Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weighing in on gun control

When President Obama announced that he was going to sign 23 executive orders about gun control in response to the Newtown shootings, the immediate reaction from many conservative groups was very negative.

While few, if any, of his executive orders do anything to severely limit the rights of responsible gun holders and hunters, fear still abounds.

These executive orders fall into three categories: allowing for more efficient background checks on gun purchases, increasing awareness and prevention of mental illnesses, and promoting and developing gun safety policies.

The basic focus of these executive orders was to prevent criminals from getting access to guns, to help deal with mentally ill people who could possibly become the next mass murderers as well as to promote the safe use of firearms.

While Democrats saw very little in the orders worthy of controversy, many pro-gun activists have been vocal with their displeasure.

One of the executive orders that did draw some criticism was the one that stated that it is acceptable for doctors to ask their patients about whether they own guns.

“The growing political agenda being carried out in examination rooms by doctors and medical staffs, and the arrogant berating if a patient refuses to answer questions that violate privacy rights and offend common decency, (need to be addressed),” former National Rifle Association President Marion Hammer said in a letter to The Tallahassee Democrat.

If the goal of gun rights activists is to support the rights found in the Constitution, they have to recognize that the Bill of Rights covers a lot more equally important rights, not just guns, such as the freedom of speech found in the First Amendment.

Doctors are not required to ask. They are simply allowed to inquire if they feel that there is a need to do so.

“That is part and parcel of any suicide risk assessment. That’s standard psychiatric practice and negligent if you don’t do it,” Howard Zonana, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University, told Fox News.

It is important to protect our constitutional freedoms, but saying that people cannot talk about the role a gun plays in a person’s life is bordering on the ridiculous.

While there may be legitimate reasons to oppose other gun related-legislation that is currently being considered, the executive orders signed by President Obama do not pose any threat to the gun rights.

Conservatives need to stop overreacting to these non-threats to the Second Amendment. Yes, the right to own guns is something that should be protected, but only when it is actually under attack.

Creating these false enemies when none exist only ends up perpetuating fear and anger toward opponents. Instead, we should be looking at reasonable ways to reduce violence while protecting the Second Amendment.

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