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Represented by Fear

Who's really afraid in the battle over gun rights? The gun owners.

It’s hard not to have seen the Piers Morgan interview with Alex Jones in the past two weeks.  Click to be totally embarrassed no matter where you stand on the issue of gun control.  It was part clash of statistical errors and part tirade-a-thon.  Whereas the statistics that Mr. Morgan managed to quote were inaccurate (at least according to the FBI and the British Home office), he only got out one or two because of the wild and loony, dare I say “antics”  of Mr. Jones.  In actual fact they both got what they wanted, screen time and publicity.  Unfortunately Gun owners and gun control activists both suffered in this blinding flash of stupidity. 

Gun owners were somehow inadvertently represented by Mr. Jones.  Framed by his ravings and now forced to live down the rantings of some unknown publicity-seeking shock jock.  Gun control supporters got a further darkening of their general view of gun owners and some lousy statistical evidence so they can be proved wrong when they try to argue their position.

Just to make it clear this gun owner is not represented by Alex Jones.  I don't believe his incoherent ravings of “New world Order” and “The government” coming to get all our guns represents the feelings and beliefs of any but a tiny fraction of a percentage of gun owners.  Sensible gun owners haven’t any reason to believe anyone is after “their guns.”  Not a single piece of legislation, not a single Congressman or Senator, nor even the President has made any kind of statement that would indicate that even a single gun would ever be seized.  Not one. 

However, this is what happens when sensible gun owners don’t take responsibility for entering the debate.  We get every nut and “fruit loop” pretending to speak for us.  If we don’t drown out the nut cases we will end up with more laws that seem politically expedient but do very little good.  If you’re surprised that gun owners are concerned with gun control, you shouldn’t be.  For the most part gun owners are deeply respectful of these deadly tools and want desperately to keep them out of the hands of minors, criminals and anyone who for any reason can not be totally responsible with them.  I would count Alex Jones in that last category.  In fact if he actually believes any of his rantings, I believe any guns he may own should be seized pending a thorough mental evaluation.

More than anything else Mr. Jones sounded frightened, as do some of the loudest “Guns rights” advocates.  When Rochester county’s Journal News published an interactive map of gun permit holders recently, any objective reading of the comments on the article and map would say they were also filled with fear.  Even though the information was in the public record, something that every one of the affected permit holders should have completely understood, there were terrified cries of “exposure.”  It was never a secret, the laws in New York state are explicit, have a permit for a gun and it’s public information.  Good for them.

Still this publication was vengefully, if not illegally, assaulted with threats and releases of private information, mostly by anonymous sources.  That always tells me the perpetrators believe they are doing something wrong or dangerous, and there is no doubt that same message went out loud and strong to all the permit holder’s neighbors as well.  Now to add to the daily troubles of life they have terrified gun owners looking for revenge living just down the block.  Excellent.  Who wants to go outside to play?

It’s another case of the sensible being lost in the insane babble of nonsense that passes for gun rights discussions.  The question now is who will break out of the dome of irrational fear and knee jerk reactions and speak openly, honestly and competently on the questions surrounding gun ownership in the US?  It starts with everyone being less afraid and more open to rational solutions to this perceived problem.  It would also help if the NRA would shut up.  Seriously, you’re not helping.

I have three suggestions for national gun policy, tell me what you think of them.

  1. All firearms and their owners should be registered and that information should be accessible through a national database.  
  2. All sales, gifts or transfers of firearms should be subject to a background check of the recipient.  Background checks should recur on a regular basis.
  3. The loss of a firearm, should be reported to local authorities within 24 hours or as soon as practical (first available opportunity).

These suggestions are mostly based around getting a handle on the situation, no one really knows how many guns are in the United States right now, or who owns them, and without a quick place to search for stolen weapons, they almost never see their owners again.  With the crude patchwork of state laws guns can easily be obtained without record in other states.  All of these suggestions benefit owners, less confusion and secrecy means more security for a valuable investment and consistent tracking for an understanding of firearm's real affect on crime.  I would have put one in firmly against “assault” weapons but I couldn’t figure out any simple wording that clearly separated a pump shot gun from a 10 shot CAWS (Close Assualt Weapons system).

If you have other suggestions please feel free to post them as well.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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