I am tired. I am tired and I am angry. We keep having these shootings. We keep seeing people murdered and as soon as it happens, everyone is quick to point the blame. One side says “ban guns” and the other side says “it’s not guns!” And yet there are so many of us out there who just want to have conversation. We want to discuss guns and the possibility of gun control, but as soon as we start a conversation, the other side jumps to their typical talking points and the conversation is over before it begins. So I am going to have that conversation.
Very quickly, allow me to tell you about my relationship with guns. I am from central Pennsylvania. Basically everyone in my family hunts and owns guns. Growing up, I was around guns. I know how to shoot them, I am actually pretty good (not to brag or anything). And yet as I grew older, I did not really enjoy hunting as much, but can see how others can love it. I also can see the fun in going out and shooting at targets. I do get it. Trust me.
The first thing we need to address is the idea that gun control means taking away guns. I do realize there are small groups of liberals who want to ban all guns, but they are a minority and they do not speak for all of us. I do think the ease of which someone can purchase a gun is a bit scary. There are Facebook groups for buying/selling guns. When our dad passed away, my brother sold his 7MM hunting rifle on one of those groups. He met a guy in a parking lot and the exchange took place. Did my brother ask what he intended to do with the gun? Nope. The guy could use it to sit on a water tower and start picking off people walking around town. I am not trying to make my brother seem like a bad guy or anything, hell I sold my shotgun to my old boss. I am always afraid I will hear about him going crazy and using it on a bunch of people. So right there, we should probably address that issue. You should only be able to purchase guns from an authorized dealer.
I can already hear people getting ready to interject and say “But Josh, this just stops the law-abiding citizens from purchasing guns! Criminals will still get guns.” And yes, you are probably right, but why make it easier for them? One of the arguments I hear is “hey, we made drugs illegal and look how well that worked.” True, drugs are illegal and people still obtain them, but we do not have heroin dispensers in the foyer of Walmart. At least make the bad guys work for getting some guns. The last few mass shootings have been performed by guns that were legally purchased.
Guns should also be registered. All guns. Allow me to tell you a story. In my hometown, a woman had a restraining order placed on her husband (they were separated). He had some mental problems and a few days later, he shows up to the grocery store where she works (or was shopping, I cannot remember) and kills her with a shotgun and then blows his head off. Many people were outraged that the cops did not take his guns away from him when they served the order, but as one of the cops told me “we only knew he had no registered guns. When we asked, he said he did not have any other firearms.” If he purchased the shotgun from a registered dealer and had to register it right away, the cops would have that on file and they would have known.
This also brings me to background checks. I will never understand why gun supporters are opposed to stricter background checks. I am sorry, but if you are mentally ill, on the suspected terrorist list, or someone who has been convicted of a violent crime, then you should probably not own guns. I know, that is hard for some people to hear, but it is just the truth. Many of you think that felons should never be allowed to vote, but owning a gun is a right? Seems a little weird to me.
I realize that these ideas will not prevent all shootings. I know that there will still be crime. The point is that there needs to be some kind of discussion about how to maybe make these crimes a daily occurrence. I also need to mention that I am willing to have a civil discussion about this. If you comment about this, keep in mind that I want there to be a dialogue. You need to be open to the idea of change. If you just spout off the same old talking points from the pro-gun side, I will delete the comment. If you make racist, sexist, or any other derogatory remarks, I will delete the comment and probably unfriend you.