It always amazes me that responsible gun owners are not the first to rush out and call for stricter controls on gun access and storage when there’s a tragedy involving shooting.
Mostly responsible gun owners have already spent a fortune on their weapons and the various hardware necessary to store them. They have spent years studying, researching and practicing the fine and careful art of handling their guns. They respect them as finely crafted but deadly tools. They value highly their right to own such weapons. However, all too often when another person flagrantly misuses guns, gun owners feel compelled to defend that person’s right to have all the guns they could ever dream of, to their dying breath. Not me, friends.
We all have heard the old tired arguments, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” ”It’s our right as Americans to have guns, defended by the Constitution!”, and my personal favorite “Guns keep America free!”
Baloney, all of it, baloney.
Guns are deadly weapons and yet we don’t even apply the same restrictions we do to pseudophed in order to buy them.
Yes, people kill people, and with a gun they can kill many more and much more easily. A disgruntled employee can kill everyone in the company, or in a home or classroom if using a gun. You might outrun someone with a knife, but you can’t outrun a bullet.
Of course the “Right to bear arms” is clearly stated in the bill of rights, but it’s not very specific, is it? What I mean is “Arms” are not even necessarily “guns,” are they? In fact the second amendment is so non-specific that “as part of a well ordered militia” somehow came to mean we can “bear arms” even if we'd never even dream of joining a militia. That non-specificity also means the federal government can easily pass an assault weapons ban, as they have before. One that’s even more stringent and limiting than the previous model. I hope they do, rapid fire, high capacity weapons have no business in private hands, except possibly in a museum.
As for guns keeping America free, this is the worst of all. Guns just make this country more dangerous. It’s easy to forget that it really was words and ideas along with brave voices to convey them that made America free. Guns are just weapons and if they don’t kill people they don’t keep this country free either.
Being deadly weapons they do not belong in the wrong hands and there will never be a platitude that will convince me otherwise. Owning guns doesn’t make me free, or anyone else either. We might think that owning guns is a right, but it’s much more of a responsibility. A responsibility that belongs to the owner and extends to his entire community. Every owner is deeply responsible for how all guns are used, not just their own. For me, owning guns is a privilege for the sane, sober and responsible, period, end of story.
How many loaded shot guns are kept in closets for “Home defense?” How many gun owners keep a pistol by, or in their nightstand? Brother’s and sisters here’s my advice on that: If you live in a place where you need a loaded gun around to protect your family, move. You cannot defend your home with a gun without putting everyone living there at risk. In addition, many of us forget that bullets go right through walls and are very likely to strike a neighbor’s house. Is that going to be forgivable when you’ve bravely put everyone in the neighborhood at risk? The responsible thing, the adult thing would be to flee or fort up, not fight to the death over your big screen TV.
There is a great American mythos around guns, a great many of our heroes used or use guns in “righteous” causes. I was trying to think of any heroes that I had when I was growing up that didn’t carry guns. I was only able to come up with three: Batman, Spiderman and Sherlock Holmes (he always had Watson carry his pistol though).
It started when I was thinking about what Bob Costas had said about our “Gun Culture.” It’s really a culture of violence when we get right down to it. No wonder over and over severely mentally ill people turn to guns to take out their frustrations. We are completely immersed in a culture of violence, from our earliest conscious moments. How many movies would be available on TV if we banned the depiction of shootings or violence altogether? How many TV shows? The video game industry would certainly be decimated. I don’t expect any of that to happen but every wrongful shooting increases our responsibility as gun owners to not only control who is able to freely own guns but how they are stored and used as well. The odds are stacked against us, but if we want to continue to own these weapons we must take responsibility.
Frankly, we are in the minority here. Yes, America has more privately owned guns than any other country in the world, and gun sales are at an all-time high right now. But less that 45% of Americans own guns, the rest seem to enjoy their lives and the same freedoms without them. That other 55% votes by the way, think about that. I’m not sure your or my ability to strap on a “hog leg” and stride boldly down the street makes them feel any freer or safer at all. I don’t know about anyone else but I always feel a little less free whenever the latest shooting rampage is reported, a little more suspect as a gun owner.
Certainly Mrs. Lanza’s right to bear arms didn’t help mine at all. I’d like to change that, wouldn’t you?