Step 1: Be someone else with a gun.
I’ve decided it’s time to put the entirety of my feelings in writing, considering that this is going to be the hot-button issue for the remainder of the month.
Gun control is not a crazy idea. It has worked for other countries. It does decrease the incidence of gun-related crime and violence.
But it will not work in America. And there is no reason it should.
The right to bear arms is written into our Constitution in order to protect the notion of an armed populace. An armed populace is necessary to defend our nation in the event of war. And whether you believe it or not, we are in the midst of one: a war on guns.
The problem, as far as I see, is the problem of an uninformed majority.
People don’t like guns because they’re scary. That’s understandable. To hold a thing in your hands which has the capacity to take a life should be scary. It should be intimidating. It should come with weight. That’s what makes you aware of what it is you’re holding, so you understand and respect the power you are now wielding.
People think guns are scary because they don’t understand those things, and because they do. But the fact of the matter is this: when you hold a gun, you’re not putting your trust into the weapon, you’re putting your trust into yourself. There is nothing that a gun can do without your permission. The magazine does not load itself. The chamber does not fill itself. The safety does not disengage itself. The trigger does not squeeze itself. None of those things are what is meant by the term “automatic.”
The problem here is that there are people who have no knowledge of guns, and there are people who do not respect or understand the notion that guns have the capacity to injure, maim, and kill. (The media – television, movies, video games – has done a really good job at downplaying just how life-threatening gunshot wounds actually are. Safety courses, keeping ammunition separate, and using trigger locks would prevent accidental deaths.) Mostly, however, there are people who do understand these things, and choose their weapons specifically for those purposes.
Will limiting their access to guns, in any capacity, change the mind of a person who is already intent on causing as much damage as possible? No. Even if someone cannot obtain a gun legally, they are readily available to be acquired illegally via theft or the black market, and both options are probably cheaper than purchasing a weapon from a licensed dealer. If a person wants a gun badly enough, there are ways by which to obtain them.
And if you take away guns altogether, there are other, equally effective ways to kill a lot of people at one time. Arsons, poisonings, and bombings have all been used as methods of mass murder, and some of them are just as quick as walking into a room with an assault rifle and opening fire.
But if someone walks into a room with a gun and the intention to use it against people, there is only one surefire way to stop them: being another person with a gun, aiming for center mass, and squeezing the trigger.
Because if someone has already made the decision to commit such an atrocious crime, you are not going to talk them out of it. You are not going to tackle them and fight the gun out of their hands. You are not going to pelt them with rubber bullets or bean bags or tear gas and hope they stop firing. You are going to kill them. Because that is the only option you have. It is the only option they’ve given you.
I will not pretend to know how to prevent people from forming ideas of hatred and intolerance. I will not pretend to know how to prevent people from commiting terroristic acts of violence. But I do know that you cannot punish the majority for the faults of the few. I do know that even if guns are criminalized, it will not prevent criminals from acquiring them. France’s gun control laws did not stop terrorists from murdering over 130 people across Paris with firearms.
I do know that if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.