Enough with the Guns Already

Guns in AmericaLast night, ten miles from my home, a disturbed young man walked into a movie theater and started shooting into a crowd. As of now, 12 people are dead and 38 are wounded. While it was not in my neighborhood, it is one I know well. I have seen movies at the Century 16 Theater in the past and it is across the street from my Dad’s office.

Why?

Like in 1999, when two kids walked into their high school and started shooting students and teachers in the lunch room and library, murdering 13 innocent people, the first thing we asked is why.

Why did someone find it necessary to murder 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999, and why did someone find it necessary to murder 12 people last night? Why did someone think it was their right to take an innocent life? Why did someone think it is their last resort? Why did someone think it was the right thing to do? Why the pointless killings?

Guns

As angry as I am at the individuals responsible, this country’s asinine gun control laws certainly make it easier for someone to kill.

I could walk into a store and buy an M-16 automatic assault rifle. For only $729, I  can walk into Cabela’s and buy an AR-15. The popular M4 variation fires .233 caliber bullets faster than one every second.

You don’t need an automatic murder rifle to hunt deer. You don’t need to fire more than one bullet every second to hunt deer. You don’t need an AR-15 assault rifle to hunt deer. You don’t need an M-4, M-16, AK-47, Tech 9, or any other automatic weapon to hunt deer. Those weapons were designed for one thing, to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

The Second Amendment

The next person that brings up the Second Amendment when discussing this deserves to be punched in the face. The Second Amendment was written long before these murderous weapons were designed that can kill so many people so quickly.

The intent of the amendment was to allow citizens to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. That was a relevant fear at the time, as the Bill of Rights was signed on the heels of the Revolutionary War, a war uprising against a tyrannical ruling king on the other side of the world.

Today, however, things have changed. As much as many of you may hate Barack Obama, he is not going to oppress you and enslave you. As much as I hated George W. Bush as president, I was not concerned for my safety and well-being, nor that of any fellow law abiding American citizens.

Time for Change

Need I remind you that at the time the Second Amendment was written, slavery was legal. Women could not vote. Unless you were a white, property owning male, you were a second class citizen.

As repulsive as those cultural norms were at that time, our antiquated gun laws are today.

I do not propose banning all firearms. While I do not believe in it, I do not wish to prevent people from going hunting. I see no reason a mentally healthy, law abiding Americans shouldn’t be able to buy a single action rifle for hunting and “self-defense” purposes, though it is statistically more likely for that weapon to cause an injury at home than successfully defend you against an intruder.

The only reason automatic weapons exist is to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Those should be illegal. Handguns that can be easily concealed in a pocket or waistband are not necessary either, outside of law enforcement.

We need to move on from our old, violent ways toward a future that can be safer and better for all of us.

I know there are detractors that say a bad guy can get a gun anyway. Maybe that’s true, but we don’t have to make it easy on them.

Take Action

If you are as sickened by these events as I am, please join me in taking action. Don’t just complain on the internet, contact your senators and house representatives in Washington or your state legislators and implore them to take action against dangerous gun ownership.

We should pause and think about the victims and their families, and do everything we can to support them. But don’t let them die in vain. Let’s use this moment as one for action to make America better tomorrow.

Image by Marcin Wichary / flickr

Comments

  1. Matt says

    I wonder if one person in that theather had a concealed handgun, how many lives would not have been lost…it’s a debate that will probably never be resolved, but I believe it to be a very interesting “what if” question.

    • says

      If someone did have a gun in that theater, I think it would have been worse. In a dark, chaotic room full of smoke and teargas, a good Samaritan would have been likely to kill more people though accidental friendly fire.

      • JustGeorge says

        Was it smoke or teargas or both? How many Samaritans, good or otherwise, were in attendance? Is it still friendly fire if it’s accidental? Wouldn’t that be more along the lines of negligent rather than accidental? I’ve always found incoming fire to be rather indifferent.

        Is it true that he left the rifle because it malfunctioned? Why didn’t he use his pre-med chemistry knowledge to make a more dangerous weapon, he already had a gas mask.

  2. Josh says

    Politicians talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. Sure, the presidential candidates suspended their campaigns today but come Monday they will be back on the campaign trail. A week from now Romney will be in London for the Olympics and he will care less about gun reform.

    • says

      That is why it is so important for the voters to keep the issue alive. We should focus on Congress first. That is where change will have to come from.

  3. says

    1. If you don’t think a risk of tyranny is still relevant, I don’t know what world you’re living in. Hello, Egypt? Syria? Dare I say… United States? Tyranny of the majority is alive and well in America.

    2. You said it yourself, the bad guys can get guns anyway. If guns didn’t exist in this world, they’d just use explosives and other weapons. It’s not the guns, dummy.

    3. You can not buy a fully automatic weapon in the United States. Period. What you are looking at at Cabela’s are semi-automatic rifles.

    4. I would like to see the source for this statistic that more people hurt themselves with their guns than they do protect themselves. Even if it is from an accurate, unbiased source, I’d say there’s a pretty damn good chance it would be due to lack of proper training which could be directly associated with the overwhelming anti-gun stigma in this country.

    5. Handguns are absolutely necessary, so that when we find ourselves in such unfortunate situations, WE AT LEAST HAVE A CHANCE. What do you want me to do, carry a cop around piggy-back?

    5a. Dr. Suzanna Hupp was *there* at the time of Luby’s massacre in 1991. Both of her parents were killed. She had a gun, but left it in her car, as that was the law at the time. Know what the Texas legislature did after Luby’s? *Four* years later (thus negating any quick, emotional, rushed legislation immediately in the wake of such an event), with the help of Hupp’s lobbying, they passed a shall-issue law for concealed carry licenses, so that people CAN protect themselves.

    6. These things happen extremely rarely, yet all the anti-gun folks want to overreact every time it does and blame the guns. You know how often law-abiding citizens successfully protect life and property with guns? A hell of a lot more often, but how often do you see that on national TV for a week? You don’t.

    7. The problem isn’t guns. The problem is the bad guys. The problem is the mental health system (NIMH funding keeps going down, and down, and down). Try focusing on the CAUSE for a change instead of the METHOD and you might actually make some progress.

  4. JW @ AllThingsFinance says

    I agree that some guns, such as fully automatics, have no practical value. However, I own a handgun and believe that people should have the right to do so. Criminals will always have a way to access weapons and owning one myself provides security in my home.

    • says

      I don’t agree that criminals will always be able to access weapons. There are some that might be able to, but many more that we can prevent.

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