I don’t like talking politics, but after what happened in Orlando this past weekend, I don’t care to stay on the sidelines about gun ownership in my country. Frankly, I’m just done with the bullshit.
One man killed 49 people and injured even more than that. A single man carried out the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and we’re answering it in what has become a routine round of sound bites, tweets, and status updates.
A list of my thoughts on the matter:
1. Don’t delude yourself into believing Congress is protecting people’s second amendment rights. What they’re protecting is a multi-billion dollar industry, and they don’t care that more than 6,000 people have died from gun violence this year alone (and we’re not even halfway through the year yet).
2. I don’t believe banning specific guns will solve the problem (but I’m not opposed to that either). The issue isn’t the guns; it’s the gun owners. Let’s not waste time on laws to ban a rifle when what we need to do is enact policies that make it significantly more difficult for people to obtain these firearms in the first place. Although, seriously, what possible need can a civilian have for an assault rifle? If the answer is “protection,” then you’re a paranoid nut.
3. If you don’t support stronger regulations for gun ownership, you really don’t deserve to call yourself a “responsible gun owner.” Being a responsible gun owner is more than respecting the power of that weapon, storing it in a manner that keeps it from children or thieves, and properly maintaining the gun itself. If you’re going to advocate the right to bear arms, then you need to take ownership for your gun community. I’m not opposed to responsible gun owners having guns, but the irresponsible ones shouldn’t be able to get guns so easily. Everytime a “responsible” gun owner argues against making it more difficult for people such as the gunman in Orlando to obtain a gun, they look foolish. Responsible gun owners, this issue isn’t just about you and the guns you own. It’s about every other gun out there and the people who shouldn’t be able to obtain them. Don’t tell me you don’t see examples of idiots who shouldn’t have guns when you go hunting or to the gun range.
4. The argument that madmen will find a way to hurt others without guns is flawed logic. People who resort to this rant like to point to 9/11 and the OKC bombing (mass killings carried out without guns). First off, calling the people in these instances “madmen” isn’t accurate. These were organized, military attacks by people motivated by hate. It’s also worth noting how infrequent these types of attacks are compared to gun violence. What makes this argument nonsense is that nobody is claiming tougher gun laws will stop mass killings, but making it more difficult for irresponsible gun owners from ever purchasing those weapons will help.
5. If you believe you’re a responsible gun owner but fear tougher regulations will allow the government to take away your guns, then perhaps you’re not the responsible gun owner you claim to be. Otherwise, why are you worried? (Spare me your “slippery slope”/second amendment rights rant as a reply, because I just don’t buy it)
6. Last year, I fired a gun for the first time (photographic evidence included). That single outing taught me a lot. While I learned my aim was much better than I expected, I also discovered that accurately firing a gun is much more difficult than it looks. That latter detail is why I don’t believe just anyone should be allowed access to a gun.
7. While we’re limiting who can own a gun, we also need to seriously limit who can sell them. I say this, because the most common way people illegally obtain guns doesn’t come from stolen weapons (that only accounts for about 10-15 percent of illegally obtained guns). The most common way guns are illegally obtained is by someone else buying the gun on someone else’s behalf, which is already illegal. This is often carried out rather brazenly with the person who wants the gun picking out the weapon while standing next to the person who actually buys it using their own identification, instead of the person who selected and will ultimately use the gun. This is called a “straw purchase.”
8. According to an article in the Washington Post this past October, there are more guns in the United States than there are people. The guns outnumber us by 40 million. I point this out for a preemptive reality check. Even if Congress decides to toughen gun laws to drastically limit sales and ownership, seeing the benefits will likely take decades. The guns that are out there aren’t going away anytime soon, and we will be forced to live with consequences of waiting too long to take action for a very long time. That means our children and grandchildren will be forced to endure the mistakes from our long delay in taking action (assuming action ever happens at all).
*Bonus Thought* What upsets you more about the Orlando Massacre: that you believe it was an Islamic terrorist attack or that 49 people needlessly died? If you’re answer is the former, then that’s a whole other problem. I seriously suspect one of the reasons we won’t see a sufficient outcry to change our gun laws is because the victims were members of the LGBTQ community; I hope I’m wrong about that.