I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are gun rights advocates. They are not what liberals might consider gun nuts. They just believe in the right to protect themselves and don’t want that taken away. They also believe that owning a gun is a fundamental right. Now I’m not a gun rights advocate. I’m also not what conservatives might call anti-gun. I like guns. I’ve gone to shooting ranges with gun owners and on my own. I’ve enjoyed shooting, and I understand that a gun is a tool. All that said I have to say most of the gun advocates are approaching our current conversation on guns all wrong.
The Outlaw Overstatement
“If guns are outlawed then only outlaws will have guns”
If there is one supposed truism in the gun debate it’s this, criminals will be able to get guns no matter what. As evidence gun advocates point to how easy it is to obtain illegal drugs, and how easy it is to enter the country illegally. Now I would never go as far to say any set of gun laws will eliminate criminal’s ability to obtain guns. I would however like to point out a crucial difference between guns, drugs, and illegal immigration. Someone has to manufacture guns. Unlike drugs which in some cases literally grows on trees. Not only that in order for the gun to be effective someone has to be good at manufacturing guns. Perhaps the reason so many criminals have guns in this country is not because they are criminals but because we have a copious amount of guns in this country. In the countries that do have stricter gun regulations we do not see level of gun related crimes.
Unstoppable Stopping Power
If there is one constant in American culture it’s that we love power, the more the better, can I contain that power in my hand—thank you very much. Marketers know this, and so the more power you can pour into your gun can have a direct relationship to sales. I however live in a city, which means under most circumstances my next door neighbor shares a wall with me. I am perfectly okay with them owning a gun for personal protection. However if they shoot their gun in their house and it is powerful enough to enter into mine, then my neighbor and I have a problem. This is one of the problems with high powered weapons no matter how responsible you are there are practical problems with just having them in wide circulation.
Stricter Sale Regulation
While it may be a fundamental right to own a gun, I don’t believe the constitution makes any mention of it being a right to be able to sell that gun. Back when I was bartending I was responsible for assessing if someone was old enough to drink, it was also my responsibility to make sure anyone I served was not dangerously intoxicated. This was my responsibility even if the front door was checking id’s and preventing anyone underage from entering. The penalties for serving people who are not supposed to be served ranged from fines to losing your liquor license. The same is true for cigarettes. While it the sellers of firearms should not be held fully responsible for the actions of the people they sell to, it is reasonable to suggest that the burden of due diligence be put on the seller to prove they took reasonable precautions to prevent the sale of guns to irresponsible people.
More Laws Is Pretty Much Unavoidable
Gun advocates like to talk about how there are thousands of laws on the books now that don’t work and only make life harder for the law abiding responsible citizens. They are quick to point out the loopholes in the laws being suggested. The problem is one of the primary responsibilities of any government is to provide for the safety of its citizens. Governments do this not because they want to but it is what the populace demand. Unless the gun violence problem magically dissipates people will keep pushing for laws to prevent it. Eventually public pressure will be great enough to push it through. I’m against outright bans of guns but listening to some gun advocates rant against any kind of change is not only tone deaf but destructive to their end goal. Gun advocates however remove themselves from the conversation with their obstinacy. As a result it becomes more likely that laws are proposed without taking into consideration the reasonable ideas that gun advocates are in favor of.