Enough of my personal angst, lets talk about society and one of our current hot button issues – Gun control, weapons reform, firearm regulations – whatever you call it, its a pretty important topic for our country right now and in my opinion both sides of the aisle are idiots and the ones in the middle who actually kind of grasp both sides of the argument don’t have enough of a voice to influence the more powerful voices of R’s and D’s.
You see, nothing is black and white. The Republican’s are all, “DON”T TAKE MY GUNS!!!’ The Dem’s are all “WE AREN’T TAKING YOUR GUNS!!! and both sides seem to miss the point in my humble opinion. The fact that the right conveniently forgets the humanity side of this, and the fact that the left seem to over look the Constitution part of this, well – we have a merry-go-round and while they are spinning round and round, people are dying because the underlying issue isn’t guns. Little pieces of metal with no emotion or control over who uses them or for what purpose is not the issue. Responsibility, accountability, safety, training, mental health access and treatment, common sense, and regulation are the issues that we should be focusing on.
I happen to agree with most of President Obama’s plan on firearms regulation: Background checks, limiting assault rifles, and limiting clips and magazines to reasonable sizes for those outside of law enforcement; I don’t want the cop to have to reload 17 times in a firefight, but the kid shooting children in a school- well if he had to reload more often we would have less dead children right now. That is a fact.
Personally, I LOVE shooting stuff. It’s fun. I have had the chance to shoot all kinds of weapons, and the faster they shoot the more fun they are. I would love to have an AR-15 to take up to the mountains or a range and just shoot till my ears bleed (not really, safety first! Ear plugs!). If I had the money, I would probably be one of those people who goes and buys one before we can’t have them anymore. Rather though than worry about my personal hobby interests, I understand the necessity for our country to regulate these weapons. I know that if I had one of these assault weapons, first of all, that wouldn’t be the gun I pick up in case of an intruder in my home. That guy is going to get one very well placed and efficient shot gun blast. I do not recommend anyone trying to rob my house – between the dogs and the guns well, lets just say it wouldn’t be a wise decision. The dogs act as the deterrent, and the guns act as a final consequence. Listen to the dogs.
People are concerned for their right to bear arms. Here is the thing – no one is trying to take that right from you. If we could possibly look at guns the way we look at say, drivers licenses – it just makes sense to me. In order to drive a car in the U.S. we have to do all sorts of things before we are given the privilege of driving a vehicle. We have to take a class and learn how vehicles work. We have to drive for a time with experienced drivers in real life situations, and then we go to the DMV and take a written test to make sure we understand the importance of laws and vehicle safety. We even have regulations on what kinds of vehicles we can drive, and what prerequisites we need to meet in order to say – drive a semi instead of a mini van. Then, we get our drivers licenses and we can drive any car we want – but then we add insurance so if we manage to text while driving and kill someone, well that family can be compensated for their loss, and you lose the right to drive (or you should anyway). You know why we have all these rules for cars? They are dangerous. They can kill people. We train and learn how not to kill people by following laws and restrictions and those who don’t follow those laws and restrictions lose their right to drive.
So why can’t we come up with reasonable laws and regulations for purchasing and using weapons? Make people take a class, get safety training, spend time with an experienced shooter to learn how they really work, and take a test. If you want an assault rifle, you take a harder test and have to purchase more expensive insurance. People will think twice about straw purchases when their name is tied to that gun and an insurance policy don’t you think?
The next argument is obviously, “I am a law abiding citizen and me taking a test won’t stop criminals!” Yes yes. Calm down. Sometimes people choose not to follow laws that doesn’t mean that having them isn’t a good idea. Let’s decriminalize murder and see how much the murder rate rises. Laws are a deterrent -kind of like my dogs. They are meant as a warning, and they have consequences should you choose to ignore them. For most people, laws and the consequences of breaking them are enough of a deterrent to keep everyone from murdering people. Same for guns. If we have laws and stuff, maybe kids won’t take guns as some sort of joke. If we train safety like we do with vehicles, people will usually have a healthy respect for that. Yes, some people are just ignorant or they have already done so much time in prison they kind of like it there – but in order to prevent getting people to that point – education and enforcement is the key.
Car dealers make sure you have a drivers license before they sell you a car. Gun sellers should do the same. Have you had your mandatory 20 hours of instruction? Did you take the written test? Has your instructor signed off on your ‘live fire’ exercise? Yes? Here’s your gun! Have fun! It would actually eliminate the need for background checks that everyone is so riled up about. Waiting periods would be eliminated because the training time would take care of that. It would take the responsibility off the seller and put in on the customer where it belongs. If you need a gun RIGHT NOW, well – you don’t need a gun.
Personally, I don’t mind subjecting myself to a background check to purchase a weapon, but I don’t think that is the entire answer. I think it should be done just to see if you have a criminal or mental health background and certain standards should be set to determine just what is considered unsafe. Also, background checks do nothing for the guy who has been a law abiding citizen with no prior record from snapping and killing someone in a rage. There is always a first time and background checks will do nothing to prevent that – however, you don’t see people running down people in the shopping mall with their vehicles do you? I mean some people do, but it’s a pretty small number of licensed drivers who run people over just because they are pissed off.
So obviously, I have over simplified the argument. However, I feel that an over simplified approach is better than nothing at this point and what we have in our government right now is an over complicated approach that is wasting time, money, and lives, and has the possibility of infringing on our rights if left ignored for too long. Responsible gun owners and hobbyists, need to be a part of the solution (not the crazy ass NRA, they have lost their damn minds and I would be embarrassed to associate with them at this point). Come up with some good ideas. We have warnings and regulations on hair dryers for crying out loud. Instead of screaming about your rights, come up with some solutions that don’t infringe on them and be your own lobbyist. Write your congressperson, shoot an email to the White House, have real conversations with your family and friends about gun safety/control, and make sure you aren’t one of the idiots posting videos of you shooting yourself or a friend on YouTube.
So where do you stand on the issue? As always, be respectful of one another. Let’s try to come up with solutions that could benefit all of us without infringing on our rights but will make our country a safer place.