I am disgusted. After seventeen people lost their lives last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, We lost our collective minds….again. From news headlines to social media posts, pundits and politicians, everyone has something to say. Whether Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal Progressive, most of what’s being posted is nothing more than ignorant emotionally charged talking points, none of it promoting anything truly objective or useful. The Far Left uses every mass shooting as a platform to push their anti-gun agenda. The ultimate, though unstated, goal of which is to eliminate the private ownership of all firearms. The Far Right then pushes back, hiding behind the Second Amendment, to push it’s ultimate, though unstated, goal of complete and unrestricted access to all firearms. Most of us don’t espouse either extreme, but we lean Left or Right. It seems no one is centrist in this debate, though many claim to be. There are valid points and arguments on both sides, but we have dug in our heels, armed ourselves with our favorite talking points and have stopped listening to each other. The sad outcome of this obstinacy will be more needlessly lost lives.
To restore some reason and civility to this debate, both sides must accept some inevitable truths. Those of us on the Right must realize that the majority of Americans support universal background checks. Many also support expanding the minimum purchase age to include shotguns and rifles. It is inevitable that there will be change to gun control policy. Rather than opposing this change outright, we should take control of the narrative. We should support legislation that prevents the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining firearms, without restricting the rights of law-abiding adult citizens to purchase them.
Those on the Left like to hold the rest of the world up as the paragon of virtue when it comes to the possession of firearms. They must understand that the United States is unique in its treatment of firearms ownership. The United States is one of only three countries that has a Constitutional right to gun ownership. It was the first to protect this right in its founding documents, and the only one that has no Constitutional restrictions against it. Second Amendment proponents understand that this amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It has to do with a citizen’s right to protect himself and his property. Whether it is from an intruder or an overreaching tyrannical government. This amendment protects the tools by which we can defend liberty. Liberty for everyone, Right, Left or somewhere in between. The only way the Second Amendment will ever be repealed is with a bloodbath that will forever split out nation in two. Is that what you really want the ultimate legacy of the Liberal Progressive movement to be?
Here are my personal positions on this issue. I’m pretty sure Leftists will hate them, and Conservatives will think I’m selling out, but this is just common sense to me.
I support universal background checks with an exception for guns willed to or gifted to family members. However, the law should hold responsible family members who knowingly buy guns for another family member who wouldn’t pass a background check.
I support increasing the age to purchase a rifle or shotgun from eighteen to twenty one. The law should apply only to the purchase of a weapon. Persons under the age of twenty one should be allowed to posses and use a firearm under the supervision of an adult.
I support training in firearms operation, safety, maintenance and law. I would not oppose this being mandatory for the purchase of a firearm.
I support the banning of “bump stocks”.
I support increased funding to diagnose and treat the mentally ill. While compassion for mentally ill persons is important, when it comes to firearms, the safety of the patient and the public should be the main concerns. However to protect the rights of a patient, a person would have to be declared unfit to possess a firearm by a licensed mental health professional.
I support holding accountable the agencies responsible for performing the background checks for gun ownership. I also support holding accountable the agencies that fail to report dangerous individuals. The inability or unwillingness of these agencies to enforce the already existing gun laws is a great threat to public safety and will render any reform of gun law useless.
I oppose the banning of so-called “assault style” weapons. This is an unquantifiable term that concerns the cosmetics of a weapon rather than its action. It is a term meant to play on the emotions of people unfamiliar with firearms.
I oppose the banning of high-capacity magazines. It places an unnecessary restriction on law-abiding gun owners, and a well-trained marksman can change magazines fast enough to make such a ban useless. Again, it is a knee jerk reaction, meant to play on the emotions.
I oppose any form of gun registry or database of gun owners. To require gun owners to register their firearms and to maintain a database of those persons and their residences goes completely against the spirit and purpose of the Second Amendment.