Tag Archives: Second Amendment

Gun Laws: I’m About To Give Up

Honestly, I’m just about to give up.

Every time a tragedy occurs involving a mass shooting in America, the gun laws conversation gets started again. And every time, people start pretending that gun control equates to an all-out ban on guns, that gun control is never going to stop all murders anyway so why bother, that gun control leads to more violence/murder even though that is not even remotely true in any of the first world countries that are remotely comparable to America.

But all those comparisons really don’t matter because America is its own country and, frankly, we won’t know what stricter gun laws will actually accomplish until we try them out.

Ultimately, I know one thing: Doing absolutely nothing, which is what we’ve been doing for the past many many years, has done absolutely nothing.

Honestly, I don’t know if stricter gun laws or more accessible mental health care (which is definitely related to lowering crime in America) would have helped prevent 20 dead children in Connecticut. But our strategy of doing nothing certainly did nothing to stop it.

America has become on of the world leaders in violence. We have some of the highest rates of mass murders, school shootings and gun crimes in the world, particularly among first world countries. And yet so many seem content to just say, “Eh. Whatever. It’s fine.” And seem to enjoy calling people that think something should change, that we should do everything in our power to stop the headlines tomorrow being 20 more dead children, or people of any age, anti-American, taking away Americans’ rights to own any and every firearm in the world.

It’s frustrating. It’s so immensely frustrating because the conversation ends before it can begin. Because people that are pro-gun rights refuse to admit that maybe, just maybe, we have a problem. That maybe we shouldn’t accept that our current situation is the best situation, especially when statistics have shown that America is far and beyond the norm for gun violence and mass shootings.

Yes, there are crazy people. Evil people. No, we’ll never be able to stop them all. But if the person in Newtown had, say, a chamber with 10 or 20 less bullets in it, instead the 100 or more it had, would there maybe be one more child left alive today?

Maybe. It’s possible. But as long as we do nothing, nothing’s possible but more of the same. And I’m too sickened by that to want it to continue on. But I’m also feeling beaten down. I don’t know what we can do when Americans seem so intensely divided on this issue and politicians cower and refuse to take action. There is some hope, after this most recent incident, that President Barack Obama will step up and force a political conversation. But who knows. So I’m going to try to bow out of the conversation for a time. I know what’s right, and I know what “rights” people should have, and that certainly isn’t free and unabated access to any and every single firearm and weapon on the planet. Mutually assured destruction just doesn’t work.

But I think I’m just going to shut up for a while. Until the politicians start bringing real changes to the discussion table, there just doesn’t seem to be a point.

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When Can We Talk About Gun Control?

This year, more than any other I can recall, really feels like the year of the gun in America. So many people have died and been injured in high profile mass shootings, with things kicking up heavily in July. Tuscaloosa saw a mass shooting, and then there was about one every week for another month. Even The Onion tried to run a satirical article about how everyone was rejoicing that it had been a week since the nation’s last mass shooting, and mere hours after they posted it, there was a shooting in New York City. Their response? An update to say “Never Mind.”

Just recently, the gun issue was brought back up with a high profile murder-suicide of an NFL player’s girlfriend, committed by Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. It picked up even more steam when NBC sports broadcaster Bob Costas read from a pro-gun control column about Belcher. And tonight, it’s likely to get another boost of conversation, thanks to¬†a shooting in an Oregon mall, with two dead.

But every time these tragedies occur, we’re told that it’s rude and inconsiderate to talk about gun control. Fox News, for example, just went nuts on Costas. Of course, it’s perfectly alright to stump for lessening gun control soon after a tragedy, like they did on Fox News after the tragedy in Norway.

After all, people that support the Second Amendment to the nearly fanatical point never want to talk about gun control. Because they’re convinced that gun control equals a ban on all guns and the destruction of the Second Amendment. They have painted the opposition as so extreme, they think they know how every conversation will go. And since they don’t want to hear it, they try to play the “cheap” card, the “tragedy” card and keep the conversation muted. A free speech issue, might I add, and people that are fond of the First Amendment are more than happy to have conversations about regulation and why it may or may not be bad, generally speaking. As President Josiah Bartlet from “The West Wing” said on Twitter today, “If we cannot talk about gun control legislation in the aftermath of a tragedy, we will never be able to talk about gun control legislation. Maybe that’s the point.”

In pretty much every single argument I’ve gotten into about why we should try to limit guns or try to regulate them more in some way or another, a few topics always seem to be brought up: Knife deaths, “You can’t stop them all” and self-defense.

See, if I mention just how many gun deaths there are in America compared to somewhere like the United Kingdom where there are far stricter gun laws, they point out how many stabbings there are. If I talk about regulating guns or bullets to attempt to limit the number of homicides, the rebuttal of “Someone willing to kill’s going to find a way. You can kill with [fill in with a far more innocuous weapon here, like piano wire].” And inevitably the idea that we need guns to defend against criminals that have guns gets mentioned.

Well, here’s just a few little nuggets to ponder, not that any proponents of gun rights will listen, because they’ve spent so long trying to get people to stop talking, why bother listening at all? First, yeah, there are a higher number of stabbings in the U.K. than in the U.S. What’s your point, exactly? I’m pretty sure that the percentage doesn’t even come close to the percentage of gun-related homicides in the U.S., so if we could see the percentage drop and become all knife-related, then fine. Second, exactly how many knife-related mass killings are there? How many people can walk into a mall or a church or a school with a knife and slay multiple people before they’re stopped? Third, there was a very recent story about a 7-year-old boy being shot by his father outside of a gun store, accidentally. Exactly how many accidental knife deaths are there every year?

