15 December 2012

It's Time To Act On Guns

Columbine.  Virginia Tech.  Gabby Giffords.  Aurora.  Wisconsin.  Newtown.  And those are just the beginning.  Mass shootings in the United States are beginning to feel like a national pandemic and it's long past time that we not only have a real conversation about it, but take real action.  How many more times do we need to tune in to the chaos, horror, and devastating aftermath before we say to every gun interest group, the lives of real people far outweigh your "I get to have a gun because it says so" argument?

Let's start with gun control.  Is it just me or does it seem a bit odd that regular people across the USA feel the need to own a semi-automatic military grade rifle?  What on earth are you using that for?  If you say "hunting deer" then I say you may as well pull a Dick Cheney and just ride around drunk in the back of a van because there is no "sport" in shooting ten rounds a second at an indefensible animal.  I'd also like to note that I would far prefer the "best armed" people remain police officers and military personnel.  There is no way to feel more "safe" than to keep heavy artillery in the hands of just those who are charged with protecting our well-being.

Okay, so now we've got the crazy guns restricted.  What about the rest of them?  Unfortunately, the second amendment exists and while it's hundreds of years old and really refers to militias (which, from what I can tell, aren't all that necessary anymore) and has NO MODERN APPLICATION WHATSOEVER, it exists.  Fine then, you can have your normal-sized non horrific disaster inducing guns but it's going to take a lot longer to get them and it's going to cost you.  Mandatory three-month waiting periods (because who URGENTLY needs a gun?), mental health checks, a unified national background and registry system, and NO EXCEPTIONS, all paid for by the individual who feels they "need" a gun.  Then, when you own it, you are required by law to keep it in a locked gun box.  And no wandering around anywhere with a concealed weapon.  Take that NRA.  We're not taking "reasonable" (their words, NOT MINE) gun rights away, we're just protecting, streamlining, and ensuring the integrity of gun ownership.  Hey, that sounds pretty good.  Somebody write that down.

Now for the last challenge.  This one isn't about laws or restrictions.  It's about the societal shift that must take place where people stop believing that they can only feel safe if they have a gun and that "gunning up" - giving more people guns to offset the crazies who have guns - leads to the exact opposite of what you want.  Every other developed country ON EARTH has stricter gun laws that take control of the gun ownership process but they also have a deep-seeded cultural belief that guns make things more deadly and less safe, with all evidence supporting this "off the wall" theory.

So where do we begin?  By starting to talk about how guns don't make you safer.  By deciding that we'd rather the people best "armed" are those who protect and preserve and even if every Tom, Dick, and Harry has - thanks to the second amendment - the "right" to own a gun they can only get one once we as a society have decided that they have waited long enough, are mentally sound, and committed financially to the process.

Come on Mr. President.  Lets take the lead on this one.  We're with you.


Kyle Taylor