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Can we have a sensible debate on Gun Control?

When you don’t say something, one usually assumes people don’t “assume” that you are saying it… so it goes with this.  My comments here in the previous post and on Facebook have drawn lots of off-line emails and comments.

Therefore, to clarify – what I am NOT saying:

  • End all gun possession
  • Unfairly prohibit possession by good law obeying and sane citizens

What I AM saying:

  • There are too many guns
  • It’s too easy to get a gun
  • It’s a dangerous situation to have too many out there for all of us.

The arguments I’m given against tighter screening/control:

  • Big brother
  • Only the criminals will have them
  • Constitutional right
  • If they don’t have guns, crazy people who massacre others will use bombs

Sensible Screening and Control Arguments:

  • During the ten years of the Brady Bill (injured when President Reagan was shot – and his work with congress to get this bill enacted took assault rifles and extended magazines off the legal sale list) deaths from assault rifles plummeted by 40%… even with so many out there.
  • Over 40% of all guns sales do not go through the required background checks of a retail store (gun or Walmat…)  They are bought on instant sale at shows & internet…  These required NCIS checks can be done instantly in all those cases and could prevent people with mental/emotional or convicted felons from making purchases.  Right now, card carrying Al Queida members can obtain them in cash at a gun show or over the internet.
  • Most gun crimes are crimes of passion – mad people in an emotional rage – ever hear of road rage?  Sane people lose it too!  Less guns equals less murders…  There are too many.  The UK had 24 gun murders last year.  Most major cities kill more in a month than an entire year in the UK – over 60M people.  Australia saw 54 murders of all types last year – over 22M people.  The US is a violent place!  Carrying weapons on a person leads to more violence, not a polite society…  people will react out of rage.
  • The NRA is responsible for the Virginia Tech, Columbine and Aurora massacres indirectly because they fight all screening bills on the false argument of freedom…  They buy the GOP candidates and threaten the DNC candidates…  This isn’t a party issue though… they have too much lobby power and their fight isn’t sensible.  None of us wants crazy people or criminals from having guns and the tic tac quips about “only criminals would have guns” doesn’t hold water…  No sane person is trying to change the US Constitution, or be big brother…  100% screening and removal of assault weapons will save lives!
  • No one needs or can justify privately owning an AK–47 or an M-16… For????  Sport?  Sorry – that’s not a good argument.  Tell that to the families in Aurora right now…  Extended magazines help ONLY criminals.  Next argument?  When we stopped those sales – Again (!) – over 40% drop in a ten year period…
  • 100% screening helps keep it sales from people who shouldn’t have access – it doesn’t impede purchases for legal citizens.
  • Requiring gun handling courses only saves accidental deaths and unwise storage or use of weapons.  AND business for gun ranges would explode!  It’s a good thing to do!  It allows a personal touch and anyone of concern would surface… more people would die of old age rather than gun shot than do now.
  • A gun carrying person in that theatre (which is possible now under concealed carrying laws) would not have changed it – with all likelihood.  Here is why:  a) Ever been in the confusion of combat (like a soldier or a cop)?  It’s chaos – the result would more likely be MORE innocent people shot or killed by rounds from a shooter trying to help; b) multiple people carrying guns would probably shoot each other because they would mistake the other “good shooter” as a second crazy shooter (think about it – it’s chaos, they don’t know each other, and the darkness, muzzle flashes and people running, screaming etc would be a nightmare – NOT one police department is in support of this type vigilante action); c) You have no idea how you would react in a violent situation…. having been a cop and a soldier – under pressure of life-death most would freeze up and not act anyway!
  • Most people die at the hand of their OWN weapon from a criminal disarming and taking their weapon that live to tell about it because they shoot the assailant.  Check the statistics…  Yes, you can tell “a” story of some one downing the bad guy – I can too, right here in New Orléans – but the statistics tell us that it makes it worse for more people.
  • If guns are not available to crazy people, the evidence is that they do not use bombs as threatened…  Look at the UK and Australia… as well as Canada – the evidence does not support this.

 

Proposal: 

  • 100% screening
  • Bring back the Brady Law – make combat weapons illegal and extended magazines….  NO REASON FOR THEM
  • Make concealed permits stricter so we don’t have a reckless wild west town situation
  • 100% Gun safety/handling class required for purchase/owning guns

 

Closing note:  Colonial America is NOT 21st century America.  A few things have changed of necessity and reason.  The need is not the same.  In that day, it was a duty  – to be trained to use it well, needed for food, needed for real threats as there was no such thing as police and British or French Regiments were a long way off in the middle of a small farm or village when danger appeared.  There was civic responsibility… we don’t have that in any fashion today.

We’re not going to change the US Constitution  – even if you are for it – but we can be wise and save lives.  These precautions do not prohibit or diminish legal sales.  The NRA’s pressure, lobby and media campaigns are proof that we’ve got even larger problems in our system.

What has this to do with God and Christians:  We have a duty to bring the Kingdom; a call; a mandate; to be witnesses and act like Kingdom citizens.  Want to bring social change – as so many want to do with political elections – here is a good start.  If we step back from the present conversation and emotion, allow us to consider the various positions…. One might by conviction be against all guns; one might be for a more controlled environment and one possibly could hold this position as I’ve stated.

My position if from a pragmatist desire to achieve more control on things like Aurora and the 130 shootings a day in the US… yes, every day.  It’s pragmatic because more control is not going to happen in this era, though some rational small steps like these would provide better screening and protection for citizens, while not attempting the Don Quixote charge on the windmill of changing this constitutional right (which was to prevent abusive government from being tyrannical against it’s people) strongly held by a number of people and a very strong lobby.

What one has a hard time doing is seeing these various positions in one room, and imagining Jesus standing in the NRA position.  Can anyone see Him defending this position?  Again, is He shaping our view or our own worldly politics?

 

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