I know I’m not the only person to blog on this topic since the Newtown tragedy happened on Friday. I read in horror as the reports came in on Friday. One thing I haven’t watch a single second of though is the coverage of the victims stories. Some may find that disrespectful, but I can’t bear to humanize them. It may seem wrong to some that they are looked at as just a number. I prefer it that way. Numbers don’t make me cry. Numbers don’t put knots in my stomach. Numbers don’t remind me that those could be my children.
There will be much debate in the coming months about our gun laws. Some will say that we need sensible legislation. Some will say we need to ban handguns and assault weapons. Others will say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Still others will think the answers is more guns not less.
As I look at it there are 3 general options in front of us: (1) We look at this as a series of isolated situations and don’t allow it to impact our legislation at all. (2) We determine that access to guns is an issue and we pass some laws that restrict this to some degree. (3) We determine that more guns in more peoples hands will prevent some of these and move towards less restrictions and more access.
The first option is not really worth discussing because it changes nothing. Why would I be blogging about that?
Let’s look at the second option. Is more guns the answer? Is it possible that a more armed citizenry could have prevented or limited some of the deaths that have resulted from these shootings. The answer is an absolute, yes. Any liberal, gun-control advocate is an idiot if they can’t admit that if guns were allowed at the movie theater in Aurora, or if a teacher or student had a gun at Columbine, Newtown, or Virginia Tech that fewer people probably would have died. That really is common sense. The shooter would absolutely have been subdued quicker and the carnage would have been less severe. So I firmly believe that if we had more people with guns and there were less restrictions on where they could be carried then when these tragedies occurred, there would be fewer deaths.
Now what about option #3? Will some measure of gun-control have an impact on these tragedies? The advocates will say that they will because guns will be less accessible. The gun advocates will cry that limiting access to guns only effects law-abiding citizens from getting them. They say the criminals and mentally unstable will always get access to them. They are correct in that argument.
So in short I do believe that the immediate impact would be more positive by allowing more access to guns than less. And at the same time I think the answer is to have more gun-control laws. This may seem contradictory , but it’s not.
The problem with our culture is that we are always looking for the quick fix. We never think long-term. This is the problem with many of us in our personal lives and it’s a problem with our lawmakers as well. Why are drugs and alcohol such an issue in our society today? It’s proven that excessive drinking damages your liver. It’s proven that drugs kill brain cells. It’s proven that smoking (legal and illegal products) causes lung damage. So why would we do these things? Because right now means way more to us then 10 years from now. We need to stop thinking that way. If we choose option #2 and make guns more accessible for protection then we are falling into that same trap. We have a gun culture in this country that has been cultivated for many years. But it’s taken on a far greater significance in the past 10-15 years. It’s incredibly naive to think that the culture of violence in video games, movies, television, and many other medias has not contributed to the culture we have today, and thus has contributed to the wave of mass shootings. By lessening gun restrictions we are helping to perpetuate this problem. Let’s stop thinking about today and think about tomorrow.
I was always taught that highlighting a problem without proposing a solution is a waste of time. So here is my solution. We should not ban gun ownership. In a free society we have to allow our citizens to reasonably protect themselves and their possessions. The key word in that sentence however is “reasonably”. In my opinion no citizen should be allowed to own a gun that contains more than 6 bullets. These extended magazines, and semi-automatic weapons are excessive. We don’t allow citizens to possess missiles and grenade launchers. So the concept of limiting the firepower a citizen has access to exists. We need to limit the firepower that one has access to. If Nancy Lanza was under this restriction there would be far fewer dead children and grieving families in Newtown. Before purchasing a gun everyone should have to go through a thorough background check, including a psychiatric evaluation. These are the things we can legislate. But the true change in our culture will only come from home. Parents need to stop purchasing shoot-em up video games for their kids. Movie producers need to stop glamorizing gangsters to make a profit. For once let’s all really stand by our statement that we want to leave the world a better place than we found it.