I’m going out on a limb here, but I am soooo tired of the inflammatory rhetoric on both sides of this issue. I think it’s damned well time I try to inject a little common sense here.
I’m really tempted to rant at both sides individually, but I believe I’ll lose most readers so let’s skip the rant and get to the fixes. Novel concept in today’s society, eh?
First, you can’t confiscate everybody’s guns. Period. It’s morally and legally wrong to hold 43% of the US population accountable for the actions of a handful of lunatics.
Second, the existing laws have to be better enforced. In so many cases, there were processes that failed when they shouldn’t have, law enforcement agencies that dropped the ball regarding reports and warnings, etc… What good does making a new, stricter rule do if it’s also going to fail to be executed properly? You have to fix what’s broken to build newer systems on top of it. That’s just common sense.
Yes, We NEED New Laws Also… Better background checks that are collaborated between agencies so things are not missed. I’m very open to reasonable increases in restrictions also. Maybe waiting periods like here in California, with exceptions if an applicant can show a legitimate need for protection (domestic violence separation for example)
Red Flag Laws. I’ve been saying for YEARS we need these. I’m so pissed off at the gun lobby and the far right for saying that they wont work and saying that they’ll be used to arbitrarily take innocent people’s guns away. Don’t tell me it can’t be done! Find a way to make it work and set up processes to protect the rights of people who might be falsely accused. It’s WAY past time we got the guns out of the hands of mental defectives.
Mental health in General: This country has swung from the extreme of persecuting and in some cases torturing the mentally ill to the opposite extreme of excusing everything they do in the name of false compassion (ie enabling). It’s time to find a reasonable, compassionate middle ground. People who struggle with issues like depression who aren’t a danger and deserve our compassion and understanding. If somebody is a violent psychotic though, I want them locked up in a mental institution! It’s not prison, it’s having the compassion to protect them and others from their violent tendencies. Yes, we need to make sure said institutions are run in a way that gives patients human dignity also.
Quit Glorifying These Shooters and Giving Them Press! Far too many of these people leave some sort of statement or manifesto behind that they want to be famous, often like some other shooter or movie character. The Aurora Colorado theater shooter wanted to be The Joker. See above mental illness and red flag paragraphs there. If these folks know that their faces will never be shown and their names will never be spoken by the media in any way, they lose alot of incentive.
Gun Show & Private Sale Loopholes: Sorry, it’s not popular with other gun owners, but these need to be closed to prevent psychos from getting around checks. Gun shows dealers can set up background checks on wifi enabled laptops and private sales can be brokered though a licensed gun dealer like here in California.
Friends and Family of Shooters: Another one that’s likely to ruffle some feathers. Too many times though, these folks have gotten guns from family members either willfully or because they weren’t secured properly. If that’s the case during a shooting, the friend or family member should be tried as a co-conspirator. Harsh? No, it’s taking securing your weapons seriously. Understand however, I would NOT apply this to anyone who did make a real attempt to secure their guns (locked in a safe), and the shooter still got them. It’s a sticky subject, but people have to start being held accountable for their actions.
STOP THE HATE: This goes for more than both sides of the gun debate. There are so many issues, causes and beliefs out there than have taken to vilifying anyone who disagrees with any part of their dogma. Hate and fear are damned near a universal tactic now. It DOESN’T help the cause, it just makes you look bad, and undermines the cause. That’s true no matter how righteous you think your cause is. Worse, this kind of constant bombardment of hate, fear and negativity does take a toll on the human psyche.
Stop the Political Bullshit: Plain enough? Yes, there are almost as many extremists involved in these shootings as there are just plain crazy folks. Most are alt right, a fair number are also far left, like the Washington DC congressional softball team shooter. It’s NOT a left vs right thing, except for politicians trying to exploit this for their own power gain (and ONLY that). A comprehensive solution will take admitting shooters come in all flavors of mentally ill.
