Last week Aurora, Colorado lost 12 people to gun violence. Yesterday, the United States lost 34 more. It just didn’t make headlines. I’m sick of listening to people tell me that I shouldn’t “politicize” gun violence. I’m sick of people calling me a fascist because I don’t think they need an assault weapon.
There’s a difference between liking something and needing it. I’ve fired an AK-47 and I liked it. I don’t need to fire an AK-47 again. I’ve also gone hunting and while I didn’t really like it, I can definitely see how someone might need to do it.
I’ve also defended myself against someone with a gun and I can tell you that in my particular situation, an AK-47 would have been virtually useless. While a 9 mm might have been more useful, I’m still pretty sure I would have lost that fight. My choice–in reality–was to disarm the guy, give him my money or run. I reacted with a combination of options 1 and 3. I swung, disarmed and ran for my life.
Some people have called me brave. Some people have called me stupid. Other people have said I’m just lucky. All I know is that I’m alive and I didn’t get shot. Yesterday 34 people in this country might have been brave, they might have been stupid, but they sure as hell weren’t as lucky. Neither were the people who gave their lives a week ago in Aurora.
At the end of the day, I’m a pragmatist. I believe in what works. I don’t live in some video game fantasy land where I’m gunning down assailants left and right with my AK-47 and I don’t live in a movie where I play some rich jerk walking around in a bat costume covered in body armor. I do live in a world where I can help protect someone by putting in place some very common sense gun laws.
1. Even if you can think of a reason why you need an AR-15 or AK-47, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts you can’t think of a good reason you need a 100 round clip. Neither can the gun lobby.
Its time to ban high capacity magazines.
2. Even if you can think of a good reason why you need an AR-15 or AK-47, I’m pretty sure you won’t be too burdened if you have to wait a year to get one. Neither will the gun lobby.
Its time to institute a reasonable waiting period on all assault weapons.
3. If you have a good reason for needing an assault weapon (highly unlikely), there’s almost certainly no good reason to fear a non-invasive follow up call from the ATF. The gun lobby shouldn’t fear it either.
Its time for the police to use good community policing tactics and get to know gun owners.
4. If you actually like shooting guns, you probably aren’t stockpiling ammunition, but if you have a good reason for doing so it probably won’t matter to you if the ATF or Homeland Security flags those purchases and looks into them as an anti-terrorism consideration. That shouldn’t matter to the gun lobby either.
5. Finally: If you truly believe in the 2nd Amendment and the freedom it represents, you shouldn’t have to live in fear. True freedom is the absence of fear. If the gun lobby really cared about freedom, they’d support common sense gun laws too.
Its time to think about what our rights really mean.
I’m not trying to take your guns away. The cops aren’t trying to take guns away from responsible gun owners and you don’t live in an intergalactic war zone where all you have to defend yourself against heavily armed alien invaders is your handy M-16. The gun lobby would like you to think you are because that might justify the loss of 12 innocent people in a movie theater.
Nothing else does.
Its time for Colorado and America to grow up so we can have an adult conversation about gun violence in this country.