Constitutionally Speaking: Guns and Religion

Some of you may be like me, trapped in an On Demand, Hulu , Netflix cycle of must watch TV that requires a spreadsheet to track schedules, characters and plots; which allows me (and perhaps you) to avoid the news detailing what a mess this country is.

The news is typically so dispiriting that I have stopped watching, listening, reading much of it at all. Still, the news reaches into my cocoon. I’m going to stick to stories local to me but the hue and cry is heard throughout this great nation of ours.

This fall there was yet another mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in the southern Oregon town of Roseburg.

Constitutionally speaking, I’m going to look to the right and all the people screeching about their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. I’m looking at you “2nd Amendment Voters/Advocates”. Please read the text of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States before you tell me and the rest of the country about your right to own an automatic weapon.

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.

Do you see those first four words about the well regulated militia? Do you get what that means? It doesn’t mean that everyone for any reason can own a gun or an arsenal of automatic weaponry that would horrify the Founding Fathers of this country. I am not part of a well regulated militia thus I do not need to keep and bear arms. The Oregon National Guard can keep and bear arms.

I’m not for banning all guns. I think there should be a ban on assault weapons. Automatic assault weapons are made for hunting human beings, that’s not okay. I think we should enforce the myriad laws we have for background checks and that should apply to online sales, gun shows, pawn shops, retail stores, etc.

I also think that the people screaming about their 2nd Amendment rights, should SHUT. IT. Unless they are a member of a “well regulated militia” and I don’t mean regulated by your Uncle Wally and run out of his barn. If you are a member of a police force, US armed services, the National Guard — then please feel free to assert your Second Amendment Rights. If not, stand down.

bear arms
And this guy can also bear arms

Ohhh, look over there on the left…they are all snickering about the loser conservative gun rights people on the right. Hee Hee, Maggie sure told them!

Well, folks on the left, I’m now going to have a chat with you. It is holiday time, time to decorate the holiday trees and send the holiday cards and make sure that Portland Public School choirs don’t perform at The Grotto’s (The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother) Christmas Festival of Lights, the largest Christmas choral festival in the WORLD. As I said, I am keeping it local but there are examples around the country of…wait for it, the separation of Church and State! Right!? Separate those two before real trouble starts!

Inigo Montoya for the win!

Ahem, now that you folks have got your First Amendment knickers twisted, just a little reminder that the words “separation of Church and State” appear no where in the Constitution. The First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment leads with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” because our Founding Fathers came from Merry Old(e) England, where the government, then a monarchy, said to all of England, “your church is the Church of England.” Period. They added, “If you don’t like it, too bad, you cannot practice any other religion.” As I’m sure you all know as informed and interested American citizens, the Pilgrims left England so they could practice their particular religion without the King putting them in jail or gaol.

The phrase “separation of Church and State” comes from this letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury, CT Baptists in 1802. The phrase in no way means there is no room for religion in public life, it simply means the government will not dictate what religion its citizens practice and that said citizens are free to practice whatever religion they wish. Or practice no religion. Up to you, American citizen.

Again, as the 2nd Amendment folks need to get their facts straight so do you Separation of  Church and Staters, and again, SHUT. IT.

I am not saying that the discourse should end on topics so important to the well being of the United States of America. I am saying get your facts straight before righteously throwing around buzzwords like “the right to bear arms” and “separation of Church and State”.

“There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it.” — Dr. William James, widely recognized as the Father of American Psychology




11 thoughts on “Constitutionally Speaking: Guns and Religion

  1. Patty

    “there should be a ban on assault weapons. ”

    “Automatic assault weapons are made for hunting human beings, that’s not okay.”

    What you commentaters are calling assault weapons and want banned like the AR15 are just ordinary rifles that have the looks of a military like weapon. They are no different than any other rifle except they look meaner.

    And automatic rifles are only available to the military or if you happen too own one that was manufactured before the mid-80’s and then only if you pay alot of extra fees to the federal government.

    1. Patty,
      I wrote this on Saturday and actually meant to go back and delete that part but yesterday got away from me and then it posted this morning. That stuff should be covered in a different post. I need to get a firmer grip on what I think about gun laws and solutions to what ails us with all these shootings. This was about the ‘right to bear arms, 2nd amendment argument’. My brother completely disagrees with my take on it but that is the beauty o this sort of discourse.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

