Whether it’s a political campaign or the tragedy of gun violence, the 2nd Amendment is a regular topic. In his latest podcast, Ray Zinn and guest host Rob Artigo, look at the realities of compromise to promote safety and protect the right to bear arms.
Rob Artigo: I’m Rob Artigo, your guest host for another Tough Things First podcast. I am a journalist, a writer as well as an entrepreneur here in California, with Ray Zinn. Hi Ray.
Ray Zinn: Hello Rob. Oh, it’s great to be with you again.
Rob Artigo: We’re going to have a good topic here. It’s one that it seems to come up in just about any political debate, any kind of election, and, of course, this Supreme Court nominee recently, Brett Kavanaugh. I want to talk a little bit about the Second Amendment. Here’s a tweet from Chris Murphy, and I’m not entirely sure where Chris is from so forgive me on this, but this is the quote, “On assault weapons, Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh’s position is way out of the judicial mainstream, far to the right of even late Justice Scalia.”
Now, I bring this up because when it comes to the Second Amendment, it’s a perpetual subject whether it’s the Supreme Court or political debate, but it comes up all the time. This is an example of the Supreme Court question and the assault weapons, but let’s talk a little bit about the Second Amendment. In modern political debate, we have the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms. Now, it’s been framed several different ways depending on which side of the aisle you’re looking at here, and there’s been a huge debate lately about what should be considered a legal firearm. Obviously, that’s a question of assault weapons in a Supreme Court. When it comes to the Second Amendment, are we getting it right in the public debate?
Ray Zinn: This whole issue of the Second Amendment is not necessarily down party lines. I guess it appears to be that way, but certainly it’s not because there are certainly people who are on the other side of the aisle who love hunting and shooting. Senator Jon Tester from Montana is a very big proponent of hunting and owning arms. He’s considered a fairly middle of the road Democrat as you would. So I’m not sure that it’s strictly down party lines even though it appears to be that way.
What I think it is, is it’s just a debate. I mean we’ve had a lot of these school shootings and the horrible thing that happened in Las Vegas. So all the people who are anti-gun, and rather call them Republican or Democrat, we’ll just call them anti-gun people, those are the ones that are ranting and raving to do something. Back in the time when the Second Amendment was written, firearms were muzzle loaders. They … black powder and a fast guy could load maybe in a minute or a little less than a minute. Today, with the firearms that we have available to us, you could pre-load a clip up to 30 rounds and just in like half a second you can snap a new clip on. I think there’s the big difference between back in the day and now. Although bearing arms has nothing to do with whether it takes you less than a minute or it takes you less than a second.
I think it’s an attitude thing. There are people who just don’t like guns. I don’t care if it’s a semiautomatic weapon or if it’s a muzzle loader, they just don’t like them. I had a friend who once she found out that I liked to shoot and hunt, she wouldn’t even shake my hand. She says, “I’m not going to shake the hand of a person who’s even touched a gun.” So there are people who are extremists.
Now, I think there can be some comprise. I know that I may be touching on some nerves on this one, but we need to comprise in this country. If we’re going to get along, we have to agree on some defensible things. Owning a gun in my mind, this is my opinion, is good, and I feel more comfortable owning a firearm. I keep my guns locked up and out of the hands of children, but I certainly believe in not necessarily walking around the city with one but certainly owning one. Now, should we limit the number of rounds that a gun can dispense? Yes, there should be some comprise on how many rounds you can dispense. There’s certainly no need of having a clip that holds 30 rounds just to go hunting. I mean you’re a pretty lousy shot if you need to have a clip of 30 rounds to go hunting with.
If you need to have a multiple-clip weapon, then that ought to be something that’s separately certified, like silencers have to be separately certified. If you say, “Okay, I have a need to carry a huge clip of ammunition,” then fine, you go apply for it. You pay the price to get certified for it and then away you go. Should the general public have firearms capable of shooting thousands of rounds in a few minutes? I think we don’t need that. I don’t think there’s any reasons for it. Certainly you don’t need to protect yourself. Your house will be full of bullet holes if you were to unload on an intruder your entire clip. As far as I’m concerned, there can be some comprise on that. Eliminating guns all together, I think that’s a fruitless effort. I don’t think that’s going to fly. But certainly limiting how many rounds you can fire at a time, I think we can do that.
