Today I woke up to the news of 27 people being shot in Connecticut elementary school, including 18 children. That is 2 days after mall shooting in Portland Oregon. Just another day in America.
To be clear – I support the 2nd Amendment. Probably because I can appreciate hunting and sportsmanship, not because I’m scared of government tyranny (if government wants to be a tyrant, the kind of tyrant the far-right imagines, I doubt their 3 shotguns per household will save them; not to mention that this country has plenty of other, more civil tools to deal with tyranny). But there’s a wide gap between being a supporter of gun rights and being a supporter of NRA. I’m not quite sure why the gun lobby have such hair-trigger, explosive (pun intended) and insecure personalities. Before talking heads even open their mouths, we hear hurried and defensive calls to abstain from talking about guns right after the shootings out of respect of victims. But how the hell are we supposed to wait 48 hours, as NRA apologists advocate, if the shootings happen every freaking day?!
So let’s talk about it now. Until the day I see a headline “Knife-wielding disgruntled employee kills 25 people”, I will be skeptical about the argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. What we’re talking about here is the scale of potential harm and a gun is the tool that can command a remarkable magnitude of damage.
There are more than 300 million guns in private hands in the US. But the gun posession is not distributed equally, as three quarters of people with guns own 2 or more.
Another scale to keep in mind is the state of gun rights advocacy. NRA supporters would like to turn the discussion on gun control into the discussion of attack on personal freedoms. They like to pretend that calls for regulating the gun industry is somehow the equivalent to banning their guns. When we have a discussion, without nuance, where only the artificially imagined options A and B exist – A being “freedom” and B being “tyranny” – then the “freedom” argument will always win. This is how the debate, thanks to NRA and gun lobby, is framed right now. They say “cars kill people – we don’t ban cars”. That’s a false analogy. True, people with cars kill people, that’s why we regulate cars, not ban them. There’s a vast grey area between banning and allowing unfettered, unrestricted, no-questions-asked access to weapons. This is the area that I’m talking about.
Will there still be murders and rampages even if we put regulations in place? Sure! But the next time some teenager doesn’t sneak into his uncle’s attick and doesn’t get that gun – there will be a few more lives spared.