|"Alonzo's Gun" by Jim McGuire|
I don't like guns. I think there's too much risk involved with owning one, even with training, because it could get into the wrong hands. I understand that a society without guns does not mean a society without violent crime, but I also think the argument for guns and regulating them being the same as owning a car and registering that (because they can get into the wrong hands too) is just fallacious. A gun's primary purpose is to kill, and training isn't required to own one. A car's primary purpose is transport, and Driver's Ed/a license is required to drive one. Of course that doesn't mean that people won't drive illegally (be that uninsured, unlicensed, or under the influence), but a car is means of getting from A to B. A gun is a means to kill. I don't care how paranoid you are about your house being broken into; having a gun in the house increases the likelihood of death outside of that situation and inside of it. What if the burglar doesn't have a gun? Is shooting him/her reasonable force? Or is it reasonable to take any measures to protect your property here, whatever the situation?
It might be naive to feel this way, but I'm all right with that. The belief in the right and need to own a gun seems to me to be a product of misinterpreted history (my understanding is that the Second Amendment was originally to allow people to own firearms in case of war), paranoia, media encouragement, and a hyper-individualistic society. It's so entrenched in the people now that I doubt there will be a great change, or at least not quickly, when it comes to licensing and reducing the number of firearms. For me, I would prefer to believe that I will not need (and know that I do not want) a gun, even in a situation where someone else has one.
In order to provide a more balanced perspective, I've linked some relevant sites and posts below:
Sam Harris - The Riddle of the Gun
Gun Show Injuries - USA Today article
Josh Fielder's Two Cents - Status update
Morning Joe - Reaction to new NRA commercial
The Citadel - A planned community of 'patriotic Americans'
Okay, so only Sam Harris' article is really "balanced" out of that list, but I've already admitted to my inability to step away from what is culturally ingrained in me: guns are not the norm, and in the UK shootings are treated with shock not just because of the human tragedy, but because of the infrequency.
Being allowed to own a gun whilst untrained in how to operate it safely is a terrifying reality. Not having to register all guns is equally scary, and is no doubt contributing to both the lack of training enforcement and the circulation of illegal firearms - amongst law-abiding citizens and criminals. Open discussion and a willingness to compromise is going to be essential for establishing a safer country where guns are allowed, but regulated, registered, and owned by background-checked, trained individuals. To quote Annie Lennox, "Dying is easy; it's living that scares me to death." We need to move past fear and work together to create a secure, trusting, and more peaceful future.