California gun owners voted for a pro-self-defense candidate, then the new California governor would have vetoed anti-gun legislation. 70 percent is a lot to ask. If only half of California gun owners voted for a pro-self-defense candidate, then the new California attorney general would have defended their rights in court. The vote from gun owners alone would have carried every statewide office. That didn’t happen.
Washington State passed a ballot measure that effectively requires a federal firearms investigation for every non-commercial transfer of a firearm. To give you some perspective, imagine if you had to re-register your car every time a different person sat behind the wheel. That means you couldn’t drive your girlfriend’s car. Washington’s law means you can’t touch your girlfriend’s firearm even if you both have concealed carry permits.
All Washington state gun owners had to do in the last election was show up and vote. Their vote alone would have stopped the initiative. They didn’t. Washington gun owners couldn’t be bothered. I could continue with example after example from state after state.
Let’s look at the national situation for a minute. Fewer than one in 10 gun owners bother to join the National Rifle Association and their local gun-rights groups. You read that correctly.. 9 out of 10 don’t bother! Now you see why firearms owners are loosing their legal rights in so many blue states. It hurts me to say this, but gun owners are getting the lack of respect they deserve. Gun owners were carried along by a conservative wave in this last election.. and gun groups claimed credit they didn’t deserve for electing conservative candidates.
Democracy has been called many things. Politics has been called a contact sport. Democracy shouldn’t be, but in too many cases democracy is treated as a spectator sport rather than a participatory team effort. Democracy, when it works at all, only works for those who show up and speak up.
The next election may be years away, but it is always time to join and lend your voice.