When I told friends and family I was planning to write this article, several said I shouldn’t bother. “It won’t change anything,” my brother said. Another person told me, “You’ll just get hate mail.” It may not change anything (I’m a realist about these things), and as for hate mail, I’m pretty sure it won’t be the first or the last time, and I’m cool with that.
Let me begin by saying that I was raised in Georgia and my parents had guns in the house and in their cars. I am not opposed to gun ownership, but I think things have gotten out of control. And when that happens, there must be a pendulum swing back in the other direction or else we wind up destroying ourselves as a nation.
Cars, Guns, and The Parallel Between The Two
When I turned 15 in the state of Georgia, I was able to obtain a learner’s permit to drive, meaning I could do so as long as a licensed driver was in the car when I did so. At 16, I was allowed to take written and driving tests and become a licensed driver.
At that same age, 15, I could go hunting with an adult and carry a rifle or handgun. At 18, I could legally own a gun in Georgia, and I didn’t have to take a safety or skills test to do so like I did with the driver’s license.
Does this make sense? You must be licensed to drive, but not to own a weapon of mass destruction. You can even open carry a gun now in Georgia at certain parts of the airport, which just so happens to be the busiest in the country.
We need to make owning a gun at least as difficult and complicated as getting a driver’s license. End of story.
Who Gets What and When
Did you know that if you’re on the Terrorist Watch List in this country, you can still legally buy and own a gun? WTF?! How does that make one iota of sense?
Also, you can go to a gun show and purchase a gun without having to pass any kind of background check. So the two shooters who killed 14 in San Bernardino theoretically could have been on a watch list, been convicted felons, and have been deemed criminally insane, yet they could have walked into a gun show and still acquired the AK-47s they used to carry out their atrocity.
I say if you’re on a watch list of any kind at all, you do not get a gun. Period. Also, there should be background checks to buy a gun anywhere. I don’t care how much of a law-abiding citizen you may claim to be, we should run an extensive background check to make sure you are the kind of person you claim to be. If someone has a problem with that, then they may also have a reason for not wanting us to know about their past behavior.
Guns Don’t Kill People…
The NRA loves to say, “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” True to an extent, but also equally bullshit. Take a look at these charts:
Looks like from these graphics that states with higher gun ownership also have a higher rate of gun deaths. So the NRA’s line about guns not killing people is clearly not as true as they like to make out.
Here is my bottom line: There are far too many guns in this country and far too many people who have no real reason to own them do. People may say they want a gun for security or sport, or whatever other reason they wish, but that’s just smoke and puffery.
We are killing ourselves by degrees in America. Some say Islamic terrorists and other “bad guys” are the biggest threat we face. But the biggest threat we face can be seen every morning when we look in the mirror.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.