Believe it or not, I don’t love “blastin’ away” (to quote a Facebook post from one of you) more than I do my own son. I don't pride myself on being a "bad ass," as one of your friends called me. I have this crazy idea that I should be able to defend Christopher and Maribel from an intruder in the night or a mob in a riot.
President Obama disappointed me on this. Though I did not vote for him, I truly hoped he'd use this moment of national grief to unite all sides in finding a real solution to this problem. I thought he'd at least like the "optics" of building consensus and seeking the best input from all sides. Instead, he opted to shove a partisan mandate down our throats. That’s neither hopeful nor a change.
Don’t get me wrong. The NRA was stunningly tone-deaf and equally hard-line. But they’re advocates, not the supposed leader of the whole country. So, at the end of the day, the guns in this country will essentially be left status quo, with a relatively meaningless assault weapons ban.
If you are serious about the problem of mass shootings, isn't it logical to engage people who know about firearms? Instead, you’ve chosen to portray your neighbors as blood-thirsty ghouls, unmoved by a parade of tiny caskets.
If you were trying to end drunk driving in this country, would you align as many teetotalers as you could find, then shun the bar owners, brewers and drinking public to the corners? Of course not.
Yet, when you guys talk about guns, you talk about "clips" and "machine guns," making it obvious to us that you’re clueless and emotional. And then you want me to trust you with my family's protection?
I’ve qualified on POST and STRAC standards, shooting rings, pop-ups and ALT-C. I’ve shot everything from .22LRs to the M2 and Barrett. I’ve been on CQB and KD ranges. I’ve used iron, CCO and ACOG on deployment, and Leupolds at a school. I’ve gone both hot and black in real fire fights. I’ve fired bolt action, semi-auto, burst and automatic.
And I’m guessing few of you know what any of those terms mean. Yet you want to dictate gun policy.
These things are relevant because those of us who know guns react in horror when clueless liberals spout terms and ideas they picked up from Rambo movies and episodes of Law & Order. This pushes gun-owners further into defensive mode. You may not care about us, but since roughly half of American households own guns, Congress does.
The other problem, of course, is that you’ll waste effort and create dissent in doing things that are pointless and ineffective. Take, for instance, the 100-round "drum" magazine issue.
I’ve read about these allegedly unconscionable things in a couple of places since last week, citing the Aurora theater shooter's use of one. His also jammed after about 30 rounds. They’re stupid toys and gun owners might well trade a ban on them for loosening counter-productive rules. But, of course, you’d never know that.
If you want a real solution, consider some things that responsible gun owners can get behind: Mandatory gun safes. Trigger locks are a poor theft deterrent because they can be drilled out. Gun owners hate them because they encumber home defense when it counts. So, why not mandate safes? Most gun owners would not be terribly bothered by it (a lot would say “I’ve been wanting to buy one, anyway”). Here's the kicker: a safe might have prevented Sandyhook.
I’ve seen proposals for mental health reviews for gun purchases. That’s something we’d have a very hard time supporting, because Sen. Chuck Schumer cannot be trusted. “Question 1: Do you need a gun for home defense?” Answer "yes," and you’re obviously paranoid: “No gun for you!”
But, here’s a creative idea: Have the NRA set the standards? They absolutely would not want the PR nightmare of having an applicant it approved go nutty, so you can have great confidence the standard will be solid. That's a win-win.
Most of the gun bans that gun-know-nothings espouse will be inconvenient and an affront to liberty. More importantly, they won't accomplish what you're Rambo-based perceptions make you think.
Both Virgina Tech (the country’s worst massacre) and Luby’s Diner (now #3 on the list) were committed with common home defense pistols and magazines generally in compliance with the proposed bans. They were purchased in full compliance with both existing and most proposed laws.
And, while you demonize the Bushmaster .223 of Sandyhook infamy, the killer also had two pistols that would have been just as grotesquely efficient - perhaps more so. Both would remain perfectly legal, because they are very appropriate home defense weapons.
And, somehow you guys don't seem all that bothered about the exponential growth of violent media in society. Having a conversation about guns (which have not changed in the last 25 years) while ignoring motivational influences (which have) only fuels our suspicions of ulterior motives. We don't need laws (there's a Constitutional Amendment about that), but why not a Presidential "teachable moment" about kids practicing random killing at a bodies-per-minute rate?
If you really want to solve this problem and unify the country, not just grab guns, a package of ideas like those above, combined with a loosening of concealed-carry laws and an elimination of “gun-free zones” (AKA “protection-free zones) will go a long way with gun owners. If you ask for modestly onerous measures that will truly limit whackos' access to guns and offer to let us protect ourselves (and you) in exchange, you'll quickly and easily gain consensus.
Here's a secret: loosening CCW laws is the key to gun-owners' hearts.
More importantly, it'll work. Imagine how last Friday would have been if just one staff member at the front door had reacted with a pistol, not bare hands.
You don't need pistol-packin' bad ass teachers in every classroom or patrons in every theater. You just need to make the Adam Lanzas of the world worry about it.
There are 300 million guns in American, most of which can do grievous harm in seconds in the wrong hands. You'll never get rid of them. Rapid suppression by superior force is the only method of ending such a horror once it starts.
We can solve this problem together, if you accept that people with a different perspective and experience can have the same goal.