Yesterday, a high school in Parkland, Florida was the latest location of America’s gun problem. Sure, we can be more specific and call it a horrific school shooting that resulted in the deaths of 17 people, but do the details matter at this point? I could be writing this a day from now, a month from now, a year from now, and while the specifics may have changed, the underlying issues will not have.
America, we have a gun problem. Maybe ten school shootings ago, I might have assured you that, no, I don’t want to take your guns. Of course not! That would be rash and short-sighted. But today? Yes, I want to take your guns. But before you get all up in arms here, irony intended, let’s walk through your arguments.
“But the 2nd amendment!”
Ah, yes, the tried and true 2nd Amendment, written and passed into law by our infallible forefathers in 1791. I can’t think of a single law that’s changed since then; can you? And amendments have never, ever been added to the Bill of Rights or subsequently nullified by a following amendment. That would almost be like laws are not set in stone and can be modified for a current generation of Americans. It would almost require you to consider historical context and make bold assumptions like the forefathers not imagining a future when schoolchildren would be mowed down by a single shooter in less than 90 seconds.
“We don’t have a gun problem; we have a mental illness problem!”
Great! So let’s address the biggest mental illness problem that we see in nearly every mass shooting: toxic masculinity. Let’s work together to teach our children and young men that their virility is not rooted in their ability to kill, that having the biggest gun doesn’t mean they are the manliest, that women and people of color and religious minorities are people, too, and that we can’t just kill them because we feel infringed upon. Hell, let’s take it one step further and examine that maybe, just maybe, our need for guns is not so much a disease in and of itself, but a symptom of a corrupt system that equates one’s ability to dominate others with one’s worthiness. And once we have that all cleared up, tell me again why you need that big gun.
“If the Jews had had guns, the Holocaust never would have happened!”
This is a personal favorite of mine. A cousin to the 2nd Amendment argument, this thread assumes that Nazis would have simply walked away if those pesky Jews had just had a weapon at their disposal. Because that’s how all arrests go down, right? Police see the person they want to arrest has a gun and they just turn around. Maybe they’ll come back later. They never, ever call in for reinforcements or shoot on sight only to learn that the person was holding a cell phone or bag of candy.
It also presupposes that Nazis today wouldn’t take advantage of a nuclear arsenal to kill Jews if they could. I am sure there were many who enjoyed the ritualistic aspect of Jew-killing, but they were an efficient group of monsters.
Tell me: will your guns stand up to our militarized police force today?
“You just hate guns/gun owners/the military!”
I have a healthy fear of guns. I don’t have or want one in my home because statistics that show that having a gun in the home makes you more likely to die by gun violence, not less. I also have a curious and resourceful toddler who I adore more than life itself, and because I love her, I will not give her even the remotest chance at getting her hands on a deadly weapon and killing herself.
But I know and love many responsible gun owners. My family has served in the military every generation since World War Two. That does not mean that I think civilians should have unfettered access to military-grade weapons. If you want to hunt, a rifle makes all the sense in the world, but if you’re shooting deer with an AR-15, I hope you like the taste of overkill and metal. Want to shoot a big gun? Join a gun club or buy some time at a gun range that has an arsenal available for you to play with. But there is no reasonable excuse for high-ammunition weaponry on your bedside table.
Fine. If you don’t want to give up your guns, let’s talk legislation.
Still not convinced that your right to own any kind of killing machine you want trumps my ability to leave the house and not get shot? Fine. Let’s move on to common-sense legislation that would curb gun violence.
How about a federal registry of firearms? Register your legal weapons just like you do your car. And while we’re at it, let’s insure guns as well. If your gun injures or kills someone, your monthly premium can help pay for the untold damage. If I have to buy liability insurance for my home in case someone trips and breaks a toe, surely we can sell some policies that guarantee health care to your victims.
Vote out the NRA – it is literally the least you can do.
You want to keep your guns, you want to own as many as you want. Okay, I disagree but I must believe that you want to curb this terror. If more than 85% of Americans agree that we are in desperate need of common sense gun reform, why won’t our legislators pass any? Because they are heavily, heavily funded by contributions from the National Rifle Association.
We have big elections coming up in November; make this your one issue. And vote out your legislators who will prioritize their jobs over your safety. Choose children over party. Choose children over guns. Protect our most vulnerable and do the right thing already.
Because next week, there will be another shooting. No one wants to politicize a tragedy, but when there is never a break from tragedy, will it ever be the right time?