Gun Lover, This Isn’t About the Constitution

Gun lover,

Can we just be honest, here?

This isn’t about the Constitution.

I know you say that it is, and admittedly you sure do name-drop it an awful lot in our interactions.

On the surface, you seem really passionate about the document—at least while you’re trying to somehow connect the dots between well-regulated Militias and muskets—and the present proliferation of high-powered, military grade weapons specifically designed to expediently kill lots of people.

That in itself would be an absurd correlation to try and make, which seems obvious to the rest of us:

As they drafted the 2nd Amendment, the Founding Fathers certainly would have never dreamed of tools of such quick carnage, so easily attainable by the mentally ill, the unstable, the young, and the angry.

They couldn’t have foreseen one of our political parties fully beholden to a fringe group of violent radicals like the NRA; contributing millions upon millions to our elected officials in exchange for legislative protections and bully pulpits.

The architects of our laws weren’t imaging the likes of Laura Ingraham, Wayne LaPierre, Ted Nugent, and Dana Loesch, perpetually harassing shooting survivors and dismissing grieving parents and vilifying the media and taunting gun reform activists on Town Hall stages, over social media platforms, and in incendiary videos.

There would have been no way for them to anticipate the culture of wanton weapon lust we’d have cultivated here; the gun shows and trade expos and merchandising—or a secondary market where any pissed-off person with enough cash can accumulate enough ammo to level a city block.

Invoking the 2nd Amendment in light of such things is a fairly nonsensical tactic, if you really think about it—and we have.

But even if we agreed on what the document says you’re allowed as far as firepower, I’ve noticed that you don’t really love the Constitution—at least not for everybody and not all the time:

You have little regard for freedom of the Press (at least for non-Fox News outlets). In that case, you’re normally fine with a President using his platform and office to discredit, malign, and make an enemy out of it. The Bill of Rights, in these moments is far less pressing for you.

As fond as you claim to be about the Second Amendment, your love for the First, doesn’t seem quite as unconditional or fervent. You tend not to want people to speak freely if they’re not white, anti-abortion, Christian Republicans. If they claim that Black Lives Matter or they’re LGBTQ-affirming or they acknowledge climate change or they favor sensible gun reform—the last thing you want is for them is the freedom to say so.

From what I’ve seen, you also really aren’t that big on religious freedom either (Conservative Evangelical Christianity excluded). I don’t see you rushing to the defense of Muslims being persecuted and marginalized here as a result of the open hostility created by this President. In fact, you usually applaud it.

And I can’t help noticing that you’re decidedly against the Constitutional rights of people to protest, if they’re black or professional athletes or teenage shooting survivors or women with pink hats. No, in those cases you’re pretty quick to shut that sh*t down—Constitution and inalienable rights be damned!

You’re dead set against illegal searches, and of people’s rights not to be harassed in their homes and at their workplaces and in their cars—unless of course they fit the profile of the kind of people you’re okay enduring such things. (You know the ones I mean.)

In other words, you have a lot to say about the sanctity of the rule of law—unless the people you voted for disregard it for whatever reason. (And they do quite often these days.)

In the end, all your flag-waving fervor and your constant Constitution name-dropping and your America First rhetoric—that’s not what this is about at all.

This is about you and your guns.
It’s about how much you love them; about how big and strong they make you feel.
It’s about the cowboy fantasies you have in your head and the mythology you’ve created about “good guys with guns”—and you think you’re the good guy.

It’s about your idolatry of the weapons themselves; about you not being willing to suppress your passion or reconsider the status quo or bend an inch—even to save the lives of millions of other Americans also trying to cash in on that Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness stuff you want for your self.

If that wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t be so strident in opposing sensible gun reform, you wouldn’t be ignoring the NRA’s influence on our political system, and you’d be a lot more zealous regarding the rights of people now living in a country awash with weapons.

If you were all-in on an America where the freedoms and opportunities our forebears had in mind, were indeed fully available to all who come and reside here, we’d be able to have a productive conversation about what the 2nd Amendment should mean at this place and time. (And it doesn’t include AR-15s.)

We could find a place of compromise that would make everyone here safer.

But I don’t think that America is the one you claim to love and value and defend—or have that much interest in.

I don’t believe that sprawling, diversity-protecting, equality-defending Constitution is all that vital to you.

I think you just really love your guns, far more than any of the human collateral damage crested by them.

Just a shot in the dark.



46 thoughts on “Gun Lover, This Isn’t About the Constitution

  1. Thank you for a well written piece. The message has to be repeated over and over to bring about change. The NRA is hysterical at the moment – losing supporters, sponsors, $$, unchallenged power over government.

