Posted by: minnow | December 11, 2014

Guns: Life VS Liberty

I just about went off on a FB acquaintance who re-posted a “letter to the editor” thread ridiculing people who want greater gun control.  I’ve seen the thread multiple times and usually can just keep scrolling.  It’s meant to be funny but today for whatever reason it just didn’t strike me that way. I wrote a comment, then deleted it, undid the delete, copied it, and deleted it again.  Here’s what I wrote:

I don’t want to regulate your guns. I want to regulate those individuals who would use guns to kill innocent people. I want to make it more difficult for the average person to own semi-automatic assault rifles when the only purpose for owning such weapons is to use them, not to hunt game, but to kill people. I don’t want it to be easy for people who are mentally unstable to get a hold of a weapon that can kill multiple people in seconds. The letter you posted isn’t brilliant as it was titled. It’s ignorant.

No one who is calling for greater gun control is trying to harm law biding citizens. We aren’t out to get hunters. We don’t want to stop average Americans from having fun at target practice. We don’t even want to stop people from owning hand guns for self protection (Although the number of household members killed by a homeowner’s gun out numbers the number of intruders killed).

Guns can’t think.  They can’t act. They can’t obey the law.  People however can.  And it’s people who need to be regulated.  So, this letter you call brilliant, just lets us see how foolish some gun enthusiasts can be.

My husband and oldest son hunt.  I live in Montana and know people who rely on the game for their meat supply. I, personally, have never held a gun nor do I plan on learning how.  I hope no one in my family will ever have the need to defend their home or country by taking up arms.  I don’t know anyone who has ever been shot, has ever shot another person, or has ever lost a loved one due to gun violence.  So honestly, I don’t have a dog in this fight, not yet.  My initial response to the thread my FB acquaintance posted was actually due to the insincerity of the thread.

Gun control advocates have legitimate concerns.  Gun related accidents and gun violence in America are  embarrassingly high statistics–over 30,000 gun related deaths annually.  But we will not make any progress toward solving these problems if we continue to waste our time and our resources on hyperbole, political pandering, finger pointing, and name calling.  We need to recognize we have a problem,  put an end to grandstanding and seek solutions we can all begin to implement.  Lives and livelihoods might be at stake.

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Responses

  1. I don’t want to regulate your guns.

    You may not want to regulate firearms but so many people, including the Brady Campaign, do. They want to limit the number of rounds in a magazine, they want to limit the rate of firearm. They want to mandate unproven technology in the guise of ‘safety’.

    So while I greatly appreciate your lack of desire to regulate ‘guns’ please recognize many people do — and those are the ones we have a major problem with.

    I want to regulate those individuals who would use guns to kill innocent people.

    Great. How do we regulate freedom? How do we keep people from misusing an inanimate object?

    Background checks to stop them from buying guns? We have those laws– and they don’t work. Criminals simply steal the firearms or have their friends/family/gang members/etc who are eligible and legal purchase them.

    I want to make it more difficult for the average person to own semi-automatic assault rifles when the only purpose for owning such weapons is to use them, not to hunt game, but to kill people.

    Wait a minute, didn’t you start off saying you don’t want to regulate guns? Now here you are talking about doing exactly that !

    And three point about the ‘only purpose’ — one, that simply isn’t true. There are many sports — even Olympic events –that involve shooting. Second, there is no functional difference between the semi-automatic firearms your family uses for hunting and the firearms I own for protection. NONE. So please be careful about your recommendations; they could come back to bite you.
    Third and Lastly — yes they can be used to kill — that is the reason I own them. They can be used to kill people looting and rioting — seen the news lately — they can be used to kill criminals breaking into my home — home invasions happen — they can be used to kill those who support and try to impose a tyranny — isn’t that the ultimate reason for the 2nd Amendment?

    I don’t want it to be easy for people who are mentally unstable to get a hold of a weapon that can kill multiple people in seconds.

    I don’t it easy for the mentally ill to kill people but how can you impose that restriction on the ‘mentally ill’ and not do it on everyone else?

    And what are the limits and definition of mentally ill? my wife briefly dealt with depression – of course it was in the middle of her battle with breast cancer. Should that strip her of owning guns forever? How about my son’s friend who deals with Asperger’s Syndrome? He is living on his own, working full time, is in a relationship and has attended college — should his ‘mental illness’ deny him the right to keep and bear arms?

    It is easy to breezily say “the mentally ill” it is a different story to define it, To put into place means and methods to effectively enforce denying people their rights.

    But we will not make any progress toward solving these problems if we continue to waste our time and our resources on hyperbole, political pandering, finger pointing, and name calling

    Nor will we make progress without gun control advocates admitting that we have made progress. Firearm related deaths, injuries and crimes are at lows not seen in decades.
    Even as more people own firearms, more people are carrying firearms. Every state in the union now has some form of Open or Concealed Carry — and more people are exercising that right.

    Bob S.

