In my previous post I talked about the Aurora shootings and how I thought that this country needed to really take a look at our obsession with guns. Nothing really signifies that more than the fact that in the days after the shootings in Colorado, gun sales in Colorado skyrocketed 40+ percent.
And I've gotten a lot of feedback on this post either on twitter, facebook or in person and most of it seemed to have the wrong impression of my thoughts on gun control. So I figured I'd post about this and just kind of set the record straight on my feelings about guns and their place in our society. Hopefully I will be very clear with how I put this, so there will be no misunderstandings.
I think in reality my views of this are not very outrageous and probably are in line with the general consensus by the majority of the American people. So here are my ideas for what I think should be the rule of law when it comes to gun ownership in this country. I realize that my opinions hold no sway at all, so anyone who disagrees, don't worry...nothing I suggest will become law. No need to flame me over it.
First let me state that I'm not a fan of guns. Never really been a gun guy. I've fired guns before, but never really felt that rush or pull that many certainly have. That said, I have ZERO PROBLEMS with people owning handguns for home protection, nor do I have a problem with people owning rifles and/or shotguns for hunting. Not a fan of hunting, myself, but I have no problem with others who are.
So I am in no way shape or form suggesting in any way that people should not be allowed to "bear arms" or protect their families or make a living selling guns.
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My problems come in when you start talking about semi automatic and fully automatic assault weapons such as the AR-15 that the Aurora shooter had, and the extended magazines and clips that allow a shooter to fire 100 times without stopping to reload.
While I think that Americans have the right to arm themselves for protection of home and family and personal life, and for their hunting endeavors, I do not under any circumstances see the need for the average non criminal citizen to have assault weapons or extended magazines and clips.
People have pointed out "well, if someone attacked someone else with a knife, you wouldn't outlaw knives, so why are you talking about outlawing guns?"
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Also some have talked about "well in Norway gun control is big and look at the massacre there that happened a year ago!". Except in that situation it was a very rare incident, and the ammo he bought was from an American seller online.
Again. Not talking about outlawing guns. Not talking about taking anyone's guns away. What I am saying is that I do not think that the average non criminal citizen has any legitimate purpose owning assault weapons and clips and mags that allow you to fire up to a hundred times or more without stopping to reload.
If the shooter had gone into that theater with a machete and a hatchet, he could have still taken some people out. But I guarantee you he would not have killed 12 people and injured 50+ more. Someone would have gotten to him before that.
And then people will suggest that if only more people in that theater were armed, that things would have ended better. This sounds good if you don't really think about it. I mean we all just assume "well yeah if I had a gun, I would have shot that guy before he killed all those people."
But would you? Think about it, the movie had already started, the lights were off, and this guy came in with full body armor and threw tear gas canisters into the room. So not only is the room dark, with just the light from the movie, not only is there smoke in the air that is impacting people's abilities to see properly, but there are also bullets flying and people screaming and running trying to get away.
Now you're telling me that you are going to A. pull your gun B. isolate where the shooter is in the dark smoke filled room surrounding by screaming and crying people, and bulletfire, and C. Shoot that guy without hitting anyone else? Is that what you want me to believe?
What if there's a second person besides you that has a gun there? They pull it out and they see you with your gun out looking to fire. How do they know you're not with the shooter? Suppose you see someone else who has a gun and is firing trying to take the guy down? the guy has body armor he wouldn't be taken out with a single shot most likely. So you see another person firing multiple times in a dark smokey room with tear gas in your eyes, and people screaming and crying all around you, people running in all directions. Who do you fire at? How do you know there's only one shooter or whether there's multiple shooters?
See these are complex questions that aren't really expected when you throw out a meaningless macho guesture of "well if I had a gun, that would have ended differently" or "if only more people were armed, things would have ended better."
In Arizona when Representative Gabby Giffords was shot by another man with an extended clip on his gun, there was someone else there with a gun. He admitted later that he almost shot the wrong person, a guy who ran towards Giffords to protect her and is credited with helping to save her life. What if that guy had shot the wrong person?
In the heat of the moment any number of things can go wrong, and the more guns that are there and involved, the worse the situation can be.
Another argument is that "bad people will always find a way to get guns", which is another take off of the "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". That still is under the assumption that anyone is going to "outlaw" guns. Nobody is talking about outlawing guns altogether, and rounding up every honest citizen's guns and take them from them.
