- Posted December 19, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
A bit long, but more balanced than you might guess...
I have a few guns in my safe, and most of them would not be illegal under the expired weapons ban. The revolvers don't carry over 10 rounds, and none of my hunting rifles carry more than that either. When I think about it, I only have 2 guns that would be illegal. One is a 9mm pistol which holds 13 rounds, and the other is my AR-15 type rifle.
I bought the 9mm right after I got an apartment with my new and pregnant wife. I was lower enlisted in the Army, and my small paycheck didn't allow us to live in a very good neighborhood. It was comforting to know that I had a method to defend my new family, and that when I was away during Army training, my 5' 1" wife had a way to defend herself against an attacker who would doubtless be much bigger and stronger than she.
I bought the AR-15 type rifle for sport shooting. I participate in shooting sports, and the AR-15 is what I am used to from my extensive training as an airborne infantryman. Because of my training, it's what I feel the most comfortable with. I am far more accurate with it than my pistols, and in the case of a serious breakdown of society I would feel most comfortable relying on it to protect my family. However, for me my AR-15 is also a mark of my service, and my commitment to my nation. I swore to uphold and defend the constitution, and I still feel strongly about that commitment. Indeed, it was the civilian arms which famously caused the Japanese to not even consider invading the US mainland during WW2. Switzerland uses a civilian militia to secure it's national defense, and issues everyone a semi-auto rifle and the training to employ it, should the need arise. I believe that every citizen has a responsibility to his nation and society. Each citizen is responsible to pay his taxes, vote, and protect those weaker than themselves. It is a great responsibility, and should not be taken lightly.
I have had my carry permit for the last 6 years, and carry on a daily basis. I am prepared to use my weapon to defend myself, my family, or others if necessary. However, I pray that I never have to pull it out and use it. Taking a life is no small thing, but taking an innocent life is far worse, so I am prepared to use it if the case arises.
I view carrying my pistol similar to fire insurance on my house. I don't think I will ever have a house fire. However if I did, it would be catastrophic for my family, and therefore I pay every month for insurance which I will most likely not ever use, and I seriously hope that I never have to. Likewise, if I or anyone in my family was to be assaulted, shot, raped, etc, that would be catastrophic. Therefore, I carry, and my wife is in the process of getting her carry permit. Just like we don't want our house and all our possessions to burn to the ground, neither one of us wants to be in a position to use our weapons, but we will if we have to.
There are those who want to pant all gun owners as a bunch of crazies who have delusions of the world ending and the carnage which will result. For this reason I hate that "Preppers" show on TV. Your average gun owner is like me. I barbecue with the neighbors on the front porch. I teach my kids to ride their bikes with the other kids in the neighborhood. I'm the guy who you can knock on my door to borrow that tool you need to get the job done. All the while I am an armed, trained citizen. I vote, I pay my taxes, I respect the law and those who enforce it and I am training my children in the same way.
Could the west coast get that earthquake that they keep predicting? Could it knock out power and turn my neighborhood into a hurricane Katrina thugs in the street type scenario? Possibly. Could a budget impasse cause police and other public defenders not be paid and strike? Maybe. Could a major political or social event cause there to be riots in the streets? Who knows. Could my house catch on fire? I sure hope not. My point is that I am a normal citizen, but I am also one who takes responsibility for myself, my family, and my country.
When I heard about the tragedy in Connecticut I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I wept for those children, so similar to my own. I don't know what the answer is to the sickness our society has, but I'm pretty sure that me and my guns which are safely locked away in a safe aren't the problem. There are two polarized sides to the argument, and the reason which you see so many of us gun owners digging in our heels is that we hear the fraction that wants to ban ALL guns. It happened in England, and Australia, and we are afraid it could happen here too. This is why we resist any notion of gun control.
We have the 2nd amendment, true, but that was upheld by a 5-4 majority. Not much. If I was convinced that the restrictions wouldn't keep going and going till I had to either turn in all my guns or be a felon, I would be open to some "Common sense measures". I think that Congress should draft a "clarification amendment" to the 2nd. In it stipulate that honest, law abiding citizens will be able to own and maintain their arms. Once you do that, I would be open to things like requiring an approved safe if you want to own an "assault weapon". I don't support registration because I don't think it's the government's business to inventory what's in my house, but I do support closing the gun show loophole. I don't support limiting magazine size, (because changing 10 round magazines wouldn't slow down a trained shooter much) but I do support some kind of mandatory safety training before you are allowed to purchase guns. I don't like the notion of arming teachers, but having an armed guard and a few teachers who want the responsibility of carrying a gun might not be a bad idea. And not one of these rent-a-cop guys who couldn't make it through the police academy. Get an ex combat arms military guy who's kids go to the school. I sure wouldn't want to face down an armed man defending his children! Our nation also needs to take a look at how we deal with the mentally ill. I don't believe it's a coincidence that all these shooters had mental problems, and most were prescribed with some sort of powerful psychoactive drug and then turned loose in society again.
As a nation, we need solutions. But the polarity which is stiffing any action on the nation's financial woes is the same kind of polarity which is keeping any progress from happening in the mass shooting arena too. If we were guaranteed that you wouldn't write laws sending ATF to my house to take my guns, even my AR-15, I think that we as the gun community would come together to work with the other side. I know I would.
If you got this far, kudos to you!