OPINION: The problem with America's gun laws

The problem with the current gun laws in America is that there is nothing we can do to stop mass killings. With the gun-ownership sympathizers, there appears to be no legal recourse to prevent such things. People are allowed to own whatever guns they want, they are allowed to buy and keep as much ammunition as they want, and in many states they’re allowed to walk around with their guns. It’s not until they actually start killing that they’re breaking the law. So that’s the line we want to draw? It’s all fine and good until you actually start shooting people.

If gun laws were more strict (I’m not talking about disarming everyone, just using some common sense) we could make it illegal at some point before the killing begins. If it was illegal to buy certain weapons of mass killing, that would reduce the number of such devices that are available. Fewer would make their way into the hands of would-be killers. If it was illegal to walk around with a gun, people could be arrested just for that, and before the killing began.

If the writers of the Second Amendment to the Constitution saw the kinds of weapons we have today, I believe that even they would say that certain restrictions or limitations should be put in place.

The NRA and other “gun nuts” act as though any kind of regulation is “taking our guns away.” That is a dangerous mindset for everyone in this country. If they feel that they’re being threatened, then they become a threat. If they believe the government is trying to take away their rights, they might retaliate in a violent way with the intent to take over the government in order to protect this one particular right.

Is it not reasonable to ask the people to relinquish some of the extremes of their rights in order to protect hundreds of their fellow countrymen?

I keep hearing the argument that armed citizens make the country a safer place. Well, WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU WHEN ALL THESE SHOOTINGS HAPPENED?

The NRA is a dangerous radical group that needs to be closely observed and monitored. The extent to which they fight to maintain NO regulation on firearms makes them a public hazard.

I normally don’t like to engage in debates on issues that affect large groups because of my concern that I might be wrong. I realize I might be wrong about a lot of this. I know that there are circumstances in which I would be glad that the NRA exists and that so many Americans are so well armed. But the sheer volume of times I wish we WEREN’T so free with our firearms doesn’t compare to the number of times I’ve been glad that we are.

I'm glad these people were able to prevent more killings with their personal guns. It's a good argument for that side. Note, however, that this is 12 examples over a period of nearly 17 years, several of the "good guys" were cops or security guards, not average citizens, and NONE of them used assault rifles.

I own a gun. I like my gun. I don’t want anyone to take it away from me. But then it’s practically an antique, with a clip that holds 7 rounds. If my household was in danger, if someone was trying to break in or harm a family member, I would be supremely grateful to have it available to me. It would do a fine job of stopping an attacker, or even just scaring them away. And ultimately that’s all I want. I don’t need them dead. I’ll be honest, if someone seriously hurt my daughter, I would want them dead, and me and my gun would do all we could to make that happen. But there is no way I am going to use my gun to take on the government, the military, the police, or a bunch of school children.

With all the weakness of recent generations of Americans, with the removal of competition from schools, the “snowflake” mentality, etc., there are a lot of butthurt psychos out there, as evidenced by all the school shootings we continue to experience. Something needs to be done there. Strength of character does not come from saying that nobody is any better than anybody else and that we’re all special in our own way. Strength of character comes from facing struggles and overcoming them.

That said, if every kid who got picked on in school can gather up his daddy’s guns and go “get them back” for what they did (and in most cases get people who didn’t do it also), we’re going to continue to have immature, unstable killers who take away the right to live from dozens of innocent (and some not-so-innocent) people, and usually end up killing themselves as well, by self-inflicted gunshot or suicide by cop. So they aren’t saved by their actions. They would be better off starting with themselves. Nobody likes it when our kids kill themselves, but better that than taking a handful of lives on their way out.

If gun owners would relinquish some of their guns and rights in the interest of the common good, we could dramatically cut down on the senseless slaughter we see daily in this country.

I say we hold the NRA and its supporters accountable for every mass killing by firearm in America from this point forward. They’re so insistent on keeping their guns “for protection” let’s put it on them to actually do some protecting. If they insist on maintaining this right in spite of all the harm it’s doing to hundreds of people each year, they should have consequences. The majority of Americans are coming around to the belief that allowing some form of regulation of guns would be helpful in this fight against gun violence, yet the gun people are fighting – AGAINST the majority – for their right to keep the killing going. If they want to fight for the rights of the killers, they need to share in the burden. Because your insistence on keeping guns “for protection” is infringing on the rights of those of us who believe in trading some of these “rights” for the lives that can be saved by doing so, you become accomplices in every killing done by these weapons.

Everyone gets mad sometimes. We even get mad enough to kill once in a while. For many of us, a waiting period is a good thing, because it gives us a chance to calm down about it and think reasonably. With readily-available guns, we might fall victim to our passion and do something we later regret. If it is not a heat-of-passion thing and you can wait it out, buy the gun, and then go do your killing, then that is premeditated and punishable as Murder 1. As it should be. But if we can flag people who buy tons of weaponry and stockpile ammunition, we can at least keep an eye on them, and if we see them coming out of their house in a bulky trench coat, we can follow them and be prepared for the possibility of an impending tragedy.

I believe that gun violence perpetrated by police is a serious issue in America. I think there are a lot of problems with the system and the mentality of police officers, and something definitely needs to be done. I actually feel very strongly about this. Nowhere in my mind, however, am I thinking, “we should just shoot these cops.” In all the tragic situations I’ve heard about, with unarmed people and harmless dogs being murdered by police, my reaction is always, “they need to be held accountable. They need to face consequences. They need to lose their jobs and go to jail. There needs to be a better screening process for police officer candidates. There needs to be a new mentality introduced into the career of law enforcement.” Never, in all the horrific acts I’ve heard, read about, or watched videos of, did I think, “somebody SHOOT those pigs!” I think they need to be stopped. I don’t think anyone should throw their life away by killing an officer. I don’t think guns are the answer.

Nobody who is putting forth any reasonable proposals is saying “take away all the guns.” I am not saying it, Obama is not saying it, the New York Times is not saying it, the CDC is not saying it. What everyone keeps saying is that we would all benefit from relaxing on our insistence that our gun ownership rights not be touched in any way. My personal belief is that no citizen needs an assault rifle. If a hunter says he needs a fully-automatic rifle for his livelihood, he should seriously look into another career, because if you need to spray bullets at 1,200 rounds per minute, then frankly you’re a really bad hunter and you should quit. There is no excuse for military weapons in the hands of civilians. So then the argument becomes, “but if the government gets out of control we need to be able to overthrow them.” To that I say, go for it. Take on the U.S. military. See what that gets you. We have a system in this country where, if you don’t like something, vote it out. Guns are not the answer.

I’d like to address the gun debate from two sides, addressed to two entities.

1)      To the NRA and its staunch supporters: they’re trying to take your guns away. Load up and go fight for your right, because the right to keep your killing power trumps all other rights and privileges including the rights of all other Americans, whether they agree with you or not. Take on the military, the police, anyone who tries to take your guns.

2)      To the U.S. Military (all branches): look out, a bunch of gun nuts are coming after you. Get ready to take them out.

Now let’s see what happens.


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