  2. My comment that I didn’t want to regulate “guns” was directly connected to the “joke” the letter to the editor attempted to make. I know guns don’t kill people. People kill people and I want to regulate people. I want to regulate a person’s access to specific types of weapons. I do not believe the 2nd amendment guarantees the right for all people to own whatever weapon they want to own. The framers of the constitution did not specify what type of weapon an individual could or could not have but that doesn’t mean some 200 years later we are breaking the constitution to do so. To pretend that any weapon you can presently own will stop our government or a foreign invader is at best naive though I agree you have the right to protect your body and your property from invasion.
    I see nothing wrong with requiring a hunter’s safety course in order to own a firearm. I think background checks are not unreasonable. And I see a profound difference between a person who has a documented mental illness that make him or her a danger to self and others and someone who does not fit that criteria. At any rate, I personally would rather be safe than sorry.
    I know we like to shout about freedom but truth be told we give up all kinds of freedom in order to feel safe.
    I’m not sure where you got your statistics but according to a Bloomberg report in 2012, “While motor-vehicle deaths dropped 22 percent from 2005 to 2010, gun fatalities are rising again after a low point in 2000, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” And, here are some other pretty sobering statistics related to 2010 gun related deaths and accidents. http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-deaths-and-injuries-statistics/ . Finally, I personally am not particularly concerned about your inconvenience. If you want to use weapons that can fire off multiple rounds in seconds I believe you should have to follow some fairly restrictive protocol and face some serious penalties should those restrictions be broken. Your owning and carrying a gun may make you feel more safe but it makes me feel uneasy and vulnerable whether or not you’re a responsible gun owner.
    I realize, of course, I can’t expect the law to give me everything I want when it comes to control over gun ownership but when 90 % of the population agree that more needs to happen I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to suggest we need to change the status quo.

  3. . I want to regulate a person’s access to specific types of weapons.

    This is what i don’t understand. In my view, people who take this position are saying simply — “It is okay for someone to kill with a revolver or shotgun or rifle as long as it doesn’t fire too fast”.

    You did a great job in your comment restating your blog post but you don’t address how you are going to do things.

    The framers of the constitution did not specify what type of weapon an individual could or could not have but that doesn’t mean some 200 years later we are breaking the constitution to do so.

    Exactly, In their time people could own volley guns –capable of firing dozens of rounds at a single time, people could own cannons. They knew this and still didn’t limit what people could own.
    Of course that doesn’t mean the courts haven’t defined what can and can not be possessed — it is quite clear that firearms in ‘common use’ can not be banned. Which is exactly what you propose to do with semi-automatic weapons whose appearance you don’t like.

    how do you define what is an acceptable weapon and what isn’t?

    I see nothing wrong with requiring a hunter’s safety course in order to own a firearm.

    I do for a couple of reasons. First and foremost — the 2nd Amendment isn’t specific to hunting. So why require a hunter’s safety course to exercise that right?

    Second, – it is a cost/time barrier that can prevent people from exercising their rights. Think the single mom working 50 hours a week to feed two kids is going to have the time and money to pay for your desired class?
    And how is it relevant to her need for self defense?

    Lastly, let’s see if it makes sense to apply that requirement to other rights. How bout your right to free speech –should you have to take a journalism class in order to blog? how about a public speaking class in order to have a party?

    or perhaps we should require everyone to take a religion class before going to church or deciding not to go to church?

    I think background checks are not unreasonable

    So you think you should have to get a background check before you have kids? How about before you put in a pool in your back yard.
    See how silly it is to insist on government approval — and don’t tell me those things aren’t in the government interest. More parents kill their kids then kids are accidentally killed with firearms. More kids drown then are accidentally shoot.

    Nor does it make sense for people who already own firearms to get another check. And it won’t stop criminals from getting firearms. Please address just how that is going to happen?

    Currently the criminals either steal firearms or get an eligible person to purchase them for them. Nothing will change.

    I’m not sure where you got your statistics but according to a Bloomberg report in 2012, “While motor-vehicle deaths dropped 22 percent from 2005 to 2010, gun fatalities are rising again after a low point in 2000, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

    here is an example of where I got my data

    National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.

    http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/07/gun-homicide-rate-down-49-since-1993-peak-public-unaware/

    As for as you not concerned about my inconvenience — then I guess you never heard of MLK’s saying “A right delayed is a right denied”.
    And it is more than inconvenience — it is a barrier to the right. When the government can add costs, add hassle to ownership, then people will be prevented from exercising that right.

    Your owning and carrying a gun may make you feel more safe but it makes me feel uneasy and vulnerable whether or not you’re a responsible gun owner.

    Your fear does not require me to loose my rights. I frankly don’t care if you are uneasy or vulnerable — your irrational concern shouldn’t be a reason to limit my rights. We have laws for a reason so we aren’t governed by people’s whims. Should we outlaw large trucks because people feel uneasy around them? Dogs, cats? horses? Gays? African Americans/Asians/Insert Any race??

    I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to suggest we need to change the status quo.

    Haven’t been paying attention to the news have you?

    For the first time in more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, there is more support for gun rights than gun control. Currently, 52% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while 46% say it is more important to control gun ownership.

    http://www.people-press.org/2014/12/10/growing-public-support-for-gun-rights/

    Bob S.

  4. We obviously don’t agree on this topic. You seem to think limiting your rights to own what ever firearms you want is wrong, even unconstitutional. I disagree. Our rights are limited in all sorts of ways. Societies have always limited individual rights–even “free” societies. Your stats disagree with my stats. When you come up with a viable solution to the school type massacres we have suffered, the gun related homicides and suicides, and the annual 600 plus accidental deaths due to firearms perhaps we can talk some more.

  5. Minnow,

    We do disagree. And yes, societies have always limited rights – to an extent. That is why we already have laws against murder, against rape, against robbery etc.

    I’ve asked repeatedly how your proposed ideas will actually stop the criminals from getting firearms. I’ll ask again in a clear cut no extra discussion manner.

    How will ‘background checks’ stop criminals from getting firearm?

    How will limiting the type of weapon or magazine capacity stop massacres?
    (Both the Virginia Tech and UCSB murderers used 10 round magazines for example).

    Bob S.


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