It IS true that criminals will find a way to get guns. Doesn't mean we have to make it easier for them to do that. If that was the case, why not just legalize marijuana? We make that illegal but hey, "Criminals" who want to smoke pot and get high will always find a way to do it, that doesn't mean we should make it illegal for all the honest hard working Americans who enjoy it, right?
And Marijuana is a million times safer for you than guns. According to the Children's Defense Fund, more than 100,000 children in America have been killed by guns in the thirty years since they've been tracking data. Marijuana has not directly led to any deaths.
Via Truth Out:
In 2010, there were 12,996 murders in the United States and 8,775 (24 a day) were caused by firearms. Suicides and unintentional shootings account for another 20,000 deaths by guns each year. Of course, many more people are injured - some seriously, and permanently - by gun violence.
Many gun-related deaths are committed by people who purchase their weapons legally. Others purchase or steal them illegally, but their ability to get access to a gun is due to our lax laws on gun ownership.
Marijuana smoking isn't harmless, but at least it won't kill you.
It's been feared that marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, causes cancer and heart disease. The evidence argues otherwise, writes Stephen Sidney, MD, associate director for research for Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., in the Sept 20 issue of The British Medical Journal."Although the use of [marijuana] is not harmless, the current knowledge base does not support the assertion that it has any notable adverse public health impact in relation to mortality," Sidney concludes.Sidney points to two large studies. The first is from (where else?) California. A large HMO looked at 65,177 men and women age 15-49. Over 10 years, marijuana users died no sooner than nonusers.The second study looked at 45,450 Swedish army conscripts. They were 18-20 years old when asked about marijuana use. Fifteen years later, the marijuana users were just as likely to remain alive as nonusers.And since marijuana smoking can't kill outright -- there's no such thing as a fatal marijuana overdose -- short-term use isn't deadly. Long-term use can't be good for you. But Sidney notes that most marijuana smokers don't become long-term users.
So using the logic of those who say that "Criminals will just get the guns anyway, so why prevent honest people from getting them?" then why not take that tack with marijuana? Neither are harmless, but only one of them can directly kill you.
We have to have regulations in place that will limit the ways in which bad people can get those guns, but won't inhibit the honest people who want guns for protection or hunting.
Is there anyone that really argues against background checks and waiting periods for guns? At the moment there are guns able to be bought at gun shows which don't always require you to submit to a background check. So you could go there and lay down some cash and get some assault weapons and ammo and there's no checks and balances there to stop someone who perhaps shouldn't be getting those.
I think there should be a yearly mandated licensing for gun owners. If you own a drivers license, you have to regularly go in and show that you are still fit to drive. Your vision is checked, your driving abilities are checked, and you are required to show that you are still capable of handling a car. Why should there not be a similar mandated licensing review for gun owners? Say once a year? Is that completely outrageous?
I think that anyone convicted of domestic violence should lose their guns and not get them back until they satisfactorily complete anger management classes and regularly see a counselor to keep the gun or guns.
I don't think my suggestions are that outrageous. They are basic measures to counteract the ease with which many people acquire guns that should not have them. Can anyone argue that someone who has problems controlling their temper and is constantly slapping around their spouse should not have access to guns?
Would anyone argue that it should not be possible to go to a gun show and slap down some cash and get assault weapons with no paperwork or background check?
In fact the majority of NRA MEMBERS agree with me that there should be more regulations, while protecting their rights to own and maintain their guns. It's the NRA management such as Wayne LaPierre that is riling up their base with lies and misrepresentations. That's because LaPierre doesn't serve the NRA members, he serves the gun manufacturers.
And when people are afraid that the President is going to take their guns away, what happens? Gun sales and ammo sales go through the roof. And the gun manufacturers are rolling in money.
We need to stop allowing people to profit off of the deaths of our citizens. We need to stop people like Wayne LaPierre from earning their blood money based on fearmongering and lies.
We need these things, but sadly things will never change as long as the NRA has it's grip so tight on our elected congressmen. And people will still continue to die senselessly, and in the aftermath the gun manufacturers, the gun lobbyists and Wayne LaPierre will be laughing all the way to the bank as they rake in more and more blood money.