Every time there is a mass shooting, the National Rifle Association, Fox News Channel, right wing radio loudmouths and the GOP say, “Now is not the time to talk about gun control.” They claim that doing so would be disrespectful to the victims.
Seriously? Talking about measures to prevent more victims is disrespectful?
Given that we’ve just experienced yet another mass shooting, this time in an elementary school, I think any reasonable person will now admit that the time to talk about guns is finally here! When small children, teachers and school administrators are targeted, we must finally examine the role of guns in a civilized society.
To start the conversation, allow me to make a few observations:
1 – Outside our military, no one in the US needs a military-style assault rifle. These weapons have no purpose other than to kill people.
2 – Almost no one needs to carry a handgun. Handguns are virtually useless as a means of defense. If an attacker is armed, and has his weapon drawn, it’s already too late to draw your own weapon. Moreover, if you’re carrying a handgun, you may be all too tempted to use it; in a fit of anger; in a personal crisis; or in a moment of fear.
3 – Guns in the home are only useful for defense if they are readily accessible. However, if they are easily available for the adults who own them, they are also available to children in the home.
4 – Guns are far too easily obtained by the criminally insane. Any non-felon can walk into a gun shop and purchase as many guns and as much ammunition as he can afford. The only regulation is that the buyer pass a quick background check. Worse yet, anyone can purchase guns and ammunition at one of thousands of gun shows without any restriction at all! (40 percent of guns are purchased this way.) It’s time to change the gun show exemption.
5 – A national registry of the owners of handguns and assault weapons is not a threat to anyone’s freedom, except those intent on causing harm. There are far too many guns in the hands of US citizens for any “black-shirted anti-second amendment thugs” to take them away from us. The benefits of being able to quickly and easily track guns used in the commission of a crime far outweighs any potential inconvenience to the gun owners.
6 – Dramatically reducing the sale of handguns, assault weapons and large capacity magazines will eventually be rewarded with fewer mass shootings. It may take a while, but it will gradually take these weapons of choice out of the hands of the criminally insane.
As important as reducing the availability of weapons that have no purpose other than to kill people is the need to moderate our national paranoia. Despite claims by the far right, the UN is not going to take away our freedoms. And given our enormous military budget, we have no one to fear but ourselves.