As of the time of this post, despite the speculations on both sides of the political aisle, the true motivation behind the Aurora shooting remains unknown. However, whatever the reason, the problem is that a man of apparent mental instability had an assault rifle and used it indiscriminately against unarmed men, women and children and some of the victims were in fact trained military personnel. For those who have followed me on Twitter and this blog know, I have little love or respect for the National Rifle Association while at the same time I do support gun rights in this nation. So, in the aftermath of this tragedy, let’s get some facts out that we can consider in a rational way, assuming you are willing to do so.
Guns are the instruments that people, so inclined, use to kill other people more than anything else. They are very effective in taking the life of whoever it is pointed at when that trigger is pulled. That is what they are designed for, the destruction of whatever is in front of that barrel. So, it’s not exactly true that guns don’t kill people, because without a person pressing their finger on that trigger, the gun pretty much is useless. And I cannot emphasize this more, guns serve no other purpose than to kill, that includes animals and people, target practice not withstanding.
The National Rifle Association was originally created to expand hunting rights for a still young nation where hunting was much more prevalent and necessary than it is today. Somehow they started latching on to 2nd Amendment rights that never, in the history of this nation, were ever in jeopardy. This happened around the time they became lobbyists for gun manufacturers. Coincidence? Possibly, but that is for the individual to decide. Since the 2nd Amendment is always the rallying cry of the NRA, and people take different interpretations of what it means, let me cite my belief. I’m no constitutional scholar, of course few people who speak of this really are, but here goes.
In the time of the writing of the Bill of Rights people need to understand that this nation did not have a standing army nor any police force of any kind. At best, there were some Sheriff’s, Marshals, and possibly some deputies. So no real law enforcement out there. This country and her citizens were under threat of invasion from European nations, like in 1812, or from Canada, Mexico, or from the Native Americans still a bit sore about having their lands stolen from them by these illegal immigrants from across the Ocean. So the need of a “Well Regulated Militia” was seen as a necessity of the day. It is noted that Thomas Jefferson opposed any standing army for the country knowing from history that such armies have been known to usurp power and take over so he advocated a citizen’s militia to counter that possibility.
From my perspective, the key term is “Well Regulated” which would imply, and is proven from historical accounts of the time that those who were part of those “Citizen’s Militias” actually had to train with their fellows on a regular basis to be allowed to be part of the ranks. It made sense then, and makes sense now. If you are going to give a weapon to someone to use that can easily kill others, you want them trained technically and emotionally how to use it. Today our military and police personnel must undergo a battery of psychological evaluations, technical training on how to use a weapon, and must qualify on a range before being issued a weapon. Those not in the military or work for law enforcement have no such requirement at all in this nation. So people paid to protect us must undergo far more to be allowed to use a gun to protect us than others who can carry and yet feel qualified to defend others without the assessments or training.
That being said, you would think that I’m opposed to private citizenship ownership of weapons. That is far from the truth. Even though I do not believe the intent of the 2nd Amendment was to guarantee gun ownership, I do believe that there is nothing inherently wrong in owning a gun for the average person. However, considering the nature of what guns are used for, I do strongly believe that safeguards must be in place to thwart as much harm as reasonable possible.
The NRA love to cite that there are too many gun regulations out there. Well, there’s stuff on the books under the category of “guns” but thanks to the NRA very few actual regulations out there. Those imposed have expired. The issue of Fast and Furious actually did demonstrate that both State and Federal Gun laws have become so lax and are so poorly regulated, straw purchasers with no criminal records were able to buy assault weapons at licensed gun shows for Drug Lords in Mexico, they couldn’t be arrested per the rulings of the prosecutors reviewing the laws. (See my previous rant on this topic)
So all I ask for is that as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence advocates, that there be a waiting period before anyone can buy a weapon to be properly evaluated to make sure that they have no criminal records or possibly even criminal associates and that they are mentally sound to have a weapon of destruction in their midst. I also agree as did Mitt Romney who signed into law in Massachusetts, that there should be a permanent ban on assault rifles and expanded magazines to carry more ammunition. These are clearly only designed to cause more harm, more quickly without having to reload. Not needed for hunting deer.
Now the NRA would argue that if you have these regulations and these bans, then only criminals will have these weapons. Really? Think about it. By not having them, you make it easier for criminals to get these weapons without raising a single eyebrow from anyone. Lawful and sane people can wait a reasonable amount of time before getting a weapon.
Another talking point from the NRA over issues like these is that if more people were armed in the Theatre, if there was concealed carry laws in effect everywhere, this wouldn’t have happened. Well two things. One, the study saying that “Conceal Carry” reduces crime is bogus. It was poor statistical science making an improper correlation of gun ownership and crime rates and has been since refuted. See this article for an explanation:
Also, “Friendly Fire” incidents from well-trained professionals is one of the leading cause for injuries on the battlefield, or even with police shoot-outs. You want a bunch of untrained, unprepared, emotional scared armed people shooting at everything that moves. The carnage would have grown exponentially.
In my opinion, the NRA only exists as a lobbying organization for the gun manufacturers. They use the guise of “2nd Amendment Rights” to con people into providing them money that they use to manipulate government to place into law, or remove from law regulations that can reduce the possibility of incidents like Aurora, Virgina Tech, Columbine, Gabby Giffords, from happening so that the gun manufacturers that they advocate for can sell more weapons and more ammunition out of unfounded fear and trepidation and get richer. We are the most armed and dangerous society because of that uncontrolled arming. I blame the NRA.
As I’ve tweeted many a time, whenever there is a call for gun control measures to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and mentally insane, it is the NRA and their supporters who speak the loudest against it, and the reason is obvious from each time they open their mouths.
Get tough against unregulated gun ownership, tell your representatives they must serve us, not the NRA Gun Lobby.