    I also think a lot of the love of guns in the South has historical racial roots – fear of slave uprising that has now manifested itself as a black uprising. I’ve often thought this but have never really seen anyone address it in the media.

  2. While I agee with much of your blog, it seems that you have thrown every member of the NEA under the bus.
    I hope there are many members of the NRA that are not far- right radicals.
    The two you named are very offensive, but maybe there are some with more open minds. I certainly hope so.

  3. Bravo John! Truly well stated. I admire the way you help me and, hopefully, some of the gun lovers to consider another angle to look at this tragic mess regarding firearms in the U.S.

  4. Of course when our country was founded these writing the Constitution and using the term “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” never imagined abortions and those whose who saying that it is not person. They also didn’t imagine that there would be a group of professional politicians who have been in office for 40 or more years. They didn’t imagine that the federal government would keep increasing their power were it was specifically stated in the Constitution that those not mentioned would be under the power of the states, ie Education. They also,didn’t imagine that states would not follow the federal laws and totally disregard the Constitution ie California and illegal immigrants. I can’t imagine that they thought that people would come to the US to have their children so that they would be US citizens, ie pregnancy tours for the rich Chinese.

  5. Have been waiting for this courageous assessment. Thank you, John. There is definitely a gun fetish in this country, as stated by Eugene Robinson in another brave commentary.
    Growing up in a rural area where there were guns in our father’s home, then as a health care professional (RN/Family NP), happily living without them for 40+ years in small city/small town environments, it is so plain to me that there is an addiction to guns in our nation. If we only had resources allocated to study this, it would be obvious to all of us, just as the opioid crisis is an undeniable fact. It’s so unfortunate that we are blind to these issues until it becomes too late.

  6. A blind shot in the dark. One that vilifies everyone that doesn’t agree with you. You haven’t tried to understand the issues, and more importantly the people you speak against. Instead, you make generalizations and take every fringe thought and paint everyone with broad strokes . Next time you should really take the time to put some original thoughts together for your blog, instead of taking your talking points directly from MSNBC.

  7. Anti-gunners, this isn’t about making schools safer. If it were, you would have a broader agenda than just trying to ban AR15s. You would actually want to discuss all ways to improve safety rather than just target rifles. Think about how we approach drunk driving. Do we target alcohol or cars when trying to reduce deaths. No, we focus our efforts on the person drinking. How about we focus our efforts on the killer when it comes to school shootings. Why pick on AR15s? Handguns have been used in many more mass shootings than rifles have been used so why not be upset with those. Most handguns are semi-automatic just like an AR15. Actually when it comes to murder by rifle, rifle killings are actually below hammer and clubs. No, when it comes to school shootings, anti-gunners don’t really care about the kids. The anti-gunners just want to ban guns and they are starting with the AR15s just because they look “scary”. When I see the anti-gunners willing to discuss the entire set of options to improve student safety without getting hung up on the choice of weapon, then I’ll take you seriously

    • So Bubba. Are you stocking up on firearms and ammunition so you can start shooting your liberal neighbors when the great cultural and social collapse comes—like all these ignorant, fat-bellied sacks of BS here in Tennessee. I bet you suck on FOX News, Budweiser, and Conservative Talk Radio just like you did on your ma’s nips. You probably need to read my article on this matter:

  8. And some of them are quote fast and loose with the right to vote – they don’t seem to be bothered much about rules and regulations restricting access to that constitutional right.

  9. Pingback: Gun Lover, This Isn’t About the Constitution — John Pavlovitz: Stuff That Needs To Be Said | Impromptu Promptlings

  10. I agree wholeheartedly, I have tried to have decent discussions with gun rights advocates, trying to present some ideas that would still let them have their guns, I’m not for a total ban on all gubs, but they are having none of it. It’s a pattern that as I as questions, or counter their argument, they start calling me clueless, anti-american, stupid, and a lot of other derogatory names that I will not repeat here. I am never disrespectful, I never use political terms to describe a person I do not know. It makes me sad that this is what our country has become, this is the behavior that our leaders in government have learned to tolerate and condone because we have a president who,on a daily basis, takes to social media and degrade anyone who opposes him. The hate speeches given by the NRA leaders at CPAC should have been addressed, and labeled as hate-speech against citizens who are exercising their First Amendment Rights. Read the transcript if you can stomach it, and think about how this organization has the ear of the president and what that means to America.
    Thank you for saying the things that need to be said, but I fear that the people who need to hear it won’t.

Comments are closed.