Bang. Extending your arm with a firearm makes you feel powerful and controlling. Once you have a gun in your hand you can really get back at all the people that have offended you. You can make teachers and bullies run, husbands afraid to come home after dark, teenagers with hoodies and baggy pants walk around you on a street. Why not? Why should you have to deal with sociology when all you have to do is point and shoot? And isn’t that a constitutional right?
If you want a gun and you are “just a kid”, check out your uncle’s hunting cabinet. He has guns just sitting there, not even locked up. Just take one; take it to school; and see what happens. Kids in school are sitting ducks. Actually, chances are good that a nice handgun is available at home. Didn’t your mother get one and “learn” how to shoot it at target practice? Dumb. Everybody knows how to shoot a gun. And, along with your uncle, she does not know how to put a trigger lock on it. Free trigger locks have been offered numerous times by local cops and even politicians. But nobody seems to have them or use them. What if you NEED the gun and you can’t get the lock off?
Okay. That’s a bit cynical. But if you read the papers and watch the news you have seen all of the above. Sadly, you have seen it and heard it over and over. Schools, homes, political assassinations, families of disturbed veterans, gangs, policemen murdered, Virginia Tech., Chardon, Ohio, Sanford, Florida. A teacher in New York City writes that as he looks out at his class, he has started to see shooters. He wonders if he will be next because he is known as a “hard grader”.
There are a numerous ways to get a legal gun, and carry it anywhere. In some states it has become legal to bring a gun to a public park. Joking Texans say, “Let me get my gun and I’ll go with you for coffee.” In almost every state, guns come from “straw purchases”, legal purchases from federally accredited sources (FFL), gun shows that slide around the legalities, and Internet sales that do not really require much in the way of ID, provided the buyer and seller meet the federal rules.
After first arguing that “in the Gifford’s shooting, if citizens had been armed, they would have responded to the shooter and saved lives”, a typical gun totin’ blog goes on to say: “…High-capacity magazines are a must-have for any reliable defense of home, person or property. Six bullets is simply not enough, especially if your assailant is armed with a high-capacity magazine.” (TheTruthAboutGuns.com) Right. Imagine a crossfire situation in which several people pull their guns in a crowded supermarket! But this kind of gun lunacy prevails across 30 states, and is possible in many more. Republican Senator Thune of South Dakota proposed that a national “Stand Your Ground” law would be good for America in the same week that the Trayvon murder occurred in Florida. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush supported the Florida law and was significantly supported by the NRA. What is Governor Romney’s position on gun control? He won’t tell you that he is hiding behind the 2nd Amendment for fear of the NRA. The disaster that is gun availability won’t be mentioned in his speeches.
A high schooler randomly killed three students in Chardon Ohio. A writer for the Huffington Post observed that the gun violence happened because the shooter had easy access to a gun. In seconds there was a large response across all media (probably organized by the NRA). “…The ‘if only the shooter hadn’t had access to guns’ response to spree killings is a pretty pathetic argument that completely ignores the possibility, the desirability of potential victims fighting back.” (TheTruthAboutGuns.com) What? Arm the students and the teachers and encourage them to shoot back?
When an expensive TV ad paid for by the National Rifle Association touts their concern for your freedom you can say, “The freedom I want is for my children to be safe from gun-wielding crazies and everybody like them. The freedom I want is to know that guns will not be sold anonymously on the Internet or anywhere else. The freedom I desire is that my children will not get unlocked guns from anybody’s home, including mine. The freedom I want is to have solid no-carry laws against multi-load, fast firing, automatic weapons anywhere in America. Mayors, and police in more than 30 cities are asking for better gun control including Mayor Bloomberg of NYC and Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia. Call your local police and they will tell you that the police are backing the mayors.
We should demand stronger gun penalties in every state. When we stop voting for NRA candidates, the NRA won’t succeed in providing options for politicians, criminals, vigilantes, and crazies. PA Senate Bill 1438 gives gun owners and membership organizations (which includes the National Rifle Association) legal standing to challenge any municipality that enact ordinances to regulate firearms and ammunition. Give your “Senator” a call and tell him we need a no vote on a bill that takes gun control out of our communities and provides easy access to guns. SB 1438 allows “take your gun to work”! At the federal level, PA Representatives Fitzpatrick, Dent, and Gerlach enjoyed NRA support and NRA endorsement. So does Senator Toomey, and many others in Pennsylvania, mostly Republican.
What can be done about law that is really written by the NRA? Start with the promise that NO gun-totin’ political cowboys will get your vote. Decide that barrels full of money from the National Rifle Association to support the legislators they want will no longer work.
Ann Melby Shenkle