Anyone who has read my column knows I’m pretty liberal. Let me give you a little more background. I’m originally from central Pennsylvania, where they hand you your Hunter’s Safety Card at your Bar Mitzvah (kidding, there aren’t a lot of Jews, but you get my drift). I was raised in a house with guns, safely stored, and I was taught how to use, clean and properly respect a gun. I believe that Americans should have the right to handguns and rifles for the purposes of hunting, self-defense and sport.
Here’s where I deviate from most of the people I grew up with:
- I think that a potential gun owner should have to wait through a reasonable waiting period whilst the authorities make sure they don’t have a criminal record or a record of violent behavior.
- I think that if someone has a felony or a violent history of any sort, they should be denied access to buying a gun.
- To respond to anyone who finds that unreasonable, if you want a gun and you need it in less than 72 hours, you don’t need a gun, you need a cop. If the situation is that urgent, you are probably not in the frame of mind to be armed, and you need a professional to handle the situation.
- You don’t need a semi-automatic weapon. I have several lines of defense on this.
- If you say you’re using it for hunting, I think that you need to work on your marksmanship and redefine your idea of sportsmanship.
- If you say you need it for self-defense over a pistol or a rifle, the numbers of such things being successful are staggeringly against you and you really don’t.
- If you use the age-old argument of “My wife shouldn’t need to think about her self-defense and should be able to point and shoot,” I think that you show an astonishingly misogynist perspective on women. If you think the average housewife isn’t smart enough to learn how to properly use any gun, you are highly underestimating the average housewife.
- I think that the AR-15 is a borderline military grade assault weapon and should be kept out of the hands of civilians.
- There are plenty of people who have argued and parsed the Second Amendment much better than I could, and you should read what they’ve written.
- The idea that “Gun laws won’t prevent gun violence” is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Murderers will murder people, but murder is still verboten. Rapists will rape people, but we have laws against it (that could stand to be improved) on the books. Thieves will always steal out of thrill or necessity; they still go to jail if they get caught, and the incentive of prison is what keeps a lot of people from doing illegal things. That’s how laws work. Shall I prepare a flow chart for you?
- We can go back and forth all day, but the fact of the matter is that some people just like guns. They love them. Guns make them feel safe or powerful or protected or maybe something a little less kosher. And when it gets to that latter point and we’re dealing with semi-automatic weapons, that’s not sport or a hobby, that’s a fetish. And you know what? This is America; I don’t have a problem with someone having a fetish. But I have to inexplicably trust you (without knowing you) to be responsible with your fetish. And when the chance of you not being responsible with your fetish has the potential to go astray or ricochet and hit my 5-year-old, your fetish is very much my business and it deserves to be sensibly regulated.
I promised a NSFW section in the article, and I guess this is it. After Sandy Hook, I thought we were done. I thought to myself that no reasonable human being could ever make an argument that sensible gun regulation wasn’t necessary. I thought that no reasonable human being could look at the senseless slaughter of dozens of beautiful, innocent schoolchildren and teachers and not fucking do something about it.
But I was wrong. I was so, sadly, incredibly, imperceptibly naïve. Money and votes and sociopaths and the most nefarious group of leadership since HUAC, the NRA, have blocked effective change at every turn. The idea that we expect a driver to be of a certain age, to submit written and active test results, to be insured, and to keep their behavior responsible but do not hold the same standard to a thing that was specifically built to kill is simultaneously laughable and sad and rage-provoking.
Yes, Wednesday’s extraordinary sit-in and protest on the floor of the House of Representatives was a good push in the right direction. But the legislation being demanded by the Democrats does not seem to go nearly far enough for most Americans. The distinct difference here is that at least the Democrats want to begin finding steps to address gun violence in America. If the Republicans keep clinging to the same old tired NRA talking points and refuse to hear the American people in their demand for change, they will deserve everything coming to them in November and more.
Here’s a little mini-Passion Play starring my ideal Senator and, in the safe happy place that is my imagination, my dream conversation of their first meeting with an NRA lobbyist:
(Senator and NRA lobbyist spend a few perfunctory moments discussing interpretations of the Second Amendment.)
Senator: Well, thank you for coming in.
NRA Douche-Nozzle: Before I go, I want to ensure you of the NRA’s support if you —
Senator: No, it’s really time for you to go. Unless your organization drastically adjusts its course towards sensible firearm regulation, we have nothing to talk about.
NRA Douche-Canoe: Well, if you’re unwilling to support Second Amendment rights, we can make things very favorable for your challenger in your next race —
Senator: I’m pretty sure I didn’t just hear you threaten a US Senator. Get the fuck out of my office.
(The NRA Douche-Waffle blusters and flusters.)
Senator: Did I stutter? Get the fuck out of my office. I cannot be bought or threatened or cajoled or guilt-tripped. I’m supporting what my constituents and what a staggering 90% of Americans want, sensible and balanced firearm regulation. You are a terrible fucking human being who politicizes the deaths of innocents and therefore has no possible place in a building built for the Republic. Tell your infantilized, bigoted and sociopathic leadership to get the fuck in line or be politically slaughtered when we get these Houses of the People on the right side of history, and you’ll be a goddamned manager of a Chick-Fil-A by the time my party is through with you. Please feel free to grab a soft drink or coffee on your way out.
(The NRA Douche-Bouquet slinks away but unsurprisingly doesn’t reexamine his/her life or ideals. The Senator pours a bourbon. Blackout.)
On a last and serious note, of course we shouldn’t use the same foul rhetoric and methods that the NRA uses, and we should lead with love, compassion and careful thought. But every single day something comes up that makes that more and more impossible. If we must be angry (see my thoughts last month on rage), let us channel that anger into action and bring this to our elected representatives with vigor and vim. And if they refuse to budge and instead sputter and croak about Second Amendment ideals and rights and responsibilities, we should kick them the fuck out of office as quickly as humanly possible this November.