I’m going to get real here for a moment. I don’t like bringing politics into this blog, but the last week has seen some HUGE strides in the gun control debate in this country, and since I keep seeing the same arguments over and over again, I feel compelled to weigh in. The first thing I need to say is that I do not own a gun, BUT I believe in the right to own a gun. I think that the majority of gun owners are responsible, thoughtful and careful about their guns, and I know that there are many reasons a person would want one. I choose not to have one in my house because I think it is more responsibility than I am capable of with four young children around. I recognize that I am not a responsible enough person to ensure that we keep and maintain a gun safely.
I grew up around guns. One of my earliest memories is of going into the gravel pits and shooting my father’s gun at tin cans. I have shot guns of all sorts through my life, and I am an excellent marksman. I have respect for guns, and I recognize their importance in self-defense, in war and in law enforcement. I am in no way going to suggest that “guns are bad.”
What I will say is that guns are dangerous. And if you don’t agree with that, then you really should not be able to have one. It is a FACT that gun crime in America is higher than in any other country, and it is also a FACT that we are a nation in crisis because laws surrounding access to guns are not being enforced properly, and the laws themselves are too lax. There is not enough accountability for gun owners, gun sellers or those who allow guns into the wrong hands. But as soon as you bring up gun control, it’s like all hell breaks loose.
Can we PLEASE stop equating the term “gun control” with gun confiscation or gun prohibition? The gun control debate isn’t about whether or not we should have laws about guns – there are already many laws on the books about guns on both a federal and state level, and legislators have already put in the work to try and balance the right to bear arms against the safety and right to life of the entire population.
The gun control debate is more about how we work to ENFORCE the existing laws and ensure that the most dangerous weapons are kept out of the hands of criminals and those who are KNOWN to be mentally unstable/deranged. We need to work to make it safer for people to own guns because there are MANY reasons that a person would want one or need one (or two or three, even!).
While I can’t deny that there are many people who would happily see a total prohibition on guns, the majority of people who are calling for “gun control” are really just asking the government to do its job and protect its people. They are asking for the issue to be studied and to at least TRY new solutions that don’t involve MORE GUNS.
We are guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by the same government who guaranteed a right to bear arms. In fact, the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness bits were actually guaranteed FIRST, and they should be the cornerstone of our collective belief system. No one, least of all the youngest and most vulnerable among us, should live in constant fear that one day they will be gunned down. I mean, seriously… kids going to school aren’t afraid of a bomb being dropped or of getting cancer or of being stabbed to death in a shower. They are afraid of a very SPECIFIC threat – death by gun.
We all know that we could be killed in a car crash very easily. It happens daily in every city and state and country. We have to have training and special licenses to prove we are capable of handling the responsiblity of a vehicle. We wear seat belts, which come standard in every car, and we are required legally to wear them. We have keys to those cars so that no one else can use them. We have to register the title of the car when we buy it so that the government knows who the legal owner is and any tickets given or crimes associated with the car can be traced to the correct person. Yet, guns are bought and sold privately with no registration. People can have huge arsenals and no one would know!
We are required to have insurance on our vehicles in case we hurt someone or get hurt ourselves. Sometimes a person may accidentally leave their car unlocked or the keys in the ignition and the car may be stolen. Guess what happens then? Most insurance companies will not cover the theft, and the owner will be left with whatever bills come with such an issue. Because if you’re dumb enough to leave your car out and about for anyone to take, you don’t get the protections that you pay for. Yet, every day gun owners leave their guns out in their homes instead of responsibly locking them up and keeping them safely stored. Toddlers are dying by their own hands or by the hands of other kids because adults were stupid.
Why are we allowing our “right to bear arms” to be the be all, end all in our country? This seems to be the hill every gun nut seems to want to die on. Any time something happens, another mass shooting, in schools or theaters or concerts, gun owners are shouting out like Pavlov’s dog screaming that guns aren’t the problem. Except… they are. The gun is the thing that took the life. Yes, it was held by the hand of a human – and yes, that human was obviously in some sort of mental crisis to be able to do it. But if gun laws were more strictly enforced and if gun regulations were better thought out, then perhaps these disturbed individuals would find it a little harder to go out and commit these crimes.
And that is the least we are asking for – to make it a LITTLE bit harder for someone to commit this kind of crime. We want there to be accountability here. If a teenager steals the gun from a family member because that family member didn’t lock it up properly, and he goes on a killing spree? Well that family member should be charged just as much as the teenager. Maybe if every gun owner knew they would be charged with murder if their gun was used for it, they would go that little further to ensure their guns are properly stored.
Seriously, if you are a responsible gun owner who recognizes that guns are dangerous in the wrong hands, then why on earth don’t you want better gun control? If you can keep your gun(s) and keep them out of the hands of those who want to use them to KILL innocent civilians, then isn’t that a win/win?
The government is doing NOTHING at the moment to make the situation better. I swear that if even something as simple as a STUDY of the problem could be commissioned, all us liberal snowflakes would throw a damn parade. If it’s too much to ask to make new laws for protection, then at least create a plan that will help to enforce our current laws. Show us that you care. Show us that American lives are as valued as American dollars. Because at this point, I have to think it’s really all about the money. The NRA owns the government to such an extent that they have created a nation divided by paranoia. Because… as I said in the beginning – gun control DOES NOT EQUAL gun prohibition. It simply means making sure that we get what our forefathers promised us – LIFE, LIBERTY and the pursuit of HAPPINESS.