        1. Danni

          Patty, I was right with you up until the Christmas party shooting last week when I decided, enough is enough, I am gonna go buy me a handgun. I grew up with long guns (rifles and shotguns) behind every doorjamb and on every counter in the barn, the garage, the truck and the camper. Loaded, of course. Before you go thinkin’ we was hillfolk, let me also say that we had a very secure closet for the guns + ammo that was closed by slatted doors and your standard toggle latch. Now, growing up with guns all around you makes you think a certain way. For example, if you had seen 50 elk get shot and hung and dressed out in your garage, you do not have any questions about what a high-powered rifle does to mere muscle, bone and skin. So when your folks tell you not touch the gun unless you mean to kill something and eat it, you don’t. So I am pro-gun in that sense. There is a peeling NRA sticker on my parents back door that has been there since at least 1972. But back to my gun-buying trip to the outdoor super store nearest me…. I went expecting to see the kind of rifles that my dad and brother have. Wood barrels + all manner of sights and scopes… things I recognized. They were there. But also available to purchase for anyone not wearing their Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane wristband were guns that looking like Rambo props. I know intellectually that they are only hunting rifles ‘dressed’ to look scarier than they are, but outside of law enforcement-type situations, why are those sold and to whom? Add some high-tech laser scoping and some magazine-capacity and you got yourself a scary-ass weapon. I mean, deer and elk aren’t super impressed by humans, with or without that jacked-up long gun. That deer is just thinking, “Jesus, she must be a terrible shot”. So, since I am a grown woman, I do the thing you do as long as nature allows it, I called my dad and asked what all those other guns were for. And his answer was simple. “Those guns are for hunting people.” Mr. NRA himself. Mr. “50+ guns for every possible murderous activity” from walnut-stealing squirrel to cherry-picking crow, to bull elk across a canyon, to shooting water-filled milk jugs with happy faces on them with his granddaughters… was saying that, in fact, there was no real need or use for that kind of weaponry. I have to say, the reason I had to walk outside the store and sit down for a minute was that I felt weak-knee scared that any joker (almost) could walk in and buy that kind of stuff. Then something novel happened to this ol’ gal. I changed my mind. Of course, I wasn’t there for a rifle, bc I live in the city and a rifle isn’t too handy. They had an amazing selection of handguns, must have been 500-600 different kinds to choose from $300 to $3000. In the end, I just walked away.

  2. During the colonial period (lets use 1700-1770) all men were required by law to not only own a rifle but also serve in a militia. Afterwards things changed, and eventually Congress authorized a permanent standing army after the Revolution. But militias, gun clubs, etc survived and prospered.

    I hate to get into percentages etc because I understand what you are getting at, but the percentage of legal gun owners involved in violent crime is so small that it cannot really be tabulated. In fact, go deeper and the vast, vast majority of gun related crime is actually drug related, which many in many cases is gang related. At the end of the day, you are telling people “you can’t have a gun because people on dope are irresponsible, and people that sell dope are vicious murderers, and people that want dope and can’t get it often resort to crime to satisfy their craving.” Simplistic but very true. I can easily see why millions of law abiding citizens have a problem with “gun control”.

    1. Hi Bill,
      I couldn’t agree with you more. Again, my point is the people crowing about the 2nd Amendment. I still believe “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. I don’t know but can hazard a guess that not one member of the NRA has been a perpetrator of a mass shooting. Gun violence in this country has 3 categories according to the wise and powerful Maggie: gang violence, shootings by mentally ill people, and Islamic terrorism. I believe, but have no stats with me right now, that black on black shootings are responsible for the largest percentage of gun violence in the U.S.

      I also think we should bring back the draft or some form of required civil service, doesn’t have to be combat but our country needs to engage its citizens in being responsible for the well being of their United States.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Maggie

  3. I hate discourse on “assault rifles” and “automatic weapons” for one reason – it takes away from what we SHOULD be doing, which is running comprehensive, federal-level, background checks on EVERYONE purchasing ANY sort of gun. Any sort of gun can kill, and we can solve so many problems by increasing access to mental health programs, establishing a national background check database, and putting an end to gun shows, where guns are purchased for cash, without any sort of paper work at all.

    My husband, who is former military, an expert marksman, an avid hunter, and extremely pro-gun disagrees with banning assault rifles for points other commenters have already made (that they’re the same gun just designed to ‘look scarier’), but we both agree that background check processes have to be improved. Let’s fix WHO has access to deadly weapons before we start talking about banning certain deadly weapons because they look scarier.

    1. Hi Erin, Sorry I’ve taken so long to get back to you. I’m with you on all counts. I should have left that part out. I think our gun problems have to do with mental health, gang violence and terrorism. You don’t see a lot or even one mass shooter that is an NRA member.

      Happy Christmas! Your first one in Colorado?

      1. Happy Christmas to you too! Our first one in Colorado, except we’re not spending it here, haha. We’re flying home today to be with my family in Florida (so…a SLIGHT change of weather). My grandfather is getting up there in years, and I want to spend all the time I can with him while I have it.

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