Monday, April 11, 2016

Responsible Gun Ownership

Gun ownership is protected by our Constitution.  I sincerely believe that the militia the Constitution speaks of is all adult citizens (more or less) of the United States, and the Supreme Court has already ruled on this matter in support of my views.  That said, I understand that even though the Constitution protects this right, the Founding Fathers could not have fathomed the weaponry that exists today.  In their time, a well-made musket could be expected to have an effective range of about 300 yards.  Today, an AK-47 has an effective range of 400 yards.  Further, while a 10-man unit of trained musketeers could fire about 25 shots in one minute, a single person with an AK-47 can fire well over 10 times that in the same amount of time, and although the musket and AK-47 have similar point-blank bullet energy, the AK-47 maintains that energy and lethality at ranges well beyond the musket.  It is because of these differences that the primary argument against modern gun ownership is the use of modern guns in mass shootings.

Yes, guns can kill people efficiently, certainly more efficiently than a sharpened stick or brick.  However, the bottom line is that our gun rights are protected.  As long as we have gun rights, we will also live with the problems that come with these rights.  Mass shooting stories are frequently on the news.  Many people blame the guns as the root cause of the shootings, and while they definitely facilitate mass murder, they are not the root cause.  A gun alone does not kill people.  There always is the person who pulled the trigger.  All society can do is try to reduce the number of triggermen getting a hold of guns.  We do a very mixed job of doing so.  We have laws which prevent violent criminals and the mentally ill for obtaining guns from most stores, yet we do not enforce many of these laws.  We also have not deigned to safeguard private sales through person-to-person, online or gun show transactions nearly as well as we have through shop-to-person transactions.  Much of the real problem should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the gun owners and their lobby groups.  More over, direct responsibility at some level can literally be placed upon gun owners.  The reason I say this is that in a large portion of mass shooting cases in the U.S., the guns that were used in the shootings were unsecured.  This means that guns and ammunition were accessed by shooters who were not the gun owners.  Jeffrey Weise, Adam Lanza, Charles Andrew Williams, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden are a small sample of individuals who did not legally own guns, but were able to obtain guns and ammunition and then go on shooting sprees.  In the case of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine shooters, they were able to break into a glass display case at a relative's house to get rifles and ammunition.  Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, was able to access guns from his mother's collection.  Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden, middle school students responsible for murdering five people, were able to bring a small arsenal to school procured from their homes.  No one holds the gun owners responsible for the deaths.  I find this absolutely bewildering considering the precedents our country has established concerning liability.  A person who has not secured their firearms is not being a responsible firearm owner.  This person SHOULD be punished for being so negligent as to not secure the weapon.

We do have a lot of laws governing firearms ownership.  It's time we take out the loopholes and lack of accountability, and start enforcing the rules we have.  I strongly believe that doing so will help reduce the number of mass shootings in our country.

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