Responsible Gun Ownership: Gun owners, if you want your rights protected, you have to start putting your foot down when a fellow gun owner acts like a jackass. The guy who waltzed into a Walmart a few weeks back wearing body armor and carrying multiple weapons… Not to shoot anybody, but to show he had a right to bear arms. This isn’t protecting your rights, it’s trying to intimidate those who disagree with you and only makes people who fear guns further believe that gun owners are psycho.
This includes shutting down the idiots on YouTube that make videos glorifying destructive and dangerous gun use. Blowing up SUVs loaded with BBQ propane tanks for example (yes I’ve seen it). For every one of those videos, there are 10 more safely demonstrating how to use a specific gun, or how much penetration another gun has via shooting at wood or metal fixed targets. I’m fine with those. The rest of my fellow gun owners have to realize that these other bad apples are dragging you down with them. You can cut them loose or go down with them.
Gun Mentality Education: We need some sort of a public service campaign to change the mindset of people. Guns do not make you macho. They are also not self automated killing machines or tools of evil that possess their victims and prompt them to murder. A gun is a dangerous tool that needs to be respected. It has multiple uses including hunting and amateur and professional target shooting as well as self defense.
Improve Police Response Times: Yes this is a VERY real issue. It literally takes over 7 hours to get a police unit dispatched in my city sometimes. If you want people to feel safe in giving up their guns, they have to believe that when they need protection, the police will be there in minutes, not hours.
Punishment for Shooters: The draconian side of me says execute them right on the scene. Treat them as domestic terrorists as the Trump administration has started to do sounds good too (off to Gitmo), but there’s a question in both cases of suspension of constitutional protections. Once anybody starts losing those, it’s all bad. At the very least however, I’d make sure they spend their lives in solitary confinement and never get to become a celebrity inside prison or out… or even talk to another human being again. Execution should definitely be a possibility for them too. If they don’t respect life, there’s no reason we should respect theirs.
Alot of what I said came down “against” my fellow gun owners. I’m very second amendment, but we have to realize that all freedoms are balanced by responsibilities. We can’t yell fire in a crowded theater despite having freedom of speech. If we’re not willing to take reasonable steps to protect the public from the bad apples among us, we’re ALL going to lose our rights. Let’s do something now that weeds those folks out while protecting our rights.
You folks on the other side of this issue… I said it at the start of this post. When you condemn almost half of the population of the country for the actions of a few, you lose any pretense of the moral high ground and turn those people against any ideas you might have. It’s human nature.
My advice to you? Talk like human beings. Realize that people have valid reasons for owning guns. Collecting for investment, farmers protecting livestock from predators, women fleeing abusive relationships, people who sport target shoot, hunters in poor rural areas trying to feed their families, etc…
Education is the antidote to all fear also. Learn about guns, if only to discuss and debate more intelligently. Properly respected and handled, a gun is no more dangerous than a kitchen knife. Target shooting at a range is intimidating at first, but can be fun. You also learn things like an assault rifle is not a machine gun. It’s a class of rifle under 5 feet in length that came into existence around or after World War 1 when armies were finding their 6 foot long rifles impractical for fighting in tight spaces. The civilian copies are not the same as the military versions either. I’m not specifically defending assault rifle ownership here. I *am* saying understanding makes them a little less intimidating and you able to better discuss the issue.
Help promote the idea of responsible gun ownership also. Speak out against extremists groups. Remind responsible gun owners not to approve of the conduct of people with a Rambo mentality. Urge gun owners to keep their guns secured properly. And let them know you appreciate those who do it right. You’ll gain alot more allies than you will by kicking people in the teeth.
All that said, I’m done on this topic. I’m leaving the comments off with this topic because I know I’m going to have infuriated the extremist idiots on both sides of this issue. Most of them are also trolls with exceedingly poor reading comprehension who will take everything out of context as well. That’s if they just don’t blatantly lie about what I said. Ergo, no comments.
If you read and liked this at all, feel free to hit the like button or reblog me. If you disagreed, that’s fine also. Let’s just simply leave it at we respect each other’s right to their own opinion and keep things friendly.