Gun Thoughts


Guns are a big deal, and increasingly on people's minds, at least online. Seems like there are more and more school shootings, workplace shootings, and so on each year; and seems like there's more kvetching about what should and shouldn't be allowed. I'm not an expert or lawyer or anything, but I do have a decent amount of common sense, and I have thoughts!

I've owned a gun for several years. I have no desire to shoot anyone, and would only do so to preserve life, my own or someone else's, as a last resort. I do not walk around with a gun, as a rule, and I genuinely do not understand why so many feel the need to do so. What is it you think is going down at Target that will require your gun? Especially a rifle.

Statistically, you are safer without a gun in most situations. The presence of a gun drastically increases the chances of accidental shooting and non-accidental shooting (murder/suicide). The known-presence of a gun instantly makes any situation tenser, because, even though it is just a tool, not really any different functionally than a hammer or a saw, it is perceived differently.

As well it should. It is a tool with singular purpose: to kill. I can appreciate that some enjoy hunting; I don't myself, but if you do, and you're not killing an animal just to get your jollies by killing something, and actually eat it, good on ya. Likewise, I appreciate that there can arise situations that are life and death where a gun can mean the difference.

But use your head, people. If you have children, don't keep it loaded and cocked and easy to grab. Yes, an unloaded gun is basically useless, but when you consider the odds of a child shooting someone versus the odds of someone breaking into your home with deadly intent, surely it's not a hard decision to make. If it is, you probably should have neither a child nor a gun.

I also find it interesting that the people I see most vehemently demanding that they be allowed to own whatever kind of gun they want and take it wherever they want, just in case the need to shoot someone arises, of course, are often people who claim to be way into Jesus. (They also tend to be rabidly for the death penalty, but that's another subject.) I don't know that Jesus would be OK with shooting someone in self-defense; I don't know that you could prove, using scripture, that He'd be OK with it in the defense of another. Obviously guns didn't exist in ye olden times, so it's not like someone could ask Him about it, but he did yell at Peter for pulling out a sword when He was being arrested.

Also, let's consider the most popular argument in favor of letting citizens own pretty much any kind of firearm they want: the right to bear arms. No one reasonable is going to argue for taking away a hunting rifle or shotgun, or really even a basic handgun for self-defense. But why do you need to own an assault rifle? Or a sniper rifle? Or a 50-caliber rifle? Or an automatic pistol that holds 15+ rounds? If you're in a situation that would call for that, you're in need of the police and a hiding spot, not a gun.

I've heard people argue that the intent of the 2nd Amendment is to enable the citizenry to overthrow an oppressive government; and it probably was, at least in part. However, in the 1700s the most advanced form of weaponry available was a canon, which is essentially a huge, slow, relatively inaccurate musket. No tanks, helicopters, missiles, smart bombs, drones, satellites, belt-fed machine guns, rail guns, high-explosives, nukes, etc. Even if that was the original intent, you really think you could take on the US military? No. No, you could not.

Plus, when the Constitution was written, there were bears, just, everywhere. And mountain lions. And no police to speak of. No army to speak of, really.

I don't advocate completely abolishing private ownership of guns (and, at least in my completely unprofessional opinion, I don't think any politician is going to think they could get away with it, at least anytime soon). That said, it is far too simple to get a gun in this country. When I bought my pistol they did a background check on me to verify I was who I said I was, and that I didn't have a criminal record. They didn't check who lives in my house, if I or anyone I live with has any history of mental illness, or even if I'd had any training with firearms, or even shot one before. (I hadn't; but, being a nerd, I had done a great deal of research on the subject. Doesn't replace proper training, but it is better than going in blind.)

Just...can we stop being so ridiculous about all this? You can't drive a car without proper training. You can't get married in most states without at least some counseling, if not more hoops needing jumped through. Why do we, as a group, not think it's reasonable to do better about all this? It's just something worth considering, I think.