Burnard: The gun control debateWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The year has come to a close, and random thoughts occur to me about a year filled with highs and lows. The high point, for me at least, was the return to sanity in the elections after wandering for two years in the Tea Party wilderness. A low point was the gerrymandering that took place after the 2010 census that kept too many of the obstructionist remnants in office, both on the state and federal level. Oh well, maybe 2014 will help things.
The gun debate reared its ugly head following a number of mass shootings. The Newton, Conn., murder of 20 small children and six teachers and school employees has hit a note that appears to have affected the American public more than usual after such an event. The National Rifle Association and the gun lobbyists have struggled to keep their hold on the politicians as public opinion calls for more reasonable gun laws.
Let me say at the outset that I am a gun owner and grew up with guns. At one time, I was even a member of the NRA, before Wayne LaPierre and his ilk turned it from an educational entity that taught gun and hunter safety into a right-wing political movement that subscribes to the belief that the more guns one has, the safer we all are, and that any type of gun should be easily available without any registration or background checks.
I own and have owned a number of guns in my lifetime, both for hunting and sport as well as for personal protection. I believe these are legitimate uses for firearms. I don’t, however, believe that the general public has any need or use for assault weapons or high-volume ammo clips.
No gun I have ever owned was capable of loading more than 10 bullets into it, and most were or are in the three to five range. If you are a hunter, that is more than sufficient. If you need 30-100 or more bullets and an assault rifle to hunt, then you have no business hunting.
If you need those size clips for protection, you should move someplace safer.
If you think you need them to keep the government from taking them away, you are delusional. If the government should ever decide to come for your guns, it’s going to get them, rest assured, even if it has to “pry them from your cold, dead hands” as the saying goes.
No matter how many guns and how much ammo you have, others have more and better ones, so don’t fool yourself. Many of the crimes involving guns were committed by persons who had no business owning guns in the first place.
The Aurora, Colo., gunman had a number of weapons he legally bought along with 6,000 rounds he bought online. That should not be possible with effective background checks, and no one should be able to buy large amounts of ammunition online like that. No one is talking about taking everyone’s guns. Anyone who believes that that is what the discussion is about is delusional.
The standard NRA talking points like “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” miss the point. Any idiot knows it’s not the gun’s fault.
What the discussion is, and should be about, as one post on Facebook said, is about mandatory safety courses for gun owners, more stringent background checks for gun buyers, both from retailers and gun shows, and stronger negligence penalties. It’s about the people who have guns, not the guns.
Better mental health care also plays a significant role in the discussion too, but that’s another column in itself. For now, how about some sane, responsible gun laws? Polls show the public overwhelmingly supports it.
Arming teachers, theater ushers, etc., or posting armed guards everywhere is no answer. That is the definition of a police state, isn’t it? We need a rational discussion now, before any more innocent lives are lost because we’re too afraid to have a meaningful discussion.
Tags: Don Burnard