Guns do kill people…

Holidailies 2012I’m sick and tired of the NRA’s ridiculous argument.  It simply abdicates any responsibility for the fact that the more guns that are out in people’s hands (and often in the hands of those who should never have them) the more gun violence exists.

The fact is, the easier it is to get a gun, the easier it is for them to be used in the perpetration of violent crimes.  Certainly, there are other ways to commit murder, say, for instance, with a knife.  But knives don’t allow distance from the act of killing. Knives are personal and messy and inefficient. They require you to get up close to your victim.  They give your victim more time to respond and to fight back.

The likelihood of a knife-wielding mass murderer taking out a movie theater full of people or a high school or an elementary school full of children is practically nonexistent.  Of course someone determined to cause mayhem will often find a way, but high powered automatic weapons make that mission far easier, especially when there are few limits placed on the ability to procure such a weapon.

Yes, people kill people, but weapons, and guns in particular, make that act far easier.  There are those among us who are mentally ill, who are angry, who are prone to violence and rage.  There are those among us who in the heat of a moment will wield a gun to feel powerful or frightening or even funny.  But, imagine how different the outcomes of many gun crimes would be if those people had not so easily gotten their hands on that weapon.

The right to bear arms should not mean the right to bear arms without any legal restrictions.  The right to bear arms should not mean that high powered automatic weaponry should be available to the public at large.  The right to bear arms should not mean that it’s easier to get a gun than driver’s license or allergy medication.

For those who say that making sure more people are armed (like security guards) would prevent such episodes as today’s school shooting in Connecticut, I point you directly to the tragedy at Fort Hood.  A military base, full of armed and trained personnel, and a single man wounded 29 people and killed 13 others.  More guns is not the answer.  The answer is that we should make it more difficult to procure them for those who would do ill.  (The answer is also that we need better, more affordable mental health care with less stigma attached, but that’s a whole other rant.)

For now we need to grow up as a nation and recognize that the wolf is not at the door, we are not living in revolutionary America, where the threat of freedom means we should all be armed to the teeth.  We are a modern, civil society and we need to acknowledge our culpability in the gun violence that surrounds us and take action to mitigate future tragedies.