13 THOUGHTS ON GUNS FROM THE COASTAL ELITE
These days it seems like the pendulum is swinging more firmly in one direction on guns in this country. And that can be frustrating for progressives who feel like they’re fighting a losing battle. Even still, one can’t help but wonder if there is still common ground that can be found on this issue.
Without further ado, here are thirteen randomly assorted points that deserve some thought…
We must get past the point in this debate where “gun control” automatically means that someone is coming for your guns. How can we have an honest conversation when that’s where everyone who owns guns takes it right away? The gun lobby wants you to believe that leftists like me are coming for your guns, because that’s how they shut down the conversation. And that’s how they raise money for the cause.
It is possible to find a middle ground in this debate, but only if we are allowed to have the debate in the first place.
We do not afford the same rights black or brown people as we do to white. The Philando Castile shooting proved that in a very tragic (still all too common) way. Where were all the 2nd amendment people and the NRA when they saw a legal gun owner murdered by a police officer for doing what he was told to do? In the same situation, had he been white, wouldn’t it be fair to assume they would have responded loud and clear?
What does freedom mean? How do we square one person’s rights against that of another if the two are at odds? If you are free to bear arms, why aren’t I free to live a life unafraid of being shot? Is your right to bear arms on the same level as my right to live?
Our American exceptionalism dictates that we cannot take good examples from other countries. Otherwise we would see what should be obvious by now, that this is the only country where this keeps happening. The US has under 5% of the world’s population, yet 42% of civilian-own guns. And our homicide rate is out of control compared to other industrialized nations — 6x higher than Canada, 15x higher than Germany. Societies with more guns have more gun deaths. Societies with fewer guns have fewer gun deaths. Which do we want to be?
The good guy with a gun theory is ridiculous, another one of the lies peddled by the gun rights lobby. “The solution to gun deaths, more guns,” they say. But we have the data to show that more guns do not make us any safer. Colombia has more guns per capita than the United States. Are they the hallmark of safety?
I admit that there are a number of individual cases in which someone’s life was saved because there was an officer or citizen with a gun who was in the right place at the right time. But those are the exceptions that prove the rule, and don’t match the larger trend.
The common argument that criminals will always be able to get guns because they don’t follow the laws is only true if we don’t deal with the issue of guns in the first place. We make it so easy to get guns now no matter who you are. If that weren’t the case, it would be a lot harder for criminals to get guns. Again, all we need to do is look outside the US at other Western societies that don’t see nearly as many gun deaths to prove this point. I don’t think that is because they have fewer criminals.
Mass shootings bring the subject of guns to the forefront, but they are not the whole story. And by focusing only on them, we ignore the larger issue. There are more than 30,000 gun deaths in this country each year. Mass shootings make up a tiny slice of the pie. The biggest slice is suicides, which account for more than 2/3rds of all gun deaths. Making guns easier to get means more people use them to harm themselves.
Just because you support gun control does not mean you are anti gun-owner. This debate turns into us versus them, with individuals’ way of life on the line. The NRA this week proved that they are in the business of “us versus them” marketing. It’s good for business.
See #1. We are not taking your guns away, just arguing for some common sense regulation.
The gun lobby is so entrenched in our government that we are not even allowed to spend money to study the issue of guns. This a public health issue, and the government must be involved. We all expect the government to help keep us safe. The government talks about its role in helping deal with major risks to our lives — things like terrorism, obesity, cancers, and motor vehicles. Why not guns?
People who use guns for a living undergo extensive training on how to use them safely and effectively. Why don’t we require that same level of training for regular citizens? It seems we are already admitting that these things are dangerous and operating them requires specific know-how. But then we freely sell guns to people without it. Why?
I admit that it is impossible for me to guess how the writers of the 2nd amendment would respond to today’s gun culture. But gun rights activists must also admit that it is impossible for them to do the same. Nobody can put themselves into the writers’ minds and say with any certainty whether they would be in favor of the current lack of any gun control in this country. But one thing is certain, things today are different than they were when the amendment was written. Advances in gun technology has made killing far easier. And for that reason, we should look for new interpretations of the language.
There are legitimate reasons to own a gun. It’s not reasonable to expect everyone to view the choice of whether or not to buy a gun the same way. We choose based on our situation in life, where we live, what we have to protect, what we’re passionate about. But if the reason you own a gun is for self-protection, is it not reasonable to admit that if we made it harder for people who should not have guns to get them, then the need to own one yourself would go down? You might still choose to own one, which is fine. But you’d be safer either way because of the law.
I will never be able to convince you with my words. No mass shooting or atrocity will be able to convince you, as we have seen. But we’ve tried it one way for a long time. We have let the gun lobby write the rules and we know where it has gotten us.
Why don’t we just put it to an honest test? What if we just decide ass a series of gun reforms on a temporary basis, say five years.
- Close loopholes in the background check system
- Get rid of concealed carry laws
- Outlaw automatic and semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines
- Offer a financial incentive to turn in legally owned guns
- Don’t allow people charged with domestic abuse to own guns
- Create a government-funded gun safety commission to study and review these reforms and their impacts
If we do that and things don’t get better, if gun deaths don’t go down, then the laws are automatically repealed and we’ll go right back to the way things are today. How is that?
If you are a supporter of tighter gun control, here are a few organizations to consider supporting: