My intelligent cousin, trained as a social worker, shared the above meme on Facebook today. Normally I agree with her views and the things she shares. Today, I disagree. At least with the statement that “Guns are not the problem.”
Unless you just came back to sea level from an underwater mission, you’ve heard about the massacre Friday in Newtown, Conn., where a seriously disturbed 20-year-old murdered 26 people and then himself. After a lot of shock, people started talking about how this should be the impetus for changes in gun regulation and safety laws. Of course, those who feverishly cherish their guns and their precious right to bear arms got all up in arms about the argument. “This isn’t a time for politics,” we were told.
But it most certainly is the time to talk politics. And gun control. And mental health. And parenting. And social responsibility. Here are the reasons given by those who do not want increased gun regulation and safety laws:
1. We need guns for protection. I ask: From what and in what situation? Having a gun in your house does you no good if you’re being robbed — because at least in most states, you’re only allowed to fire if your life or the life of a loved one is threatened. And even if you have a gun in such situations, what are the chances you’ll be able to shoot the bad guy and end the fight? How many times do guns get wrestled away from their proper owners only to be used on them? I’m not sure but the risk seems infinite when gun owners aren’t required to go through the same training as law enforcement officials do before they can wield a firearm. And in any case, the results of a study conducted by Linda L. Dahlberg, Robin M. Ikeda and Marcie-jo Kresnow, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, “show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.”
2. Guns are used for recreation. So if your family regularly goes shooting for recreational purposes, as did Sandy Hook mass murderer Adam Lanza’s family, then why can’t you use rent all the weapons you want from the gun range for use while on their premises? What honest-to-goodness use for a Bushmaster assault riffle did Nancy Lanza, ex-wife of a very wealthy man (hey, he could afford upwards of $250,000 per year in alimony payments while supporting a second wife), have? I’ve been to the gun range. I agree: guns can be fun. But I would only ever want to go shooting at a range, where someone knowledgeable was watching over me.
3. It’s not the gun that’s the problem, it’s the crazy person with the gun. Okay, but doesn’t that mean we should have criminal background checks and psych evaluations before people can get their hands on guns? Nancy Lanza should not have been allowed to legally keep guns in her residence if she shared that domicile with someone she feared for mental health reasons. I’m sorry she’s dead, but she was at least equally as guilty for her son’s actions as he was. So sometimes the problem is not the crazy person but the “sane” person who gave him access to weapons.
4. Crazy people can do damage with or without guns. Yes, but when you’re arguing that you should be armed in the same manner as a would-be offender, you don’t think about keeping fertilizer, racing fuel and a box truck on hand, do you? And just as you probably would have no clue how to use those potential weapons against a possible offender, you very well could find yourself armed and in a situation with a crazy person who has a gun, and as you fire the shot that takes him down, he could fire a shot that takes you down with him. So what good have you done?
I’ve heard all the arguments and I think that anyone who is against heightened regulation and gun safety laws are potential Nancy Lanzas. Increased laws regulating the sale and proper use of guns do not have to equal the erasure of your right to bear arms, but it could just save your little brother or sister’s life.
– Rosella Eleanor LaFevre