An article I read recently has helped me admit the truth in regards to gun control. There is truly no tragedy bad enough for us to reform our gun laws. So be it. It is a tiresome debate to be sure, and so I wanted to approach it from a different perspective. In fact accepting the fact that people want their guns in this country has helped me ask questions that I might never have asked. So let’s begin.
Let us accept as fact that guns are the best way to ensure safety in the U.S. today, which is full of criminals and people who want to hurt you. Or in other words there are bad guys with guns; you need to be a good guy with a gun. I don’t deny that there are far more good guys with guns than bad. Okay, so you need this gun, whether it is to protect the people you love at home, or you might have to stop a bad guy with a gun in a public place. I hope that it is not too much of an assumption to say that neither side of the gun control debate wants to have crazy people invading their homes or pointing guns in public places wanting to cause harm to others. If you feel you need a gun in the world we live in now, that’s fine, but wouldn’t you like the world to get better? Wouldn’t it be nice to be in a world where you didn’t need that gun? Because let’s face it, a crazy person with a gun wanting to harm people is a stressful situation. Somebody is likely to get hurt anyway before that person can be stopped, and the fright of a crazy person with a gun breaking into your home and being shot in your living room is an ugly sight to all who live there and can be traumatic, even if you were to just scare the intruder away with your gun. So would it be safe to say that all would like to live in a safer world in which a gun wasn’t necessary? It seems reasonable. Again nobody physically wants to take your gun away. I personally have no problems with guns staying in boxes in the corner of your basement, collecting dust because there is never an occasion to use it. Even soldiers at war look forward to a time when they can lay down their weapons and not have to use them again.
Let us also accept the fact that there will always be criminals. This is probably true also. But is it true that crime levels are the same everywhere? Of course it isn’t. There are places with less crime, less homicides, and in some cases a stunningly low amount of guns. Now if we removed the U.S., which is a statistical outlier in terms of gun ownership, we might find that some of the countries with higher gun ownership (still less than half of the U.S. average gun ownership) have low crime. If such societies exist then it seems that we would want to learn about what that society has done to lower crime, especially violent crime, so much. Perhaps it is non-restrictive gun laws, but if gun ownership is 20-30 per 100 people, there are still a large number of people unarmed who could be taken advantage of by a bad guy with a gun, so the answer to their lower crime can’t be entirely gun ownership. And this is aligned with what gun rights activists say, which is that gun control is not a means to make society safe. So given that there are other countries that are safer, shouldn’t we be trying to achieve this type of society and trying to understand why they are safe?
What we’d probably find is that such societies have low economic inequality, good health care, emphasize education and have a high degree of education equality in all of its schools and universities. Non-
restrictive gun ownership laws are likely to be only a partial answer to the solution. The NRA lobbies to make sure gun ownership laws remain unrestricted. They see it as sensible to make sure society is safe. That being said, why isn’t the NRA also one of the biggest lobbies for quality education? Why are they not helping schools in low income areas getting better equipment and teachers to help people in those communities raise themselves out of their poverty? Why aren’t they pushing for more funding to universities to lower tuition and public debt? Why aren’t they using their vast wealth from supporters to create research grants for more research into mental illness? Why aren’t they pushing for educational programs in schools that might help people recognize the signs early of mentally and emotionally unwell children, who when these problems go unaddressed, grow up into teens or adults who have the potential for violent behavior? Why aren’t they pushing for better education about drug use and alcohol while decriminalizing, at the very least, marijuana which gives so much of the population a criminal record impacting their chance for future economic stability? Don’t we want to live in a country where guns are not necessary? Do we want our Generals in the military to be busy, or would we rather live in times of peace?
What seems strange to me is that it is mostly us naïve liberals who are constantly pushing for more money to education, health care, decriminalization of drugs (particularly marijuana), increased money to social services which help at risk youth, etc. So I would like to formally say that I am willing to never speak of gun control again, if those who most vehemently support the 2nd amendment also take up the cause to live in a safer society. You can still have your guns for when the government turns on you to attack you. But just because society is unsafe, doesn’t mean we can’t strive for something better. And there is better out there so let’s fight for that, instead of fighting over gun control. Sound fair?