President Obama’s speech yesterday at the memorial service honoring five police officers who were killed while they were protecting a protest in the city for the most part was a reminder to the nation of the hard and necessary work that law enforcement do to maintain a country that is safe for democracy and a call for dialogue and respect among the many groups that make up America. But inevitably for someone who has expressed his frustration over accomplishing so little with regard to gun control during his two terms, Obama had to work in a reference to firearms on our streets. In his words, “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”
Glock. Not just any gun, but the particular brand that has saturated popular culture. At least Obama didn’t say that Glock 7s are easy to obtain. However, considering the ubiquity of Glocks, I’ll pass over the product placement in the president’s eulogy and move on to more substantive matters.
Glocks generally run between $500 and $600 where I live, depending on which generation and accessories. A used one can come in for a bit less. In Arkansas, my resident’s carry license is counted as a background check, but that’s an extra fee for those who aren’t licensed. The sales tax here is 6.5%, so that gets added on top. The bottom line is that the gun, fees, and ammunition can be bought for six bills if you shop around.
What about computers? Here there is a much wider spread of prices, depending on the bells and whistles. Public libraries offer PCs and Internet access for free, and if you use the Lebanon, NH branch, you even get the privacy protections afforded by the TOR browser. Computers are also in more and more classrooms. If you want one of your own and don’t have a lot of money, programs like Project Reboot provide refurbished machines for well under a hundred dollars. Getting one from that outfit does require an ID and referral, while your local big box store will only be interested in your money.
Once you’ve got that infernal silicon monster and get on the Interwebs, books are easy to find. My partner gave me her wry grin and asked if I was going to get a book a day recently, since Amazon offers used books that cost less than the postage and handling to deliver them, and many more are available as free e-books from site after site. Used bookstores are increasingly the only physical retail locations, but that means more cheap books on the market, especially when I’m looking for something that is out of print or not a current best seller.
All of this is to say that Obama’s claim here is the typical hyperbole of the gun control advocate. His closing remarks, though, make me wonder if words have any meaning to him:
America does not ask us to be perfect. Precisely because of our individual imperfections, our founders gave us institutions to guard against tyranny and ensure no one is above the law; a democracy that gives us the space to work through our differences and debate them peacefully, to make things better, even if it doesn’t always happen as fast as we’d like. America gives us the capacity to change.
Obama’s attacks on gun rights and gun owners make it clear that he doesn’t regard the private possession of firearms as one of the guards against tyranny that the framers of our Constitution had in mind. We are blessed in the fact that they had the wisdom to create a system of government that could survive politicians who wish to trample on our rights, a system that has guaranteed a final measure of defense if peaceful debate and participation in democracy fail.
It’s up to us to take Obama at his literal word here and insist that yes, our system does guard against tyranny and that one of those protections is guns in the hands of millions of our fellow citizens.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.