To Bear, Or Not To Bear (Hit Me With Your Best Shot).
Two of our bloggers, Amazingly Disgraced (a gun owner, certified to carry concealed firearms) and Basic Pitch (does not, and has never, owned a firearm), asked one another a few questions with regards to gun ownership, gun control laws, and safety. If you have any questions for either of us, please comment them. If we get enough questions, we’ll compose a part two of this piece, answering as many of them as we can.
Questions posed to Basic Pitch:
Why don’t you own a gun?
- I do not own a gun because I’ve never owned a gun. I get that it sounds dumb, but I didn’t grow up with guns, despite being surrounded in my youth by men who served in the military, none of them owned guns (to my knowledge) for personal use. We weren’t hunters. The only guns I saw were on TV or the movies and usually looked like a bad idea. I took the position, once I was an adult and considered gun ownership, that if I didn’t know how to use a gun safely, I had no business owning one. I realized I knew nothing about guns, I’d never learned how to use a gun. I know nothing of gun safety. The first time I thought about buying a gun was shortly after my divorce, my very small children and I were living alone. This was the first time in my life I had anything worth protecting and it was up to me entirely, then I realized those tiny children, who get into everything, having a mother with no knowledge of guns, should really really really not own a gun, those things can kill people. This brings us to today.
Does your interpretation of the 2nd amendment include the right to gun ownership for self-defense, sport, et cetera?
- Yes. Of course it does. I support the 2nd amendment. I support gun ownership until it puts others in danger. Some jackass’ right to own a gun does not negate my right to not be injured by that gun. The problem isn’t the guns, it’s the people we allow to own them without any restriction that inspires my concerns about the kinds of guns we’re allowing them to own. I think if we’re going to hand guns to people who want to use them to harm others maybe we should AT LEAST ensure they do as little damage as possible, that being said I feel it would be far more effective to ensure that people who may have the propensity to harm others don’t get their hands on any guns in the first place.
What aspects of gun control policy need to be more strict/more lax/changed in any way, and why?
- NO MORE FREAKING LOOPHOLES!!!! I would love for every gun owner to have to go through a process at least as stringent as I have to go through to drive and own a car. I would like to see mandatory training/testing, licensing for use, registration, and liability insurance requirements. I don’t think you should be able to walk into a convention center, buy a semi automatic and carry it without some record of you owning it. I think the owner should be responsible for unreported missing guns. I also think owners should be responsible for any damage their guns do. If you do not take reasonable precautions to ensure your gun cannot harm anyone, you should be held responsible for the damage it does. This does not apply to a rapist shot during a home invasion, as that is self defense, but if you don’t take proper precautions to ensure the 12 year old neighbor can’t find your gun and use it and he shoots his little brother with it, even by accident, the gun owner is responsible for not ensuring that deadly weapon is kept out of the hands it shouldn’t be in. If a gun owner is unwilling to take these reasonable precautions, they shouldn’t be gun owners. People with violent pasts, on terrorist watch lists, or mental illnesses that endanger others should never own guns.
On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the highest, what number would you give to delineate the priority of gun control policy in America?
- Where it is? It’s at about 2, with a spike to 4 when there is a large public shooting. Where it should be? I’d say a hard 8, and only that low because of the current political nightmare we find ourselves in. Not everything can be a 10.
Questions posed to Amazingly Disgraced:
Why do you own a gun?
- I spent the majority of my life being terrified of firearms. Not only for myself, but because I had small children, and I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which such a weapon would be necessary. Then, I left my husband of 14 years, due to his substance abuse issues, and his abusive (physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically, financially) behavior toward my children and myself. One day, about 3-4 months after I left, I was lurking on his Facebook page, and came across a thinly veiled threat, which I perceived to be directed at me. The very next day, I went and dropped over $600 on a Smith & Wesson .38 special revolver, “The Bodyguard” model. It took me awhile to get used to properly using it, and to this day, every time I fire it (only at the target range), my hands are shaking when I’m done. The sheer power of the weapon, along with recognizing the power I’m holding in my hands is, well, humbling, empowering, and terrifying, all in one.
Does your interpretation of the 2nd amendment include unrestricted gun ownership for every American?
- Absolutely not! Frankly, I think the majority of Americans shouldn’t qualify for gun ownership, but I’ll expand more in my answer to another question. Honestly, my direct interpretation of the 2nd amendment wouldn’t allow everyday Joe’s and Judy’s to carry firearms, unless forming a militia with which to overthrow a tyrannical government; that was the intended purpose of this amendment. Now, I do believe that we do have the right to protect ourselves, our families, friends, neighbors, etc, and self defense is a biological imperative. So, modern interpretations of the 2nd amendment should include gun ownership for purposes of protecting oneself, and others, from a direct and imminent threat.
How do tragedies such as Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Columbine, etc affect your personal feelings on gun control policy?
- Again, my thoughts on gun control policy will be explained in greater detail in my answer to the last question. Oddly, in many of the situations you listed, as well as other, similar incidents, our nation’s response is overwhelmingly, “We need more guns to stop the guns because guns!” The logic in this is absolutely mind blowing. No, we don’t need teachers carrying firearms (students could very easily have access to them). No, we don’t need to fight fire with fire. What we need are policies that address the specific usage of firearms in situations such as those you listed, as well as working on holistically and fully addressing the root causes (bullying, racism, et cetera) in their entirety. I do believe that ALL schools should be mandated to install metal detectors, as well as providing safety door locks for each classroom, that would prevent anyone who is believed to have a firearm and be dangerous, inside.
What would you change about our current gun control policies?
- Firstly, we need to create a much more thorough application and vetting/screening process. Have you been convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor? No gun for you. You must complete a psychological screening, at your own expense, and be able to prove that you are mentally stable, and don’t have some sort of plan for vengeance in mind. If you’ve ever been on mental health medication, you would also need to have a consultation with a psychiatrist, again, at your own expense, to ensure that you are clear to safely own and operate a firearm. I believe we need to place heavier limitations and restrictions on automatic firearms, large count magazines/clips, ammunition such as hollow point or Kevlar piercing bullets. We should also have to complete training courses (again, we should pay for this), as well as completing a qualifying course that shows we are capable of safely handling, maintaining, cleaning, and firing our weapons.