Gun Control Now: Stop Doing Nothing!

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of my notifications being filled with stories of innocent people being shot and killed by terrorists. I am equally sick and tired of the perpetrators of these mass killings not being called what they are. They are “terrorists,” and they are not less so because they’re white.

And what I am completely fed up with is the constant Republican response to these mass killings; first, they offer their “thoughts and prayers,” which are completely empty, given that they show no signs of cogent thought and they don’t seem to actually believe in a God and pray to it, anyway. Then, they go into their self-righteous diatribe about how “the left” keeps “politicizing” these shootings. Then, of course, the party that has virtually decimated mental health resources in this country in favor of incarceration will lecture the rest of us on how we need to take mental health care more seriously, and then remind us there is nothing we can do about these shootings because f the “Second Amendment.”

We really have to stop taking this shit. I’ve been advocating for common sense gun laws since 1983, and when I started =, mass shootings were relatively rare. Nw, they happen daily or better. Like yesterday, there were two – how lucky are we?

We need to stop letting the right tell us there is nothing we can do. We are the only nation in the world with this problem and it’s not because of our freedom. Many other countries have the same level of freedom as we do (more, if you consider the freedom to be in a public place with minimal fear of being shot, which most countries have except for us.) and they don’t have this problem, where we are expected to simply accept the increased possibility of being shot as we go out and about every day as a consequence of having a “free country.”

Fuck that.

I don’t accept that anymore. Ten years ago, I spent three months in Australia, and I felt as free as I do here. However, I also had the knowledge that being shot as I walked down the street or as I sat at a traffic light were almost non-existent, in part because few people feel the ownership of a firearm is an essential element of their “manhood.”

Look, I get it. Some people feel like they have to have more power than everyone else. And I get that they feel more “manly” by carrying a weapon that strikes fear in everyone around them. However, that freedom to walk down the street with a minimal fear of losing your life is exactly the point. How “free” are we when we can be sitting at a traffic light and have a bullet pierce their windshield and land inside their thigh? That actually happened to someone I know, and no one has been arrested in that incident involving a “stray bullet,” even though it’s been five years now since it happened. Granted, he didn’t die, but he has had two operations and he still has a nasty limp, and will have for the rest of his life.

I am tired of having to even consider the notion that we can do nothing about this because of the misreading of the Second Amendment that guides all of this nonsense. Nothing in the Constitution or any body of law allows anyone to carry any firearm they want into any public situation. Both federal and state governments have not just a duty to fix this problem, but a constitutional mandate to do so.

Those of us who would like to reduce the chances that we’ll be shot (which is upwards of 90 percent of us, including most gun owners) just want there to be some basic barriers in place so that the twisted among us find it harder to get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction. There is no reason, for example, why a civilian should be allowed to purchase a military-style weapon that was invented to allow a soldier to mow down a few dozen enemy soldiers before they could kill a few dozen of ours. I believe there is a right to hunt, but if you need a semi-automatic with a 30-round clip to kill a deer, please don’t invite me to a venison dinner because the lead content will be too high.

This is what we should work toward:

- Everyone who buys a gun should undergo a thorough background check. There should also be a five-day waiting period beore the buyer can pick up the gun because there is no way a pissed-off person should simply get one without an opportunity to cool down. No sales should be allowed that involve the mail and all sales should be recorded, just like a car sale. The owner takes responsibility for that gun as soon as they take possession. 
- All gun users should be licensed, just like   those who drive cars. They should be required to take a test based on basic competency and knowledge of the law. 
- No civilian should be allowed to buy military weapons, period. 
- No accessories should be sold that turn a standard rifle into a semi-automatic weapon. No magazines that carry more than 3-5 rounds and no bump stocks. 
- There should be a registry for all guns, so that law enforcement can know who owns what at a given time. 
- There should be no mass confiscations. In fact, mass confiscations should be outlawed, if only to reduce the level of paranoia among gunloons. 
- Gun owners should swear an oath to keep their gun safely. They should also be required to carry an insurance policy to guarantee responsibility when harm is done with their guns.    

It will take a long time to implement all of these, and we should be prepared to keep up the effort as long as it takes and then be vigilant in protecting them from the far right. None of us is under the delusion that this country will ever reduce the more than 300 million guns currently in this country to zero, nor should that be our goal. Our goal should not be the elimination of all guns from existence, which is an impossible goal. Our goal should be to make it as hard as possible for bad people to get a gun, especially when they’re pissed off. When we banned assault weapons, the gunloons laughed at Clinton and Democrats, but in the ten years until Republicans let that assault weapons ban expired, we saw a 43% reduction in the number of mass shootings. In other words, it worked. And in the 15 years since it expired, we have seen a 230% increase in mass shootings, in which 3 or more people are shot.

It’s time we ALL were pissed off and fed up. It is just far too easy for anyone to get a gun and plenty of ammunition to do maximum damage. We have to be done; too many people sit every day, and doing nothing is no longer an option. Stop doing nothing; get on the horn to your members of Congress and make them do something. And when they fail to do anything, replace their sorry asses next year.

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