I have opinions. I like having opinions. I really like screaming about my opinions and my favoritest thing in the world is telling you how stupid your opinion is. None of this is news to anyone who knows me, reads this blog, or is married to me. However, every once in a while, an issue presents itself to me that is so cloudy and polarizing, that even I cannot quite convince myself of what I think I believe. This is one of those issues. Maybe you can help…
I am not, nor have I ever been, a “gun” guy. I’ve never held a gun, shot a gun or owned a gun. I know nothing about the different classifications of guns and I don’t get all giddy about caliber, rounds per minute, or clip size. I don’t hunt. I don’t shoot skeet. I don’t feel that keeping a gun in my house would bolster the security in my house.
What does this all mean? Well, it means that I can admit that my opinion is not an informed one. So I am going to ask some questions. None of them are rhetorical. Feel free to chime in. I am also going to include some responses I have seen and heard since late Friday night (We all know what happened. No reason to rehash it here.) from gun enthusiasts who I have engaged in conversation on the issue. Make no mistake, I have an opinion and I am going to make it clear. I will not, however, tell you that you are an idiot for telling me I’m wrong. Since I am so naive on the subject, all I can tell you is that I know what I feel about guns.
OK. Here goes:
I would have absolutely no problem if guns were outlawed in this country. All guns. Big ones, little ones, I don’t give a shit. I have yet to hear a truly compelling argument that gun ownership should remain a right in this country. There. I said it. Maybe the best way to do this is to start with the arguments that have been made for gun ownership, and deal with them one by one.
I need a gun to protect my family.
OK. Noble reason, no doubt. Yet statistically, your family is not safer with a gun in the house. In fact, they may be more at risk. According to an Oxford University study, people who live in a house where a gun is kept face higher occurrences of homicide and suicide than a house without one. (Website here.)
Criminals will still find ways to get guns even if they are outlawed
Well, if you believe that, it is important to add three key words to that sentence. It should read “Criminals in this country will still find ways to get guns even if they were outlawed.” It’s an important addendum, because that statement would only be true of criminals in this country. Take a look at countries with iron-clad gun regulations (I.E Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, France). There gun death rates are not only lower, but infinitesimally smaller. In the year 2007, England had 59 gun fatalities. A total of 59. (BBC statistics here) Any guess how many we had? 31,224. So criminals in those other countries are, in fact, NOT getting there hands on guns, despite the strong anti-gun legislation. So I am left wondering: Are our criminals more resourceful than those in other countries? Are our law enforcement agencies less capable of enforcing laws than they are in other countries? Gives new meaning to “American Exceptionalism”, doesn’t it?
And even if it is true that bad guys will still get guns, no matter what we do, it shouldn’t mean we make it easier for them. Iran is going to kill Jews, no matter what we do to prevent it. So, using your logic, why are we trying so hard to prevent them from going nuclear? In fact, why not sell them a bomb? Might as well make some money off of it.
The constitution guarantees me the right to possess a gun!
Yeah, well it also gave me the right to own black people and extended the right to vote only to white men. Yet, eventually, we realized that the time for those rights was over, and no longer appropriate for modern times. Maybe the Second Amendments time has come.
Finally, I saw this absolute fucking nonsense on Facebook the other day:
For those that may not know, the AR-15 was the weapon that did most of the damage in Aurora last week. So maybe someone out there can explain to me which category it fit into that night. A target rifle? A “Family Fun” rifle? (Which is my personal favorite by the way. What, did the dice go missing from the Monopoly box again?) A hunting rifle? No. It was none of those. Those poor bastards in Colorado were “assaulted” on Friday night, so excuse the shit out of me, but the AR-15 was an “assault rifle” on that particular night. To say it was anything else is a fucking insult to the 71 people who bled on that theater floor. Including the six-year-old fucking girl who was killed. Oh and if you need a weapon like this to kill deer, you are a piss poor fucking hunter.
Now, having said all of this, I remind you: I am still in the process of learning what I can about this. I know I am reacting emotionally after a horrific tragedy that will resonate with us for a long time, and it may be clouding my judgement. I am typically a Libertarian who wants the government out of my life as much as possible, but I am having trouble supporting this. So please, gun folks, tell me why I’m wrong. Tell me why your right to own a gun should outweigh that little girls right to breathe…