I want to start by being blatantly honest; I am a gun owner.
I’ve owned guns my whole life, and still do today. I’m a licensed pistol permit holder in the state and own more guns than most people. We are a family that hunts, and we shoot recreationally. I’ve never viewed guns as something more than that. My family never preached the 2nd amendment, and I wasn’t told that we own guns to stand up against a tyrannical government. It was, and is, a hobby.
Now, I would be ignorant if I said that I didn’t believe guns could do any harm. I saw what happened in North Hollywood in 1997, Columbine in 1999, and every other senseless shooting that has happened since then. I understand the vast amount of damage that can be inflicted by guns when put in the wrong hands. I have a tough time coming to terms with the gun argument, and the part I am having a difficult time with may be surprising.
I have a real problem with the super right, pro second amendment, “take my guns from my cold dead hands” people. The people that would rather explain to you the meaning of the second amendment than try to have a conversation about sensible gun laws. These are the same people that post vague Facebook statuses about them being the hero at the grocery store with a conceal carry weapon holstered, watching over everyone and keeping them safe. They fly “Don’t Tread on Me” flags proudly in their front yards, and have an entire wardrobe made of almost everything NRA. Taking the Lord Wayne LaPierre’s name in vain will get your mouth washed out with soap and sent to bed with no supper. It is unbridled enthusiasm for something that most people do not really grasp.
It’s all Bullshit.
The reason I have such disdain for this part of the populace is that, as a gun owner, they make it harder for non-gun owners to understand people like me. This not only bleeds over in to how they treat you as a person, but also the laws that get enacted that directly affect me. Not to mention, most of what these super pro-second amendment (PSA) people do is superficial. What I mean by that is they do nothing more than spout off on Facebook or throw an anti-SAFE Act sign in their front lawn. Most do nothing to help benefit their cause. Many that supported Trump (and voted for him) are gun owners, but you often see a lack of these voters during state and local elections, which have a closer direct effect on gun laws. Not to mention, have you ever tried talking to a PSA person about laws made to help curb gun violence? There is no conversation there. You just get yelled at for how guns were and are a vital part of American culture and nobody is going to take them.
The other problem is the PSA people tend to fight the wrong battles. Recently I saw on the news a loophole in the gun purchasing process where an individual can go to a gun show, buy a gun, and leave with it the same day. That is craziness. If you wanted to make purchasing a gun harder or take longer, I’m all for it if it helps find a middle ground.
I will say, however, that the super anti-gun people can be just as obnoxious. The biggest problem with them is that usually yelling about injustice comes first, research comes second. The media helps perpetrate this ideal as well in the stories they write. I was watching one of the several 24 hour news networks after a shooting, and they were showing that a chainsaw can be affixed to an AR-15….a chainsaw. And, if you don’t know guns, then how would you know any different? There are a lot of facets to gun ownership that people would not know about unless they have either gone through it and purchased one or researched how the process works today.
Part of me wonders if one extreme creates the other? Does the ultra-liberal, anti-gun protestor give birth to the super conservative NRA shirt wearing, gun-toting American? Maybe it is a form of severe tribalism that causes us to not only pick a side but fight desperately for that cause regardless of knowledge or information. The pro-gun lobby cannot, for a minute, accept that, regardless of method, guns were used in all of these shootings while the anti-gun lobby can’t grasp that stricter laws will not necessarily stop the issue when close to 80% of gun violence today occurs with an illegally obtained weapon.
The end result is nothing gets figured out and ultimately law-abiding citizens, such as myself, pay the toll. I, unlike either side, don’t care if you own guns, want to own guns or even hate guns. Your opinion is your opinion. Where I start to take issue is when a group decides it is in the right to speak for me, and I currently feel like that is happening within my own party.
We are all here to live and thrive together, for however long we are here. Why not work together to make everything better rather than trying to prove ourselves right.