So I’ve been thinking. A lot. About guns and gun rights and all that stuff.
I keep trying, in my own limited way, to simplify the situation. To make it sort of more manageable, you know?
Why am I doing this?
Well, because the people who are actually in charge seem to have totally tied themselves up in knots, to the point where they are completely incapable of doing anything at all about the fact that this country now contains more guns than people. More. Guns. Than. People.
To me that is pretty much proof that having more guns won’t actually make us safer.
Anyway, I have tried to focus in on the arguments made by those who oppose increased gun control. What I seem to be hearing are three basic arguments. Here they are:
- I enjoy shooting. It’s fun. I do target practice and I enjoy going to the shooting range. It’s a form of entertainment for me.
- I am a hunter. My family and I eat what we shoot.
- The world is a dangerous place. The criminals and terrorists have guns, so I need to be able to protect myself and my family.
Here is the thing that surprises me: I absolutely understand each of these arguments. I have good friends and very dear family members who believe each of them. Once you peel away the anger, the vitriol, the spite and simply look at the true arguments, they make a lot of sense.
But I believe that I have a logical, civil response to each of them. And here are those responses:
- There are many things in this life that are fun, but are illegal because they pose too much of a threat to the community. For example, I live in a big, wooded neighborhood where there are many trees. I would love to be able to have big outdoor fires in the summer. I can’t, though: those fires might pose a danger to my neighbors. I might enjoy safely and responsibly indulging in some mind-altering drugs. That might be fun. But it has been recognized to be dangerous, so I can’t do it. I can’t toss hand grenades at the stone wall in the woods. I can’t drive a tank to work. I can’t even soup up the exhaust system in my car because of the effect on the air quality for my neighbors.
- I support hunting. I love venison, although I am too squeamish to shoot the deer myself. I believe that hunting is good for game, good for locavores, good for the natural habitat. I would support allowing hunters to own hunting rifles, with training, licensing and a carefully kept record of who is shooting when and in what town. Better yet, I’d like to see the local police own and keep all the guns. As a hunter, you’d have to go to the police department, show your license and sign the gun out for a day or a weekend.
- I just plain disagree with the argument that you are safer with a gun in your home. I understand the logic, but the facts show something quite different. From this pretty non biased website: Safe Wise Home Security
Gun ownership cons: Having a gun in the house makes living there statistically more dangerous
Unfortunately, guns can’t discriminate between criminals and innocent bystanders. Studies have shown that unintentional shootings are four times as common as occurrences of gun use in legitimate home defense situations. 5 You’d actually be more likely, statistically speaking, to shoot someone by accident than you are to shoot a home invader.
Having a gun in the house also increases your own chances of becoming the victim of a firearm-related homicide or suicide in the home. 6 Researchers have found that this holds true regardless of the type of gun you own, how you store it, or how many guns you own.
Finally, if you have children, you should take into account how the presence of a firearm in the home might affect their safety. Most gun-owning parents take precautions to keep their children from finding and handling the family’s firearms. However, despite these efforts, children often handle guns in the home without their parents’ knowledge; in one study, 22% of parents who believed that their children had never handled the guns in the home were contradicted by the children themselves. 7 Further, when a child or teen is killed by a firearm, the gun that killed them comes from their own home fully 72 percent of the time. 8
I don’t think that this is actually rocket science. I think that we can do some very basic things to make ourselves safer.
We can allow hunting, while outlawing automatic, semi-automatic and all other assault weapons. We can make it legal ONLY to buy guns from registered, recognized official gun sellers. No “gun shows”. We can follow our Canadian neighbors and make it the law that if you own a weapon, you MUST keep it locked up. We can make it illegal to own a gun if you are under 18 ( just as you can’t get married, vote or buy a beer). And we can pass a law that says “If you buy a gun, that gun is in your name. Any crime committed with that gun makes you responsible.”
And one final thought: If you town wants to set up a well regulated militia, I’m pretty sure that’s covered in the Constitution.