We are on an upward trend of gun related violence and we are still arguing about the right to possess guns.
The argument always devolves into "good law abiding gun owner" clutching their pearls protesting "but I'm a good gun owner" and how they only shoot at targets and they have a right to defend their home and how they have a permit and how they obey the law and how blah blah blah THEY ARE GOOD PEOPLE NOT NUT-JOBS DAMMIT!!!
Despite the statistics stating that these good citizen gun owners are all for regulations (because those bad guys are gun manufactures or the NRA--not the people buying the guns or being influenced by the NRA), I have yet to see one gun owner getting up to offer any solution to gun violence if it in any way inconveniences their perceived rights to have a gun.
Because these good people aren't the problem, right? It's the crazy irresponsible people that are screwing up the party.
Why are we so fixated on owning guns anyway?
This is what I think.
The base impulse behind guns, no matter what story you tell yourself about heritage, family, good times, going hunting with your dad, your years as a scout (boy or girl), how safe and controlled you are...gun ownership is about being able to do a greater violence than you think can be visited upon you.
Guns have no alternate use. They are designed for killing (no really. I'll wait while you look that up).
In a zero sum mindset, superior firepower is a poor man's peace.
Our world moves fast and doesn't always feel safe. It's not a big leap for a fragile person to use a gun to solve their feelings of angst, frustration or disenfranchisement.
(but, I'm a good person...a responsible person)
Oh boy, the spittle really starts to fly when talk about the right to "defend your home" begins.
In the story of the good responsible gun owner, shooting an intruder is the end of the story. The intruder is dead and the mini castle restored to peace. The good people win the evil intruder goes to jail (or is dead--you are supposed to shoot to kill in those instances, right?).
Rights as a good citizen fulfilled.
But the possibility of the dangerous outside coming in, taking your stuff and "getting you" never goes away. That looping film plays in the brain every time the good, responsible, recreational, "only protecting my home" gun owner hears or sees something that remotely triggers fear.
It's life on high alert with guns and ammo. Is that safety?
If you look at global statistics for countries with gun control the per capita rate for home break ins and gun related violence is far lower than here in the US. This is well documented.
Then the conversation goes back to "our heritage, tradition, American values etc" and "why can't I have a gun? I'm a responsible blah blah blah".
Will we ever stop believing guns make us safer, freer (or more American)?
One thing is true for me. As I get ready to press Publish on this article, I know that it will likely upset some gun owners.
This fact doesn't make me feel very safe or free. We have that in common at least.