I was raised on the edge of a small country town where the land was vast and the amount of dairy cows roaming around almost outnumbered the people. If I walked down my street out of the small opening that gave access to the rows of picture perfect suburban houses, I was greeted with a lonely back road that winded its way through green pastures and an abundance of rich growing crop. Everyone either owned a farm, some land, a dairy or new someone who owned one. Life was of a slower pace, but almost everyone I knew owned a gun.
My grandfather took me out in the back yard once when I was a kid to show me how a rifle works. He reminded me over and over again about how you should always treat any gun like the safety was off and it was loaded. I was never to point it at anyone, and I was told to always be cautious. When I wasn’t spying through the sight and firing the rifle at a distant target, the safety was on and the rifle was unloaded and pointed in a safe direction with my fingers off of the trigger. I even went to the shooting range with my dad where the same rules were reiterated. I was raised by family and around friends who was either in the police department, in the military, or both at one time or another, so guns were just another part of everyday life for me.
I never thought that guns were ever an issue until the news stories about mass shootings started flooding the news. Young kids with access to massive weapons were reportedly shooting at random and no one could truly understand why. With every incident the words “gun control” were spoken alongside the tragedies, and that’s where my uncertainty about the whole subject began.
I knew for a fact that obviously some people shouldn’t be allowed to possess any weapons. Those considering suicide or those with severe mental help shouldn’t probably have any weapons, but where did that leave the rest of us? Many irresponsible teens or young children who never knew the danger that comes along with guns often died from weapons lying around in their homes.
I was torn. Heck, I still am torn. I thought if maybe every parent was like mine and enforced knowledge and safety over fear and irresponsibility then we wouldn’t have all of this random gun violence, but I knew every parent didn’t know how to handle a firearm, and they could very well add to the violence that we see involving guns every day.
I recently learned that there were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000 according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are actually suicides according to the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, with 17,352 (55.6 percent) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007, and apparently 12,632 (40.5 percent) were homicide deaths according to National Vital Statistics Reports (CDC). And then of course people wonder if the Columbine High School massacre, the Beltway sniper attacks, the Virginia Tech massacre, the 2011 Tucson shooting, and the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting would have happened if our gun laws were stricter.
The case to take away all guns obviously will leave those following the law without guns when criminals with weapons break into their homes, and the case that allows everyone to own a gun will still not stop crazy people from shooting people even if they knew for a fact that everyone else in the country had a firearm. Hot tempers would boil out of control, road rage would always end up being deadly, and then every irresponsible kid or young child would have access to a gun.
Some sort of compromise that places reasonable laws on the guns that are already in circulation would be ideal, but of course no one knows how to go about that. I’m not even sure if censoring films in Hollywood, books in the library, or videos games will actually do anything for adults, mostly because I would still sometimes like to be entertained by violent action books and films, but because it sucks that that all the sane, responsible people can’t enjoy something like the movie, Gangster Squad, until January or see the film in its original bada##ery do to the film’s obviously violent nature.
All of this really is a complicated discussion that we should have regardless of what party you’re registered as because I do agree that gun violence has become a problem. On the other hand I do await the coming zombie apocalypse and I would love to keep a firearm for protection against zombies and for situations where the responsible use of a firearm could save someone’s life.
I’m glad, however, that the decision surrounding gun control doesn’t sit solely on my shoulders because I don’t have a clue about what to do with the whole situation. So I’m opening up the comments for discussion. Where do you stand on the gun control issue, and how would you go about changing the gun laws we have if you would change anything?