Who knew a liberal would be able to say she was happy with the way a Patriot Act Extension vote had gone down? Color me surprised, ladies and gents, but Congress just did one thing right. They told Rand Paul that gun owners have to answer to the government too.
The Kentucky Republican has been running around trying to garner votes for an amendment that would restrict national security officials from looking to gun dealer records as they track down terrorist leads. To which I have to say: is this man c-raaaaazy?
Let's break this down. Gun purchases in America are subject to legal controls. The buyer has to meet certain criteria under the law; so does the dealer. This is for the safety of everyone involved -- the public, but the buyer and seller too. But it also means this stuff is traceable right now. We don't need the Patriot Act to make it so.
So why should the Patriot Act exclude gun owners? Paul claims that allowing the government to take a look at gun owners as they run down people threatening American security would trample the rights of innocent Americans to be "innocent until proven guilty." The liberal side of me wants to say that's really the whole point of the Patriot Act. But the realistic side of me points out that there are things in America that are privileges as much as they are rights, gun ownership among them.
Privileges, we've found, come with stipulations. Age limits. Requirements that you straighten up and fly right, lest a judge wrest that constitutional right to carry from your little hands. The knowledge that your gun purchase will be recorded in CASE the cops need to track it down in case, perhaps, you're engaging in terrorist activities?
Because, once again, it's the realist in me that knows that not every gun purchased is used in a crime. Although I'm not crazy about the weapons and don't own one myself, I happen to live in the boonies where people shoot things ... and then eat them. I believe in gun control, not outlawing guns.
But it's living here, in the boonies, among all these gun owners, that's given me a look at how "real" gun owners operate. They're responsible people who are incredibly frustrated by the way their counterparts abuse their weapons; they're people who would cry out for MORE gun control because they know they're not at risk of losing the rifle they use to shoot their dinner, but because it would rid the world of the truly risky guns, the ones left on living room tables for kids to pick up and shoot themselves, the ones sold by irresponsible dealers to terrorists. If anyone is treating gun owners like they have something to hide, it's Rand Paul.
Are you celebrating Congress' decision to include gun owners under the purview of the Patriot Act Extension?
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