A few questions which I think are simple enough for anyone to answer: Heck, I’m capable of answering and will list my answers which are not right or wrong, but just my answers.
1) Should law abiding citizens of the United States have the right to purchase or own a gun if they choose to do so? My answer is Yes.
2) Should someone who is listed on the no fly list as a potential terrorist or has been previously convicted of felonies and is currently on probation have the right to purchase or own a gun if they choose to do so? My answer is No.
3) Do you believe that there is too much gun violence in the United States today, regardless of how that gun was obtained? My answer is Yes.
Here’s the thing that bothers me in this whole debate about the gun violence and the Second Amendment. Most law abiding citizens, whether you own a gun or not, probably agree with many of the basic issues. The primary position of agreement is to limit the number of deaths and injuries regardless of cause. I’m not in a number crunching mood at the moment, but I seriously doubt that most crimes involving guns are committed by people who respect and follow the law. There are bizarre circumstances, one of which I’ve seen, but for the most part a gun is not going to fire by itself on purpose.
Here’s my point. I don’t see how an announcement that Vice President Biden will head a task force of individuals to evaluate solutions to reduce gun violence is a bad thing. “President Obama has been president for four years. If he thought some gun control could solve this problem, he should have been pushing it years ago.” To me that statement by Grover Norquist is ridiculous as is the assertion that the President and Democrats are using the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy for political purposes with this announcement to evaluate solutions. If that is a spur of the moment reaction, then what is Wayne LaPierre’s statement for the NRA where he recommends placing armed guards in schools throughout the country?
In some schools, armed guards might be the most pragmatic approach, but I’ll contend that it would not be the best approach in all schools. More importantly does it even address the problems? Mr. LaPierre also made comments regarding violence in video games, movies, and so on as contributing causes for gun violence. Others cite mental health as a contributing factor. Personally, I’ll agree with many of the studies which point to correlations, but I’ll also contend that a video game or movie is not going to turn an otherwise healthy and involved in society individual into a mass murderer. Likewise, mental illness is an umbrella term, and not everyone afflicted with a particular condition is going to commit murder or any other crime.
My guess, again without looking at any statistics, is that many gun violence acts occur with weapons that have been obtained on the secondary market. If someone is deemed unstable or a danger to themselves or others, I don’t think they should be able to legally obtain a weapon at a gun show. The standards there need to be the same as in licensed brick and mortar businesses.
Many acts of gun violence occur with weapons legally purchased by individuals with every right to own that item. Sometimes, that weapon may become involved in a domestic dispute or may be taken by another member of the household and used for illegal purposes. Arming everyone will not prevent those tragedies. There I think a need is evident for education about gun safety and training in actually handling the weapon. Most of us pass a written exam and have to drive and perform different maneuvers in a vehicle to receive our driver’s license. Would that be unreasonable for gun ownership? Many items such as pencils, electronic parts, and so on need instructions on the freaking package just to get access to the item. Then you have an extended registration and logon session at a website to search and download a long pdf file with instructions to first assemble and later use the product. This statement may be a bit sarcastic, but at least a few people probably have no idea how far that a bullet fired from their gun might travel and still possess deadly force.
I don’t think curbing gun violence is a point of contention among most people. I hope and pray that nobody wants a repeat of the tragedy at Sandy Hook. We need to turn off the extremists on either side of this argument because it is not and should not be political. Mr. LaPierre, I have some close friends who are members of the NRA and several who are not, but member or not they do everything within their power to keep their guns secure. They know every part of that weapon and follow every safety procedure. When their kids are old enough to be responsible and have an interest in guns, they don’t hand their guns over and say have fun. They spend a lot of time teaching and training, and if the child does something foolish, the adults take action. Sadly, accidents do happen; they happen with anything. I think this belief in arming every school is a knee jerk reaction and politicizing the tragedy. Mr. Norquist, I believe you are also politicizing the tragedy to promote your own agenda. Also, I would like to hear you explain how all of these guards will be funded since tax money is always evil. Will it be by terminating the contract of a teacher for every guard hired?
Friends and readers, regardless of the side you are on concerning this gun debate, wouldn’t you focus on the best practices to promote responsible usage? Instead we have these extremists on both sides and paid lobbyists acting like spoiled little kids pointing fingers at each other and saying bang. Let’s not pay the price for them to amuse themselves by getting us to fight over the lesser issues when we are able to find agreement on the major ones.
The following link provided the impetus to this rant.
My earlier piece on the 2nd Amendment
My earlier piece on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.