Thursday, May 23, 2013

Confused: The Series - Pt 1 Gun Control

I think the theme of confusion will be a series of posts on current issues that confuse me greatly. I'll start it all off with gun control. I know where I stand on this issue and I know I'm not saying anything new. I'm just talking it out to get it out of my head. What I don't get is why this issue should be so hard for intelligent, moral people to grasp. And the first person to give me the bullshit line of "guns don't kill people, people kill people," SHUT THE HELL UP. That may be true, but it does make it hell of a lot easier to kill someone from afar with one. I'm only going to talk about two points, the ones that should be obvious but apparently aren't. Oh, and for the record, I am NOT against the right to bear arms. Having a weapon in the home for protection is a great idea as long as it doesn't end up in the hands of a child. Having weapons to hunt (which I couldn't do, but wouldn't take the right from others) is fine as long as the guns are handled properly.

Background checks

These are done for more than just gun purchases. Employers need to run them for potential employees. Apartments run them to make sure the prospective tenant is safe to include in the community. You want to make sure the new person a few buildings down is not a convicted sex offender. We allow these checks without batting an eye.

So, what is wrong with making sure that the person attempting to buy a gun at a gun show or online was not convicted of a violent crime? Or has a history of mental problems? How many lives would be saved if a person with a restraining order couldn't acquire a weapon in which to harm the individual they were ordered to leave alone? How many deaths could be avoided by not allowing a mentally unstable person access to a gun? Yes, I know that criminals will always find a way to get guns. Background checks are not an absolute guarantee of safety. No rule or law can prevent everything. But, if even one life could be saved by catching that one person who would have no avenue otherwise, isn't a mild inconvenience (waiting a couple of minutes) a small price to pay. Since when do laws have to be all or nothing to be necessary?

The paranoid idea that wanting to keep innocent people safe is tantamount to taking away ALL guns is just crazy. Background checks do NOT equal wholesale confiscation of weapons. It does NOT mean a complete reversal of the 2nd Amendment. It doesn't even mean required registration. It means weapons would only be LEGALLY sold to law abiding citizens. The illegal weapons (like illegal drugs) are a completely different matter, handled by a different set of laws.

High capacity magazines

These don't even make sense in the hands of people outside the military. Why does an individual need the ability to shoot more than ten rounds? If you know how to handle your weapon, are trained to be a decent shot, then ten rounds should be enough to defend yourself. They make even less sense for hunters. Since food is so easily acquired without the need to hunt, it is generally thought of as a sport. The hunters I know do eat what they kill and, I'm told, help keep the deer population under control. To take a semi-automatic with the capacity for 100 rounds or more out to hunt would take the "sport" out of the sport. Wouldn't the ability to manage with only one shot be much more impressive than getting lucky with a large spray of bullets? The only use for a high capacity magazine is to inflict maximum damage on as many targets as possible. It is meant for killing enemies, not dinner.

Who wins and who loses

I think the real problem (like most of this country's problems) comes down to money. The people in charge of the NRA and the gun lobbyist's want people to spend lots of their hard earned money on their products, plain and simple. They know which fears to play on to get just that. When a tragedy happens and there is a fresh cry for gun control, they immediately accuse those in favor of gun control of trying to take away their 2nd Amendment rights (and their guns). They claim that current laws aren't working, so why introduce new ones. They fail to mention that the laws now in place have been neutered by other regulations making them useless. They fail to admit that the group put in place to enforce said laws is woefully shorthanded(a mere 2000 ATF for the entire nation with no boss to run it all) and also very limited in what they are allowed to do to enforce current laws. Any subterfuge to scare people into spending more money. In the meantime, people who couldn't pass a background check are getting guns with the express purpose to kill another human being. People not sane enough to be granted a weapon are getting through the loopholes we aren't allowed to close. We lose, whether it be our lives or our sense of security. They rake in the profits hand over fist, knowing that as long as they can  make us afraid, we will keep handing them more.