Finding the Right Time
Personally, I don’t like guns. I don’t like to be around them. I have never wanted to shoot one. I don’t want a gun in my house.
I also don’t like the almost sexual obsession we have with guns in America. The desire to carry our guns out in the open because IT IS OUR RIGHT is just silly. You don’t need an AK-47 to shop at Wal-Mart. All you need is a lack of self respect.
My dislike of guns, however, should not be misinterpreted as a desire to take away the rights of responsible gun owners. At least not all of their rights. Just a few limitations, maybe. When I ask questions about gun control, I mean exactly that.
I’m talking about controlling access to guns in some cases. I’m asking how we keep guns out of the hands of people who are truly dangerous. Because I think that is something we’d all genuinely like to do. Pro-gun and anti-gun alike, we all want to stop bad guys from shooting up theaters. Or killing two people in the middle of a news broadcast.
The NRA wants that sort of thing to stop too, right? They just think that the way we stop bad guys from killing people is by making them afraid they will be killed by a good guy with a gun (TM) before they can bad guy with a gun (TM) kill anyone.
Because if a bad guy with a gun gets killed after he has eliminated his target, that’s OK. He’s already achieved his goal.
What bugs me about the NRA and what, I think, should bug everyone about the NRA, is how their leadership is constantly saying that the right time to talk about gun control is not immediately following a mass shooting.
The sentiment is dishonest for a couple of reasons. The most obvious reason is the fact mass shootings happen a lot. If your core argument is that we need to wait until tempers are a little more calm, there will never be a time where we can do that.
And that is the most dishonest part of what they are saying. It isn’t that they want to wait until tempers are calmer. They don’t want to talk about gun control at all. Ever.
It isn’t just that the NRA is against any form of gun control. They are vehemently opposed to dialogue about gun control. And they will use any excuse to deflect the conversation away from that topic.
I’m wildly conflicted about gun control because I don’t know how you make it work. As much as I’d like to keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to use them to commit murder, I have no idea how you do that. How do you stop those people?
That, of course, is the central NRA argument. Gun control, they argue, doesn’t stop someone from getting a gun and killing people.
Maybe. Maybe that’s true. On the other hand, perhaps it does. Perhaps limiting access to firearms can have an impact on gun violence.
I kind of think if gun control could stop one person from being killed with a gun, it is worth exploring.
I also think that the idea that a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun is a really nice sound bite but the evidence doesn’t seem to support the idea we are safer with more civilians carrying guns. Common sense would suggest that a good guy with a gun could endanger himself by making it harder for the authorities to identify the bad guy with the gun. The good guy with a gun could hurt or kill bystanders in his attempt to stop the bad guy with the gun.
And yes – the good guy with the gun could also kill or wound the bad guy with the gun before too many people get hurt.
It is a complex issue. One that should be studied and talked about. One that has a solution, I think, that is somewhere between “nobody should have guns” and “everybody should have whatever kind of guns they want without restriction of any kind.”
I don’t think the NRA is interested in that middle ground. They aren’t interested in conceding a single inch because they are convinced the slippery slope is a real thing. They are convinced that if we come up with any way to make gun ownership harder, the eventual result will be the complete elimination of the second amendment.
So they say now isn’t a good time to talk about it. And they have a lot of politicians who agree with them.
And that means we never really talk about it.
The NRA is winning not because they are right but because they are smart enough to realize if we keep the conversation centered on when we should talk about the issue, we’ll never actually get around to talking about the issue.