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Personal political profile regarding positions on gun control

By Jim Killebrew

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[February 21, 2014]  In the second article regarding our personal political profile, I discussed the issue of energy (article). In summary, the liberal position is that global warming or climate change is essentially man-made and requires mankind to do something to head off the detrimental effects. Their position states that the reserves of fossil fuels are dwindling around the world and will eventually end, leaving the citizens of the world without sufficient means to live. The oceans will rise, millions will be destroyed, and chaos will follow. The liberal camp believes fossil fuels should not be used, but instead alternative sources of energy should be developed. Those alternatives are solar and wind power: resources that should be developed by using taxpayer money for research and development. In short, the liberal position is to bring the development and dispersion of energy under the control of the government and away from private enterprise.

In contrast, the conservative perspective is that fossil fuels are in abundant supply and available to the United States to keep America self-sufficient for several generations in the future. The conservative camp believes other countries are holding the United States hostage by keeping prices of oil artificially high. Additionally, the conservative groups believe the U.S. supports terrorists in the oil-rich countries who are trying to do harm to Americans. The conservative groups are calling for more drilling on public lands and offshore to stop the dependency on foreign oil. Alternatives to fossil fuels are found in nuclear energy, according to the conservative group. Finally, the conservative groups want to continue to develop the wind and solar sources of energy, but under the free market system with private ownership, where research and development can be completed with scientists in industry rather than government.

Therefore, regarding the issue of energy, as a voter, one must decide if they are standing with the liberal side of the issue or the conservative side of the issue. Generally, if agreement from the voter is with the liberal perspective, the voter will vote for the Democrat. If the agreement from the voter is with the conservative perspective, the voter will vote for the Republican.

This article will address another issue to add to the individual's "personal political profile." The issue addressed in this article is gun control. America has operated under the Constitution of the United States since the completion of the Revolutionary War in the late 1700s.

In the United States Constitution, the Second Amendment, which was ratified effective Dec. 15, 1791, gives citizens the right to own and bear arms. The amendment reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Through the years there have been arguments regarding private ownership and use of guns in the country. Throughout her history, American citizens have generally not had their right of bearing arms restricted except in some local areas where local law enforcement officials have required guns be restricted from various places like saloons. Americans have generally always owned guns, as evidenced by the many gun clubs, antique gun clubs, shooting ranges, national organizations supporting gun ownership and for the most part, the federal government supporting the Constitution by not hampering citizen ownership of personal guns.

Over the years, however, there has been a movement to restrict the right of citizens to own firearms. The most strident opposition argument is the interpretation of the Constitution that guns are restricted to the militia, which is controlled by the government. The issue of gun ownership has evolved into an issue that is now part of the political election cycles, with candidates taking one side or the other as part of their political platform. It is not surprising that the liberal and conservative points of view are in opposition with each other.

Gun control

Liberal perspective

The liberal camp believes the Second Amendment does not give U.S. citizens the right to keep and bear arms. The broad interpretation from that group is that the state or national government is the responsible party to form and regulate the "Militia" or the military of the United States and the National Guards for the respective states. The liberal groups believe it is not the responsibility of individuals to protect themselves with firepower; rather it is the responsibility of the state and local law enforcement officials. Federal officers in all the law enforcement agencies are authorized to carry and use guns for the protection of others against those who are breaking the laws of the land. The military is under the command of the civilian commander-in-chief administering orders through the ranks of the commanders of the various military branches.

The liberal groups believe there is a need for laws and regulations that control the ownership and use of guns in the citizen ranks. It is unnecessary for them to have any reason to form a militia, since the federal government and state government have command of that arm of security and protection.

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Gun violence is often pointed to as a reason for citizens not having guns in their possession. The liberal position is that guns kill people, and the elimination or control of guns will result in fewer killings. The belief is that violence results in violence and if a citizen owns a gun, the likelihood of escalating violence is increased when a gun is present.

Further, the liberal point of view is to regulate ownership with laws and regulations that place heavy restrictions on anyone, including those with criminal intent, from obtaining guns. The liberal believes that large government agencies should have the power to regulate, and even confiscate, guns when anti-ownership laws are passed by legislators and Congress.

Conservative perspective

The conservative position is that the Second Amendment does give the individual citizen the right to own and bear arms. The interpretation of the U.S. Constitution according to that position is that "Militia" does not mean only an organized military controlled by the federal or state government. It means individuals have the right to protect themselves and defend themselves against those who would do them harm.

The conservative groups generally support the establishment and enrollment of organizations that support the ownership and use of guns. They take the stand that there are too many gun-controlling laws and regulations for the law-abiding citizen. They believe there are too many people who are motivated to break the law using guns when they know beforehand the citizen is unarmed. They generally reject the interpretation that they can be totally protected from harm by the local and state law enforcement agencies. They believe time is of the essence regarding the actual act of home intrusion or violent acts perpetrated upon their person. They believe their protection depends upon their ability to defend themselves during the travel time it takes law enforcement personnel to arrive at the scene.

The conservative group also believes America's forefathers envisioned a reoccurrence of a despotic government such as they experienced with the king of England, perhaps being an issue sometime in the future of the new nation they were founding. The conservative group believes there might someday be oppressors, not just "foreign" but "domestic" as well. At such a time when the Constitution is being destroyed by those who want to take dictatorial control, a "freedom-fighting" militia might be a regional protection from those in a repressive government trying to destroy freedom.

The conservative group believes there are too many gun control laws and regulations that harm the law-abiding citizen but embolden the criminal. They believe those additional laws have failed to repress or prevent crime with guns, but the current laws on the books should be enforced. They believe that criminals should not be given special deals in courts with reduced sentences when it is known for certain they have been found guilty of criminal gun violence. The conservative group believes that the law-abiding citizen armed with a gun s/he knows how to use properly is a deterrent to criminal gun violence.

Therefore, regarding the issue of gun control, as a voter, one must decide if they are standing with the liberal side of the issue or the conservative side of the issue. Generally, if agreement from the voter is with the liberal perspective, the voter will vote for the Democrat. If the agreement from the voter is with the conservative perspective, the voter will vote for the Republican.

So, as with the issue of energy, this issue of gun control adds to the voter's personal political profile and will help guide the voter through the election. Each candidate will be examined regarding their standing, not just on their political party affiliation, but how they stand on the issues of abortion, energy and gun control. The candidate who matches the voter's personal perspective will win the vote from that person. Again, this is very important not just in the general election, but in the primaries as well. During the primary cycle there is usually an array of candidates from the same party, but with differing viewpoints regarding how they will approach solutions for any given issue. So look for discussions regarding more issues in the next articles.


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