I like guns. I relish the solid click of a cylinder revolving as I cock the hammer on my double-action pistol. I delight in that Teutonic crispness in the action of a Browning shotgun. Working the bolt of a Remington 700 .30-06 reminds me of the power of human ingenuity in the form of clever engineering. Part of this comes from growing up in the sticks where everybody was gun literate. The rest is residue from US Army infantry training. I was taught to fear and respect firearms, and how and when to use them. I’m comfortable with weapons, but I don’t have or want a concealed carry permit. Get enough of those in circulation and we’ll be back in the Wild West. But invade our little house and you’ll hear me or the Kat sternly advise “Leave the way you came in, and you’ll live. Come closer, you die.” Then we chamber a round, and that metallic clack tells the intruder “this is serious”.
The Second Amendment appears to give Americans the right to bear arms. Still it contains that troublesome prepositional phrase “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Most of us aren’t in the National Guard, and those who are must leave their SAWs and M-4’s locked up in the armory. Outside the National Rifle Association no one questions the right of the government to regulate the type of firearm citizens may possess (no machine guns, grenades, or anti-tank weapons). But the NRA puts more fear in politicians than campaign finance reform and an informed electorate combined. Worse yet, the NRA wants a gun in every bedroom, preferably two.
Since I became old enough to buy beer (1968) 1,517,000 Americans have died from gun violence right here in the USA. Less than 10,000 others have been killed by terrorists. In all of our wars combined we lost 1,400,000 American lives. That includes both sides in the Civil War and all soldier deaths from disease. Guns have killed more American civilians since 1968 than all our wars and all acts of terrorism against US citizens in all of recorded history. (Feel free to ask The Google.)
The USA leads the world in mass shootings. To which the NRA replies “Guns don’t kill people: people kill people.”
That’s technically true, but guns make it too easy to kill people. A lunatic with a knife or hammer can take out one or two. Give that loon an AR-15 with a couple of 30 round clips and a .40 caliber automatic, and you’ll get an Umpqua, a Columbine, a Sandy Hook, a Virginia Tech, a Texas Luby’s, a California McDonald’s, or maybe something in your town, coming soon.
Years ago, right after the U of Texas clock tower sniper, the time came to regulate firearms sales. That was 1966. To do nothing now is beyond irresponsible: it’s bloody murder.