It’s no revelation that the United States is a nation of guns. Liberal as I am, I like guns. I’ve shot guns, and I’ve owned a gun. However, there is a definite line between what I believe, and what most conservative gun nuts believe.
First of all, there is absolutely no reason in the world that the unregulated public should be allowed to own more than a hand gun or hunting rifle. The AR-15 for example, the mass shooters weapon of choice, can be bought for as little as $600 at any gun show, or even at Walmart. It’s light weight, and can fire up to 8 rounds per second. It was used in the Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernadino, and Aurora shootings. It was designed in the 1950’s, and has been a military weapon of choice ever since. It’s sole purpose is to kill as many people as possible, in as short of time as possible. No one who is not in the armed forces or a police force has any business owning such a weapon. The scary thing is, it is estimated that there are millions of such weapons in the hands of private owners in the U.S. To paraphrase one of my regular blog commenters, it puts America at the mercy of any crazed, one man militia. That’s a sobering thought, and it makes me not want to leave the house-ever.
Second, mandatory background checks and weapons training is not a bad thing. We have to go through training and testing to drive a car. For CDL-A truck drivers, testing and training is even more rigorous. Hell, we have to go through background checks and drug testing just to get a job. Why are there no uniform laws when it comes to buying a gun? In the case of Omar Mateen, a man who was on the FBI radar not once, but twice, he easily bought an assault rifle shortly before his attack on the Pulse Night Club. This is due to the fact that Florida has some of the most lax gun laws in the country. Don’t let the gun nuts fool you: They claim that less guns equal more crime. However, when you combine the 2013 FBI crime statistics, the last full year of statistics available, with gun laws by state, the opposite is true. The homicide rate in states with tighter gun laws is 4.32 per 100,00 people, while the homicide rate in states with looser gun laws is 5.74 per 100,00, based on those 2013 statistics.
Third, is open carry and concealed carry. This isn’t the wild west folks. Unless you’re law enforcement, there is absolutely no reason to be walking around with a side arm strapped to your hip, or under your jacket. I live in Kentucky, an open carry state, and I never felt safe when someone with a side arm walked into the kwickie mart that I worked at. Open carry and concealed carry doesn’t prevent trouble in my opinion, it invites it. Omar Mateen had a license for concealed carry: Does that make you feel safe?
Fourth, the 2nd Amendment is vaguely worded, and was written at a time when all there were only single shot, front loading weapons. Our founding fathers wrote this amendment thinking that it was good for every able bodied man to have a musket ready to form a state militia at a moment’s notice. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be happy, if they knew that most people think the 2nd Amendment give us the right to carry military grade weapons with little to no regulation. On two separate occasions, once in the 1930’s, and again during the Bush II presidency, a conservative Supreme Court stated that the 2nd Amendment didn’t provide for what kind of weapons, nor the processes of buying such weapons. They in fact ruled that state and federal government had the authority to decide on what we could own, and the manner in which we could own.
In my opinion, guns like most things in life, are ok in moderation. There is nothing wrong with owning a hand gun, or a deer rifle. However, guns in the wrong hands are obviously deadly, particularly military grade guns. There needs to be uniform, tightly restrictive laws in place concerning what we can own, and how we own them. As heinous as these mass shootings are, there are still by far more hand gun deaths per year in this country. This is mainly because there is easy access for any whack job, or owners simply aren’t responsible with them. There need to be background checks, there need to be mandatory training programs. Hell, I’m all for psychological exams before buying a gun. In addition, no more open/concealed carry for an unregulated populace.
However, gun violence in this country has gotten out of hand a long time ago, and we can’t continue to wring our hands and offer prayers for the dead and injured. We just can’t. If all else fails, then I say fuck it and strike the 2nd amendment from the Constitution, NRA be damned. I would rather be a country of no guns, than a country full of mass murdering yahoos with axes to grind, even if i do like to pop off a round or six every now and then.
One more thing. I found this interesting: A list of Senators who voted against the last round of gun legislation. I’m betting the NRA expressed their gratitude in the form of good sized donations to each and every one of them. Maybe instead of offering prayers for the dead, they could offer votes for the living. I’m just saying.