Rob Artigo: There is an argument out there on one side that says any infringement is a violation of the Second Amendment. Then they hold steady and hard on that line. Like you said, they’re not available to … They don’t want to compromise. They get to that position and go, “No, if it’s an infringement on the Second Amendment, it’s no good,” because they make the slippery slope argument.
Ray Zinn: No, we’re comprising on a lot of things. For example, the eight-pound trigger. See, a child can’t pull more than five pounds, and so they went to an eight-pound trigger for retail type guns so the child can’t pull that trigger. So they’ve made some comprises already. Silencers is another highly regulated piece of the ammunition or the gun laws. Automatic weapons is another one. They’ve outlawed the .50 BMG in California. They have done this already. This is not a matter of a slippery slope. What I’m saying is that the big argument today regarding the Second Amendment has been over these guns that dispense thousands of rounds in a very short period of time. If that shooter in Las Vegas had been a limited to a clip that held only maybe five or 10 rounds, then we would have lost 10 people not 50. That’s my point.
Rob Artigo: He had lots of guns too. It wasn’t just that he had one. He had multiple semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines.
Ray Zinn: Okay.
Rob Artigo: In his case it was he got that stuff legally, apparently, from what I understand. What you’re saying is when it comes to compromise is you need to look at some of those things because some of the access that he had, some of the weapons that he got, some of the magazine capacity that he had access to should be on the table in terms of what can be regulated and maintain, still, a healthy Second Amendment protection for Americans.
Ray Zinn: Right. We do it now. All I’m saying is that we keep having, as you say, a slippery slope, and if you give up one thing, you’re giving another. But there are some defensible positions that can be taken to limit the magazine capacity of weapons. We do it now. It’s just that on some of those guns in some states they’re allowing unlimited capacity, and there’s just no need of having a gun that can shoot unlimited number of rounds.
Rob Artigo: Not to get into adding a whole new debate on the question of whether hunting should be something that’s morally acceptable in society, because I believe it should, I know hunters, but one of the aspects of the Second Amendment debate that has come up is that people find it appalling. I’ve heard this … I’ve seen people complain about somebody who takes the picture with the deer, the buck that he shot or something, and then people go, “Oh, this is just disgusting. You killed an animal with a gun and it celebrates guns.” It becomes a difficult subject to discuss because they don’t even understand what’s going on with a healthy hunting community and the importance of having that. Then they get upset, and you can’t even have pictures of the animals that you take from the wild.
Ray Zinn: Hunting is not just with a firearm. You can hunt with a spear. You can hunt with a bow. They have these crossbows that people can use. So it’s not just firearms. You can hunt with any kind of weapon. You can hunt with traps. I mean people set traps out to capture animals. It’s not just a firearm thing. This discussion today is on Second Amendment, which is a firearm, and not with regard to traps or bows and arrows and spears and whatever. So the hunting issue is, I think, a separate discussion. You’re not going to get everybody to believe … These vegan people who just eat vegetarian, they’re the ones who are opposed to eating meat. Whether it’s an animal you buy at Costco or whether you go out and shoot it, they think that’s disgusting eating meat.
Rob Artigo: Right, so you’re going to face criticism anyway. What they do is tend to try to conflate the firearms issue with-
Ray Zinn: Exactly.
Rob Artigo: Like you said, there’s all kinds of way that you can be hunting and legally. You can find out more from Ray Zinn at toughthingsfirst.com. Tough Things First is also on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter. Ray pretty much tweets every day, so you can get something new and the book, “Tough Things First,” is available on Amazon as well as the new book, “Zen of Zinn.” Thanks again, Ray.
Ray Zinn: Thank you, Rob.