Gun Control vs. Gun Ban
It's hard to have a real conversation about gun violence in America when there's nothing but terminal hyperbole ricocheting off of the defensive stances of every side. All logic flies out of the window as soon as you refuse to hear any counter argument to your own well settled opinion.
Like a lot of liberal-leaning Independents in Texas, I own a number of guns. Hell, they fold their AR-15s in between Prius seats down here, so guns are a pretty bipartisan issue in this corner of the US. I like to think that this duplicitous environment gives me the opportunity to at least attempt to bridge the gap a bit.
The most resounding misunderstanding on this topic seems to be the conflation between gun control and gun bans. Just the phrase 'gun control' causes forehead veins to get so inflated from rage that they're at risk of blowing the bill straight off of a MAGA hat.
Conversely, of course, we see a growing swath of purveyors of fanatical enthusiasm claiming that everyone who doesn't make a YouTube video of them sawing their guns in half doesn't care about the growing pile of dead kids sacrificed at the alter of NRA and gun manufacturer profits.
This rising tide of deliberate misunderstanding and psychotic platitudes has stunted the growth of meaningful change in the area of firearm legislation so severely, that only an immediate and sharp reversal of rhetoric across the aisle has any hope of salvaging any sort of lucidity on the topic.
One simple fact is that gun control is wildly popular among most Americans. At least certain forms of it are. In fact, according to Public Policy Polling, 72 percent of NRA members support universal background checks, while 93 percent of Americans in general approve of the measure. Trailer parks and co-op communes can sing in harmonious solidarity, knowing that no one is guilty of trespassing on the rights of gun owners, nor the lives of children, in order to accomplish this modest goal. If you're wondering who the detracting 7 percent is, the short answer is that they're way too rich to feel obliged to answer to your bullshit.
In addition, Gallup has a poll stating that 75 percent of Americans support a 30 day waiting period between buying your gun and actually getting it. Now, as a man who has bought a new gun on the way out to the shooting range on multiple occasions, elated at the idea of getting to shoot it that same day, I'm inclined to oppose this idea as a matter of selfish convenience. Especially considering that I usually have to wake up a bit earlier than I'd like in order to do so. But I'd have to laugh in my own face if I were to claim that waiting awhile for the thing I want right now is an affront to my personal freedom. It's just mildly tantrum inducing when you're sleep deprived.
What's listed above are a couple of points of agreement on some very serious issues in the gun debate. So, where does all of the contention come from?
The simple answer is a massive void in debating skills. Instead of attempting to understand where someone is coming from before we dress them down for daring to oppose our deeply instilled inclinations, we just start whipping ad hominem attacks at them with a blitzkrieg of accusations that they're either a hillbilly or a snowflake, depending on what conclusion we've already decided we like. It's not much of a productive approach, but it sure seems popular.
The “anti-gun” contingent, for example, has become fond of accusing gun owners of prioritizing the Second Amendment over the lives of children. However, the people that they're accusing of such an atrocity are generally concerned with protecting their families, which is why that camp is so vociferous about their right to own a gun in the first place.
And in the other corner, the “pro-gun” collective likes to accuse their opposition of being 'cucks' who want to lay down everyone's freedoms because, second to eating Tide Pods on internet videos, protesting gun violence is this generations most expeditious way to look cool in front of their friends. They aren't opening up to the kind of empathy that it would take to understand what it must be like to spend your Algebra period cowering and shuffling away from an active shooter who's hellbent on slaying you while you're armed with nothing more than a fucking Chemistry 101 text book to try to deflect a round or two.
Back to gun bans v. gun control. We've all seen people losing their minds (mostly on social media) about this gun control crowd 'coming for their guns!' The maelstrom of pure hysteria on this issue is bound to lead to another Ruby Ridge if someone doesn't explain the actual argument to these guys.
There is no serious discussion about banning all guns in the US. Not at all. Sure, there's a fringe of unthinking turbo-dicks, none of whom have ever bothered to actually dissect this thing, who have decried such things. But to ban all guns in America would, without any doubt whatsoever, lead to a sequel to the Civil War faster than you could say “Operation M.O.V.E.” There's too much firepower (both literal and political) on the side of firearms ownership for that to ever happen. However, the Second Amendment does say that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed for “a well regulated militia” not “any dickhead with $900,” so there is a bit of legislative wiggle room there.
The only discussion on a weapons ban that has any traction of note is the banning of assault rifles. This gets tricky when your ex-military, gun enthusiast, high school acquaintance sees your meme on Facebook and decides it's time for a semantics argument. He's bound to cite the fact that an assault rifle is one that can be converted from semi automatic to fully automatic, which is already illegal. He's half right. If you dismiss the fact that words and phrases have multiple definitions, then he's won the day!
But, wait. There's more! According to dictionary.com, the second definition of assault rifle is “a nonmilitary weapon modeled on the military assault rifle, usually modified to allow only semiautomatic fire.” or, in layman's terms, an AR-15. Game. Set. Match.
Of course, in addition to the now notorious AR-15, that definition also envelopes slightly modified ranch rifles like the Mini-14, just about any .22 with a banana clip, and could even be stretched to include air soft rifles, as caliber is never mentioned in the definition. It's all about style here, not substance.
Not to say that this invalidates the argument for stricter gun regulations, but it definitely fans the flames for impotent and completely useless debate.
Many people are citing their ownership of assault rifles as a necessity for home protection. Frankly, if you honestly believe that an AR-15 is an even remotely practical option for home defense, than your either too stupid or too ignorant for a bb gun. A short-barreled shotgun or a pistol with hollow points would be much more practical for such an application. It'll certainly lower the risk of you putting a .223 round through an intruder, your own wall, and then your neighbor's nursery.
The next biggest argument for the AR is that it may need to be commissioned in the fight against a tyrannical government. It's hard to imagine anything more ludicrous. Devising a narrative in which you and your AR-15 are going to save democracy from a government that can put a bullet in your face with a drone that they can control from the comfort of their break room is laughable at best.
In conclusion, the easy answer to America catching up to the rest of the developed world in gun safety doesn't yet exist. But the idea that I had to wait three days for the results of a personality test before I could get hired at an Applebee's when I was 19, but have never waited more than an hour to complete a gun purchase, is a bit disconcerting. More scrutiny was given to my ability to not cave someone's head in with the blunt end of their tea cup for asking for their fourth refill, than has ever been given to my lifelong ownership of a killing machine, and that seems absurd. We can do better, but first we have to take our boots off of each other's necks long enough to hear what the other side has to say.