I feel like a BROKEN RECORD. Every time a mass shooting happens, politicians wax hot about who is the first and last to blame guns. I just read the article about Florida student Emma Gonzales saying “we call BS” to lawmakers, and you know what? She is right, though it takes a careful step to actually usher in real change.
I have been a law abiding gun owner for many years. I always respect the firearms, either for hunting or recreation. Yes I had proper training, and YES I strongly believe that our laws require fixing. From having lived in the “American gun culture” for so many years, I also know that in order to effectively do that, we will have to **GASP** use our brains, and compromise in order to make progress.
I am about to summarize the most important things I have figured out from inside American gun culture that should help, but alas I am a broken record. I have previously sent this info to President Obama, President Trump, and even Hillary during the campaign. I have sent this to my congressman and my state Reps. You know what — I have NEVER ONCE received an answer from any one of them. Because they are too busy to care about one person’s opinion. Unless I donate millions of dollars maybe…
We need to teach our children more about respecting life than about having the power to take it.
Ok, here is some evolved thinking from talking to a LOT of people:
1. Too many American people will never accept the “you are not allowed to have xxx gun”
This is reality. If you say “you can’t have x” then there will be massive blow back. So you have to think about a better way. Yelling about how you want to take something away from people who think they should be allowed to have it will never end well. Whether you want to believe it or not, the truth is that the good law abiding citizens aren’t the real problem with the guns. Of course that doesn’t mean that there should be so many guns, or that it should be so easy to get them.
2. The way to get the illegal guns off the street is NOT a gun ban or a gun grab
People with illegal guns don’t care about your laws. In fact, it just means that they will make more money by selling it illegally to somebody else. Illegal = more valuable on the street, where we care about controlling guns the most. In fact, Bill Clinton’s Assault Weapons Ban actually increased demand for assault weapons.
The way you CAN help with legislature is to make it prohibitively difficult to acquire new firearms and control the volume of sales. What does this mean from a practical perspective? Make a 30, 60 or 180 day waiting period. Tax ammo higher. If you are a law abiding citizen who has a legitimate reason for owning a firearm and will use it responsibly, then even a 6 month waiting period shouldn’t be a problem at all. If it IS a problem to you, then I propose that you may have a bad attitude about firearms, and don’t really respect the power that comes with the 2nd amendment.
A fair way to compromise and prevent ever increasing floods of firearms into people’s hands is to START by reducing the quantity. This is a way to avoid saying “no” and still start making a difference.
3. The way to get rid of the ILLEGAL guns is to make them WANT to give them up
This is not rocket science. In fact many other countries, and even many states in the US have tried to do gun buy back programs. Some were successful, some were not. So its quite easy to get creative to make it more successful. Make a VOLUNTARY buyback program and OFFER MORE MONEY. If that illegal gun is hiding away and is worth 3x what you paid for it, you better believe a lot of them will get traded in for the cash. Then a year later, offer ANOTHER buy back program for double the amount. Then keep trying. A third, fourth and more. Expensive? Yep. But what are lives worth? Even if the politicians refuse to put a dollar amount on an innocent life lost to gun violence, they can’t argue the taxpayer value of somebody who LIVES, and will continue to work and pay taxes. That might sting a little bit, but sorry, reality can hurt.
4. GUN CULTURE is the real enemy
Everybody keeps trying to treat the symptom. If you never fix the root problem, nothing ever changes. In America, we GLORIFY violence and firearms. The AR-15 is a “tactical black rifle” — and is marketed and portrayed as the coolest thing a kid could ever get his hands on. I know because I grew up in the same culture, and had the same giddy feeling when I finally put my hands on the coolest weapon ever, regardless of the fact that it is ugly and not practical. We glorify guns in TV shows, movies, video games, toys and more. Maybe some of it is harmless, but honestly, we totally went over the edge and lost control at some point in time. How deep and scary these problems are is subjective, but it IS THE ROOT PROBLEM. We need to change how we portray weapons. We need to teach our children more about respecting life than about having the power to take it.
It isn’t hard to START helping the problem — and it IS irresponsible to keep ignoring it. There is a way to meet the American people where they need to be met to introduce change. It won’t be fast or cheap. But making big change is never easy. Also, big change never happens unless you start.
So now, how will these ideas ever matter? I don’t know. How does one get the attention of the people that matter in the world? Because I’ve been talking for years and nobody seems to care. Anybody out there hearing me ? Social media is powerful, but it seems to only work if you already know people with power. Mr. President, congressmen, and representatives of the federal government, this isn’t my first time sharing this info… does my voice matter? I fear that it doesn’t, because I am a broken record, even though I want to help and care about life.