Control vs. ban: There IS a difference
I wouldn’t say that I’ve “had enough” of the conversation surrounding gun control. It’s a conversation that is both prudent and overdue. So, no, we haven’t had enough of it, but I think we’ve had too much of the wrong kind of conversation, and that is very frustrating.
To begin with, it’s important that people recognize the difference between gun control and banning all guns. Yes, it’s true that most versions of gun control include the banning of assault weapons, but even proponents of gun possession should agree that anyone not looking to commit a crime would not need something with “assault” in the name. No one needs an assault rifle to shoot a deer or protect a home.
That being said, gun control is regulation, not removal, of guns in America. That’s the most important point that needs to be communicated: regulating is not banning. I hear too often, especially here in Arkansas, that “no one’s going to take our guns!” Relax. No one wants to.
What’s being suggested is that guns should be regulated in much the same way that driver’s licenses are regulated. Certain pre-existing medical conditions can cause one to be prohibited from driving. Driver’s licenses need to be renewed periodically, to prove that one still knows how to drive properly. It should be so with guns, too.
These are solid, logical arguments, and every argument I have ever heard against them has been nonsensical and blatantly combative. I have been told that these regulations would be so expensive that in order to fund them, taxes would have to be raised for the general public. That’s folly; in the same way that cigarettes became more expensive for smokers and no one else, so too should guns and ammunition become more expensive to gun owners and no one else.
New taxes should be levied on the purchase of both guns and ammunition to pay for these increased regulations. I have heard that this is unfair, because most gun owners are law-abiding citizens with good heads on their shoulders. That’s true, and my only responses to that argument are (A) life isn’t fair, and (B) I don’t commit murders but I still pay the salaries of police officers, judges, public defenders and such, and you don’t see me whining about it.
And let’s not forget that old gem: “criminals will get the guns anyway, so why bother with new laws?” By this logic, all laws should be repealed, because “people break them anyway.”
The other bit that’s driving me insane is that many people, the National Rifle Association in particular, are trying to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of mental illness. True, guns without “crazy people” wielding them do not shoot people, but likewise, someone confronted with a gunless “crazy person” does not get shot. What needs to be recognized is that this isn’t an either-or proposition.
We can address the deficiencies in the health care system, particularly with regard to mental health, AND the lack of gun control. We, as a society, don’t need to choose. We can do both at once.
The most disturbing thing about the NRA, if it isn’t their total lack of touch with reality, has to be their foul attitude.
I have seen too many posters, internet graphics and the like proclaiming that the media is out to get them, just like it is every few years (read: every time there’s a horrific gun-related tragedy) and they’ll “win again.” I’m sorry if it bothers you to hear it, NRA and supporters, but as long as we’re living in the developed country that is ranked highest in gun murders, nobody wins.