Saturday, April 12, 2014

Guns.

I very rarely get into the topics of firearms, gun violence, or gun control.  It is one of the few topics, I just do not like discussing.  I am a gun owner, I have a concealed carry weapons permit, I do carry on a regular basis.  But there is a reason I really dislike talking about the subject, and that is, when it comes up, it usually involves the deaths of innocent people.

But today, I am going to briefly talk about my views on the subject.  First, I do not see a problem with background checks.  Honestly, I think they can be better.  We need to be able to flag the mentally ill with these same background checks.  Sure it isn't perfect, these same mentally ill people can always buy guns from private people, who are not required to have a check performed.  But really, I blame gun owners, like myself, for this happening.

See, on the very rare occasion that I do sell a firearm to someone I know, or do not know, I always go to a local gun store, which will do these checks, I pay for one to be done.  If the person does not wish to have a background check done, with ownership of the firearm transferred into their name, I simply do not sell the gun.  If I buy a gun from someone, I do the same thing, I pay, have a background check done on myself, and have ownership transferred to myself.  Now, when I do that, its not for the sellers benefit, its for mine, as I also ask that the serial number is checked.  You see why, I am sure.  If it is hot, I know it, it is returned to the police, I get my money back, and the seller will have some explaining to do. 

I call it being responsible.  Most call it being something else, but lets face it, I do not want something I am selling getting into the wrong hands.  I do not want something I am buying to not be above board.  And while that is not a 100% guarantee that all will work out, it reduces the chances that it will not.  Nothing is foolproof, nothing, but one can limit negative outcomes with many things.

But enough about what I do, what I will not do, because I fear I am an exception, rather than the rule.  But the problem with the gun rights versus gun control debate is that people have taken extreme sides.  The gun rights side of the debate claims falsely that the government is going to come door to door and take your guns.  They tend to see any regulations as a gun grab.  You might notice this fear of regulations extends to various other issues (the economy, the environment, etc.).  They see many things like registration of firearms as an assault on their freedom to keep and bear arms.  So much so, that they are unwilling to look at any offers made by the gun control, or the few gun moderate sides of the debate.  They should listen to people like me who are moderate, rather than groups like the NRA, as the NRA dances in the blood of death, to promote the needs for more guns.

The gun control side is just as bad.  Not all want a gun grab, but I have encountered a few who do.  They want some very strict laws put into place, and some of their laws would make it far too expensive for specific people (who are non-violent law abiding citizens) from owning them.  Demanding that owners carry insurance in case something happens, and I have done that before.  It is not easy to do, it is costly to carry a bond on yourself, and while I am protecting yourself, these bonds would sky rocket in cost, even if nothing ever happened that required your bond holder (or insurance company) to pay out.  This is something that the left has always stood steadfastly against, until you mention guns.  And just like the NRA, the gun control side of the debate dances in the blood of death, just to promote the need for fewer guns (which I can see to some extent), more regulations (which we need a stronger background checks), and many many more laws and regulations which do nothing to stop illegal gun owners.

All the while, you have the NRA jumping up saying something I said since my teens, when I was gun neutral.  We have a host of problems in the US which lead to violence towards the self and others.  Guns are just a tool, a means to an end.  Just as a knife is, just as a bat is, just as anything you can pick up and use as a weapon is.   Last week there was a mass stabbing in the United States, anywhere between 6-21 young adults were stabbed, all lived, and most went home shortly afterwards.  If it had been a gun used, there would be 6-21+ dead young adults, I am not so deluded that I would claim otherwise.  But I do feel that incidents like that do give some credence to my view of violence in general.  We have serious mental health issues that need to be taken care of.  We have a massive bullying problem which goes largely ignored until something happens.  When it does happen, we tend to brush it off as an anomaly, something that plays a minor role in the events that have happened.  So, to show this point lets look at Columbine, one of the more infamous mass shootings in the last twenty years.  It is claimed that the two shooters were bullied, and that triggered their actions.  Alright, people claimed that was not the reason for their actions.  So, which is it, were these two bullied, or were they mentally ill persons who managed to get guns through someone who was willing to ignore the laws?

Either case does prove a point about bullying, mental illness, and finding a way to make people use some common sense.  We also must examine the current socioeconomic issues within this country.  Sure people say that there is no need for living wages, that government should stay out of the pay arena, but as peoples socioeconomic status declines, stress rises, substance abuse rises, the effects of mental illness become known.  And just so you know, when someone who has underlying mental illnesses or even treated mental illnesses is placed under stress, they start coming up.  Poverty can actually lead to the activation of mental illness, even if the person is managing to find a way to acquire treatment.

Really, until we enter something like a post-scarcity economy, in which all goods and services are universally available to all people.  Until we figure out a way of ensuring the mentally ill, and criminals do not have access to firearms..  Until we figure out a way to solve most of the problems we have in the US...  Until we are finally able to hang up on our current way of doing things, we can only hope to limit these incidents.  Before I drop this subject, I wanted to discuss new calls for an assault weapons ban.  Scroll back up to the top of the page, look at the picture, tell me, which of those firearms is "assault weapon."  Feel free to answer that in the comments below.  And while I am all for limiting as many deaths as we can, not the "even one" that President Obama likes to toss out there, we need to figure out a way to solve a host of problems, or the main one will never stop, that is what both sides are lost on.  They are using firearms as the cause of death, destruction, and mayhem while calling for more or less of them, when the problem is not so simple as that.  They want to turn this into a black or white situation, when it is nothing of the sort.  It is complex, it is nasty, it is dirty, it is not a one fix solution.  This problem requires throwing a ton of stuff at it in various ways.