Talkin' Guns

Carla Hanson

Tragically, we have been unable to have intelligent dialogue and debate about gun violence - whether around a table, or in our legislative chambers. 2 weeks ago, when KC Chiefs linebacker Jevon Belcher murdered his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself, Bob Costas took a a minute to address it on a national sports broadcast later in the weekend. Costas spent most of his time quoting KC Sportswriter Jason Whitlock, and while the neither Whitlock nor Costas ever used the words "ban" or "control" in their reflections about the fatality of violence by guns, Costas literally received death threats after the broadcast. Lars Larson, ever the hypocrite, got in on the act, too, demanding the firing of Costas. Lars, you see, has certain particular views about the 2nd AND the 1st Amendments.

We have been silent so long that those that dare broach this 3rd rail - whether in the media or on the House Floor - will be shot down before a sentence is uttered, and well before meaning and positions are understood. Quick draw Lars and his NRA pals will have none of this conversation, because, you know, we terrible liberals want to deprive these American patriots of their 2nd Amendment rights.

To hell with them; it's time to talk - we can't start coming to solutions until we do talk. 'Problem is, there is way too much to say - so I will limit this round to addressing a few of the favorite bullet points.

Guns don't kill; people do. This was Facebook fave on Friday. Of course, what is missed is that when a violent event occurs using a weapon other than a gun, fatalities are less likely. Early on Friday, a few of the gunners were happily pointing out that in China, a deranged man used a knife to go after 21 school kids. They shut down their argument as soon as they realized that the kids in China survived. American statistics reveal that in cases of domestic violence, a death is 5 times more likely to occur if there is a gun in the house. Give those people-killing people AK-47s, and they will be significantly more efficient than if armed with buck knives.

MY Second Amendment rights are Constitutionally guaranteed. I am not even going to go to the wonky argument about the actual grammatical construction of the 2nd Amendment and whether the Founders were more interested in individual liberties or sweating about the states being able to fend off the Brits. Let's talk about "bearing arms". Back in the day, rapid fire was being able to load your musket fast enough to get off 4 shots inside a minute. For more accuracy, rifles were used during the Revolution, but mostly used by sharpshooters since their load time was much slower. Its hard to imagine that the 2nd Amendment writers envisioned the capability of modern automatic weapons. The Glock and Sig Sauer handguns used by the Connecticut shooter can fire up to 5 rounds per second. Reportedly, his primary weapon was the Bushmaster .223 rifle. Magazines can be quickly swapped and the weapon shoots like this. Where is the line? Should we lawfully "bear" automatic rifles? What about even higher tech weaponry that can be physically shouldered by an individual. Currently there ARE restrictions that are as varied as the 50 states. Would the NRA push to open the flood gates so partner manufacturers could sell the weapon of the future in high volume? Is it so far-fetched to postulate that the civilian analogy to the military industrial complex is the escalating one-up-manship of citizen weaponry?

If ONLY. The defensive gun argument crops up every time a massacre is in the media. The Bruce Willis wanna-bes think they could have saved the day. Not so much. The element of surprise is the most effective weapon in an assault, and when you are assaulting folks with a firearm that can pump out more than 300 rounds/minute, the gun-toting would-be hero is going down before he can even raise his weapon. Oh sure, there are incidents of citizen self defense, but when nut-job decides to murder dozens with an automatic rifle, the bullet that ends it is generally self-inflicted, or the shooter just decides to stop. The wanna-bes also don't anticipate the chaos of a situation nor the difficulty in determining the proper target. In the Gabby Gifford shooting, an armed citizen actually was in the vicinity, emerging from a store as the shooting occurred. But he properly kept his weapon down because he couldn't determine who the bad guy was. If it was all that easy to "save the day," there'd be no dead cops.

If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. First of all, we are WAY beyond the point of disarming America. With roughly one non-military gun owned in this nation per every citizen, no government entity is coming to get the guns. (But this fear sure does promote gun sales!) This is one of the stinkin' bumperstickerisms that stops dialogue at the third grade level. Gun violence is a multifaceted problem that needs to be addressed in a myriad of methods. We DO have to face the reality that innocent citizens - kids, for Gawd's sake - are dying because people who shouldn't be anywhere near a high-powered weapon find easy access.

Let's talk, and then let's do something.

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