The debate over gun control in our Country continues to sizzle. And, why shouldn't it? We are awash in the blood of gun violence. From the assault on our Congressmen playing softball in a park, to a deranged doctor attacking a hospital, to the assasination of a New York police officer, the number of people killed with a gun is simply staggering: almost 32,000 Americans are killed every year by a gun (these statistics include murders, accidents, and suicides *). And, there are numerous other metrics that simply support the fact that, as a society, we worship guns and violence. NO OTHER country in the world, much less one with the advantages of the U.S., are as ravaged by the use of guns as weapons against one another as we are. As much as music and dance may be rooted in the very ethos of some cultures, the possession of a gun seems to ours: The Congressional Research Service claims that their are 300 million firearms in the U.S. 300 million. That's nearly one gun for every man, woman, and child in the Country.
So, what CAN we do?
First, it must be said that no one is taking anyones guns away. That cat got out of that bag a LONG time ago. I won't even bother to debate the relative merits of the 2nd Amendment. I concede - keep your guns.
However, what I won't give up on is the chance to pass some type of sensible gun control legislation. Because of the power of the NRA and the gun manufacturers, this is, and will continue to be, a tough fight. But, it's one that we can, and MUST win.
A recent debate that I had on Facebook concerning the subject brought out some good points. One friend, a gun enthusiast, pointed out that I called an AR-15, the gun that seems most often used in mass shootings, an assault weapon. He claimed this to be inaccurate in that the AR-15 in only semi-automatic and therefore by definition, does not qualify as an assault weapon. And, technically, he is correct. When I pressed him on the semantics, he noted that for such an important topic it is important to be accurate. To understand weapons, we must acknowledge that they are all not created equal. He went on the use the example of dogs and the breed commonly known as pit bulls. Just like guns, all dogs are not created equal. Yet, as a dog lover, I do not support a ban on ANY dogs, including pit pulls (which is true). What's the difference with guns? As the owner must be ultimately responsible for his animal, the gun owner must be responsible for his weapon.
However, to counter his argument, I pointed out that although still just a dog, the pit bulls' capacity for destruction is considerable. When trained to destroy, they are awesome fighting machines. Therefore, they should only be owned by people who understand the risks, have the capacity to train them properly, and are responsible for keeping them under control. When this is done, they are wonderful companions. But, in the wrong hands, they can be deadly - literally.
So, it is with the AR-15. Yes, it is still just a gun, but it's capacity for destruction is also considerable. In the wrong hands it is an awesome weapon, indeed. Therefore, if they are to be allowed, they should only be owned (like pit bull owners) by those who have the knowledge to handle them and the responsibility to understand their destructive capability. This means EXTREME VETTING and PREREQUISITE TRAINING for ownership. THIS is reasonable gun control.
My friend agreed without further argument.
So, when you think about it, it shouldn't be so hard . . .