Great viewpoint from a fellow Texan.
I am what most would describe as a gun nut. I have owned guns for nearly 50 years; I have been in law enforcement and have worked on the retail side of the gun business; I have owned more than 100 different firearms and sent many tens of thousands of rounds downrange.
But more than that, I am fascinated by firearms. I find the science, technology, history and impact of the firearm is just as interesting as the guns themselves. I was fascinated by them long before I was ever old enough to shoot.
My problem with gun control advocates is not due to an addiction to firearms; when our children were young, my wife and I agreed that a gun-free home was a good idea and we didn’t have any guns in the house until our youngest was old enough to learn about them. Incidentally, my wife is also a gun owner as are all of her sisters and my sister. Three of our four children are also gun owners.
My problem with gun control advocates is their remedies.
I have a problem with those who tout the benefits of background checks and politicians who reintroduce legislation requiring more of them just days after a man who passed at least a dozen of them shot hundreds of people in Las Vegas.
I have a problem with people screaming to raise the age to buy a firearm in the aftermath of an incident involving only the second person under the age of 21 to use a legally purchased “assault weapon” in a mass shooting in the past 50 years. The other person was an ex-serviceman in 1994. I find it to be a bit of hysteria-driven irony that one person out of 12.7 million in the 18–20 age range is sufficient to drive legislation depriving the rest of their civil right, as legal American adults, to purchase a firearm.
I have a problem with boogeymen. First, I have a problem with a single group of firearms being demonized because of the way they look. I have a problem with inventing a term in order to make those firearms appear more threatening. Second, I have a problem with the demonization of gun owners. If every single gun-related assault or homicide in 2016 was attributable to a single lawful gun owner, 99.88% of them didn’t hurt anyone. Even if we restricted it to persons with concealed-carry permits, 99.37% didn’t hurt anyone.
I have a problem with gun bans. Especially bans that are so poorly written that they leave perhaps 20 million of the guns they propose to ban in circulation and still allow firearms that are equally lethal, if not more lethal, on the market. I also have a problem with gun bans that address a firearm used in only a small percentage of crimes.
I have a problem with restrictions on magazine capacities. This is probably one of the most stupid ideas out there. Not only does the proposed ban leave millions of high-capacity magazines out there with no way to check them, anyone seriously bent on doing harm will simply have more than one — or more than one gun.
Yet all of these are packaged up and promoted as if they were solutions. It’s little different than the snake-oil remedies peddled by an earlier breed of charlatan in the traveling medicine shows. They’re sold as “commonsense” when they’re nothing of the sort. It has gotten to the point that they are supported even if they won’t produce the promised results.
I will certainly be among the first to admit that the “more guns” mantra doesn’t provide a cure, either. Nor do appeals to the Second Amendment or Supreme Court decisions. Gun confiscation would never work in the U.S. and the Second Amendment is highly unlikely to be changed or repealed.
The flaw in this highly acrimonious debate is that the focus is on the wrong thing. Like it or not, assaults and homicides in the U.S. have very little to do with guns or gun laws. Fewer guns or more guns, or the kind of guns being used, seems to have little impact on the real problem of violence. The same is true of gun laws. The impact of more restrictions or fewer restrictions seems to be largely irrelevant. This is especially true of the current state of gun control legislation which only affects those who are not part of the problem.
Fighting crime by creating more criminals seems to be more than a little stupid.
This misdirection, coupled with a desire for some legislative quick fix, has led to the comparative abandonment of issues like suicide, domestic violence and gang violence.
I have no illusions about the future, at least the foreseeable future. We are a violent species and we live in a world built on competition for status, wealth and survival. We will seek or develop the tools that will allow us to be better competitors whether it is to be more successful hunters with spears made of sticks and sharpened rocks or more successful bankers with mortgage derivatives and commodities speculation. That’s the framework we have and that’s the framework with which we must work.