I Exercise My Right NOT to Bear Arms

This blog is a response to Donald Trump’s position statement for second amendment rights.

Broken gun grayThe Second Amendment to the US Constitution is clear: the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon.

The US is the only country in the world to have a constitutional amendment meant to protect the right to bear arms. However, in the twenty-first century, with advances in technology and science, guns have more capability to harm and destroy lives than ever in the history of the world.

If the second amendment is America’s first right, I exercise my right NOT to bear arms.

I exercise my right NOT to bear arms because I refuse to lose someone else I love to gun violence. The numbers are clear: people with guns have more violent accidents. Without a gun in my house, there is no chance my sons will find it and play with it or it will discharge on accident or that I will accidentally harm a member of my family. This also eliminates the possibility anyone in my house will choose use the gun to harm themselves or others. I refuse to own a gun because there is no way a gun or the false sense of security it provides is worth that risk to me.

It may be true that a gun, the moment it is introduced into a situation, brings power and authority. You could argue a gun brings security. And there was a time in my life when I thought about getting a gun to protect what was most important to me. What I discovered, however, was that the there were deeper assumptions in that mindset of scarcity I was not willing to make. With a gun I may bring power and authority into a situation, but I am operating from a place of fear and insecurity. I exercise my right NOT to get a gun and live my life from a state of abundance, not fear.

I refuse to be seduced by the corporate media and gun industry, portraying guns as sleek, shiny engineers of authority in your life. The media, the gun industry, the NRA, and too many politicians today subscribe to this old story. In a flash, guns take and destroy lives, and you never see the aftermath of gun violence in the media. You never see people cleaning up the blood, the brains, the soft tissue. You never see the suffering still felt by victims of gun violence 10 or 20 years after the event. I know that a gun will never solve my problems. Through my personal power, I exercise my right NOT to bear arms and forge a new path free from the lure of gun culture. I choose to use my hands, mind, and heart to create, and like Cesar Lopez turning guns into guitars, shatter the assumptions of the dominant culture and put a new story of peace, nonviolence and abundance in its place.

It is abundantly clear that politicians and the government cannot protect us from people with guns. Even after all the shootings and mass murders, the money, the politics, the police state are too strong to make a change. But if an entire generation of Americans simply refused their right to bear arms, the laws would have to catch up. After all, how could there be a gun lobby if there were no one to buy guns? If we put the value of a human life over the value of our right to bear arms, we would see an end to the violence. As enlightened American citizens of the world in the twenty-first century, we need to create a new global culture, one that recognizes people of all races, all ethnicities, all genders, and all religions and their right to help solve the problems we fight today.

I exercise my right NOT to bear arms because I don’t feel threatened by those who are different from me. I know that, in our hearts, we are all the same: so full of love for the people in our lives and so tired of losing those people to violence and so ready for a change to end the madness that took them from us.