Thursday, October 12, 2017

You Can't Take Back a Bullet

The beginning—not the only, not the end.
There has been NO END of discussion about gun violence, gun control and gun rights.  That’s good.  That needs to continue happening.  That degree of concern and pressure needs to burn and boil and then hiss on the stovetop.  Out of reading and discussion I finally was able to sum up the bulk of my thoughts on the subject.  To do so, everyone should review and donate to organizations like

tl;dr version: Humans aren't responsible enough to handle firearms.

Caveat: I'm a gun owner. I spent part of my formative years in uber-rural Nevada, and we shot everything all the time.

"No one is saying we should ban all guns."

I am and I have.  Publicly even, on the radio.

Usually, that's a conversation killer, which is why I don't lead with it.  But it's the end position that I'd like to see.

The 2nd Amendment, and in fact the entire Constitution, is not sacrosanct. It’s an excellent document, one of the best, and it’s served us well, but the "Founding Fathers" (whatever that means) understood it was a living document that needed to grow with the times and the country.  They couldn't foresee weapons of mass-death being a thing of the future, or they would have worded #2 less ambiguously. If the only reason we're allowing people to be killed is because it's our god-given, natural right as set forth in the Constitution, then that's where we need to start.
But that's none of my business . . . 

Knives, hammers, baseball bats, beer bottles, chainsaws, and cars all kill people, true. They all have a primary purpose, which isn't murder. They are all regulated and legislated from multiple sides.  A gun’s PRIMARY purpose is to kill. They have a secondary purpose—target shooting—but that's related to the primary purpose, which will make the user a more effective killer.

Mass shootings (however you want to define them) only highlight the problem, underlining it with blood and numbers. Daily, hourly, firearms are being used, intentionally or accidentally, to wound and kill. We, as humans, are simply not responsible enough as a species to be allowed this kind of power and be expected to use it rationally. The NRA has adopted a narrative of national myths to perpetuate this rationale. Instead of being the first in line to adopt regulations for firearm safety (the original goal of the NRA), they stand firmly in the path of any regulations—ANY—no matter how benign, and cry foul, preaching a sermon of fear and distrust. They have been so effective, that we now have penetration of guns on an unprecedented scale—more firearms then people. This means that legal or illegal, if you want a gun, you can get a gun for any reason at almost any time. The reports of the use/misuse of guns to solve "problems" and settle scores is a litany of Biblical proportions. In the only first world country where this kind of event happens regularly, we continually shrug our shoulders and claim "nothing can be done". We wantonly put the power to effect tens, hundreds, thousands and NOW tens-of-thousands of lives into the hands of frightened, panicky, scared, irresponsible, immature, and overly-emotional humans.

False equivalency is false.
As much as I'd like a gun ban, an outright ban is, well, out.  SCOTUS' 2008 interpretation of the application of the 2nd Amendment in DC v Heller pretty much did for that.  Right or wrong, that's the current law, and until SCOTUS gets another swing at it, this is where we stand.

Things the Fed CAN do under current interpretation of 2nd Amendment:

Require background checks for all sales.
Close loopholes on gun show and other "out of the trunk" sales.
Require accidental death/injury insurance.
Require gun safety courses and federally issued licenses.

None of these directly touch guns, only how you go about purchasing and possessing them.

The only additional law I'd like to see would actually touch guns: limit the number of firearms.  The penetration of guns is so vast, that any morning after a heavy wind storm, I have to go kick the AKs and the SIG Sauers off the front lawn so the street sweeper can clean them up. The majority of gun violence is only one or two victims. Right now, legal or illegal, I could get a gun if I really wanted it, and no one would know until it was too late.  That’s the trouble with gun violence, it’s usually only known after it’s too late. With 300 million+ weapons available . . .

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