Monday, December 17, 2012

The Gun Conversation

Why are we still having this conversation? Why are we still debating whether we should regulate assault and military style (whatever that is) weapons and limit large purchases of ammunition? Why are we still beholden to an organization that believes that the United States Constitution guarantees an unlimited, unfettered, absolute right to a gun, despite a giant clause at the beginning of the Second Amendment that clearly refers to  militias? Do we have absolute free speech rights? Religious rights? Rights to assembly? No. These are all regulated activities. We need to regulate guns.

I've read the arguments about how a weapons ban or more regulation would not have stopped this horrific shooting. I've listened and watched as talking head after talking head drones on about how politically difficult it is for a Democratic president to pursue controls on weapons because it would be political death.

I've had conversations in person and on social media with people for whom their weapon seems to be their most cherished possession.

"If they come for my gun I'll give them the bullets first!"
"Over my dead body!"
"From my cold dead hands!"
"First it's my gun, then they'll come for my house and my family!"
"What we need is for every teacher and principal to be trained in how to use a gun and to be issued one for their classroom."

Clearly I don't understand the mania, the attachment, the fear, the anger, and the entitlement that many people have with their guns. I'm not advocating taking anyone's gun away who can't prove that they're responsible enough to carry one. I'm questioning the idea that we don't have to ask more questions, or do more background checks or limit what kind of gun people can buy and how much ammunition they can get at one time. There are responsible ways to do this. We regulate so many things in our society from marriage to driver's to pet licenses, from who can be a teacher and a police officer to how fresh the meat and dairy has to be in our food stores.

But guns? Weapons that can destroy lives? Kill children? Apparently not more than the way we regulate them now, despite the fact that the system doesn't work. When a system doesn't work and results in people's deaths, you fix it. That's what we need now.

Are there ways around these proposals? You bet. And people will find them. But the point is to put them in place and see how they work because what we have now has led to one of the bloodiest, tragic, heartbreaking years this country has seen in quite a while. Gun deaths are preventable. Let's prevent them.

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