Will gun control eliminate gun violence? Certainly not. Not even close. Would it maybe, just maybe see the number of deaths per year drop, even slightly? It might. So, no, we’re not able to stop it all. People will find ways to kill. But isn’t seeing one less murder enough of a reason to try?

Isn’t the possibility of at least one less gun-related murder, one less death per year enough of a reason to talk about solutions?

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Let’s Talk A Little About Gun Control

Okay. So, just shy of a full week after the shootings in Aurora, Colo., I’ve decided to actually say my piece about gun control, an issue that got some amount of discussion afterwards. And still is. Which I think is a good thing. Discussion is necessary.

What isn’t necessary is vitriol and attacks.

While I tried to avoid the subject of gun control, I ended up talking about it on two friends’ statuses on Facebook. In one of those conversations, I ended up extending the number of comments from around five to around 35.

So much for avoiding the subject.

As a bleeding heart, pinko commie liberal, you may have guessed that I’m a fan of gun control. What this does NOT mean is that I am a fan of banning guns everywhere. As the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Clearly, citizens are allowed to have guns… (It is in this way that I disagree with “Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander in his own rant on gun violence and control) but here’s my reading of the amendment, as informed by historical facts.

Note that the amendment mentions a militia. At the time of this being written, America was less than a decade out of a war for independence from Britain. Britain had tried to take the guns of the American colonists away. Had such a thing occurred, the revolution would have been nigh impossible. The ability of people to quickly form a ragtag resistance, people like the Minutemen, was important during the fights.

Further, guns in those days were often ways of life. There was fear of attack, from the British or the Native Americans. There was the need to hunt for food. There were people that hunted for trade. They knew how to use guns, by and large, and needed them for daily function in many cases.

And, to be more frank, guns back then were not nearly as efficient as guns now. Have you ever shot a black powder rifle? I have. They take some time to load. Quite some time. When they fire, it can be pretty devastating, but getting more than a shot or two off in a minute is asking a lot. So I’m not entirely certain the Founding Fathers predicted the invention of automatic and semi-automatic weaponry.

But all that aside, I am not trying to start a conversation on the banishment of guns. Just the control of them. Somehow, the idea that they were one and the same kept cropping up in conversation. They aren’t.

Would I love it if guns simply didn’t exist in the world? Yes. It’s awful how we’ve streamlined the ability to maim and kill people. It’d be great if it weren’t so easy.

Which brings me to the next point… in these discussions, the argument of, “We can kill with pretty much anything” kept cropping up. This, to me, is quite similar to the argument, “Controlling guns won’t stop these things from happening,” so I’m going to tackle them both here.

Yes. Humans suck. A lot. We’re good at killing and, when we set our minds to it, we can find new and inventive ways to do any project. Cruelty and murder are definitely included in that. But the idea that it will happen anyway so why bother is ridiculous. Allow me to make an analogy.

People, inevitably, die. It will happen. One way or another, your mortality will get to you. So, since it’s going to happen anyway, why should we try to prevent it? Why bother with medicine or healthy living?

Another analogy, dealing with crime: People are going to drive at reckless speeds. Since it’s going to happen whether there are speed limits or not, should we just not have speed limits? I posit that, without speed limits, a WHOLE lot more people would be driving at reckless speeds. And that’s why the limits are there. To discourage some from being dangerous, and to make those who are being dangerous be considered lawbreakers.

Which is another thing that happened a few times… there was this attempt at a tautologous argument that criminals are the ones that commit crimes. It was weird and senseless. To that, all I have to say is, yes. They do. And there is probably a point in their lives when they aren’t criminals. So shouldn’t we be looking at people before they commit their first gun-related crime?

Again. I’m not talking gun elimination. Let’s just toss ideas around to maybe try and help prevent things like Aurora, Colo., or Tuscaloosa, Ala., or Tuscon, Ariz., from happening. Yes, the violence will happen. Yes, people that want to commit crimes will try to find a way. But instead of lying down and letting it happen, why not throw up roadblocks? Why not get suspicious when a guy buys a crapton of explosives and guns? Why not put a limit on the types of weaponry you’re allowed to have? (For example, in Texas, people are apparently legally allowed to purchase rocket launchers. In what way is that a good idea?) Why not put a limit on the number of guns you can have? Or the amount of ammunition at any given time?

Some will say these suggestions violate the Second Amendment. I point them to the First Amendment and remind them that there are laws against slander and libel despite the freedom of speech. There are common sense things, things to prevent harm, that must be addressed in our freedoms.

Some will say their weapons are a defense against tyranny. To them, I say that’s ridiculous. Unless you’re secretly hoping for a second Civil War, those guns are not going to be used to defend against tyranny. In fact, such an argument could cause more violence, as people seek to defend a perceived tyranny that doesn’t necessarily exist.

But none of what I’m saying is an absolute. It’s an argument. It’s another side to the conversation. A conversation that, frankly, needs to happen. Because if there is ANYTHING that we can do to potentially prevent such a horrible event from ever occurring again, then it’s worth it.

So let’s talk a little about gun control.

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