Thinking Aloud: Gun Control

I read Josh Marshall’s editorial at Talking Points Memo yesterday, about what he calls “his tribe” that is, people who don’t carry guns and are, unabashedly, non-gun people. It’s worth a read.

A sample: “I think guns are kind of scary and don’t want to be around them. Yes, plenty of people have them and use them safely. And I have no problem with that. But remember, handguns especially are designed to kill people.”

I talked about this in the immediate aftermath of Newtown myself. A lot of what Marshall talks about in his article — in sum, how he rejects the idea that gun culture can run roughshod over non-gun people like him in the name of the 2nd Amendment — hit home for me.

I shot guns occasionally. I was a Girl Scout, and pretty good with the .22 rifles we used to shoot cans. As an adult, a boyfriend and I shot skeet (pretty fun, and I was pretty good at that, too), and at a target range. I fired an AK-47 (the AR-15 of the ’90s). It was hot. I was 24.

I briefly dated a man who had a permit to conceal carry. And he did, as I discovered the first time I was kissing him. Explained the way he wore t-shirts under very baggy flannels (he wasn’t into grunge, so that wasn’t why). Walking me home later that night, he said, “Don’t you feel safe knowing I have a gun on me?”

No, I said. No, I don’t feel safe at all, actually.

We didn’t go on another date.

Fast forward to where we are in America today. Some days, I feel like going to buy a gun, use it to practice at the target range near my house. You know, for the zombie apocalypse. I would probably store it off site — I don’t want a gun in my home, not as long as my children are young.

Most days, I don’t want a own a gun. Most days, I don’t care about gun owning either way. I do think most of the gun owners I know (even the conceal carry guy I walked home with that evening) are perfectly responsible gun owners, well within their rights to own guns.

But it’s gotten out of control, the gun culture in America. Like Josh Marshall, I don’t want to live in a high-fear, mutual assured deterrence kind of society. And I don’t think all the guns have to go away.

But some of them do. And some people should not be able to get guns. And some kinds of ammunition should not be available to the general public.

I support the gun control measures that Vice President Biden (I’m an unabashed fan of his, as I’ve said) and President Obama proposed earlier this week. (The only part of it that gives me pause are the HIPAA provisions; I need to hear more about those.) As Biden put in in his email to me (I know!), “Each of them honors the rights of law-abiding, responsible Americans to bear arms. Some of them will require action from Congress; the President is acting on others immediately. But they’re all commonsense and will help make us a little safer.”

If now is not the time to talk about this, to move on this, then I don’t know when is.

5 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud: Gun Control

  1. Like with most other debates, there’s a readily available middle ground here, available for compromise if both sides will drop their absolutist mentalities.

    To me, the bottom line is there is just no rational need for assault rifles or high capacity clips to be in the hands of the general public. To continue otherwise is to value recreational pastimes and “collecting” higher than public safety.

  2. Well, exactly. (and well said.) I honestly think that most gun owners and most non-gun people are in the middle. As per usual, though, it’s the people on the fringes who are the loudest, and therefore get the most attention.

    You know, when I read yesterday that the NRA was talking about how the next step was government confiscating weapons, I wanted either Obama or Biden to call a press conference and say, “No. No we are not. These people are wrong — and worse, lying to you.” It kinda worked during the election!

  3. I read JM’s comments just a bit ago, and it struck me that the gun-control debate has a lot in common with the “religion wars.” RPM, I know you’re Catholic, so please don’t take offense at any of this. In my analogy, rabid NRA “pry it out of my cold dead hands” gun owners are like people who think that atheists are out to “steal Christmas” and other such nonsense. The vast majority of agnostics/atheists don’t care if other people are into religion; we just want religion kept out of our faces and CERTAINLY don’t want it to be used as justification for wars (Bush II’s New Crusades), just as non-gun people don’t want guns flaunted in their faces or openly toted through their neighborhood.

    Times like this I wish I kept my own blog to voice these weirdo thoughts.

    • It’s super easy to start a blog. Just sayin’.

      For the record, while I see your analogy, let’s understand that we are talking about the fringes on both sides of it. Most religious people, like most atheists, are perfectly happy in the middle, going about their business. But the guns nuts and the Evangelicals are the louder voices in those debates. They want everyone to think like them, and people who think differently and advocate differently are threatening their “rights”. It’s totally over the top.

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