Monthly Archives: October 2006

Gun Control

While doing the rounds of the blogs I read, I got to Cecily’s today and found a rant about gun control and the school shooting in the Amish school in Pennsylvania.

When the constitution was written, giving us all the right to bear arms, they could not have fathomed a world in which a gun had the capacity to shoot hundreds of bullets in rapid succession. Nor could they have predicted how inexpensive guns would become, or how tiny, or how dangerous.

I’d like to believe that if those who wrote the constition knew–if they had to look in the faces of the mothers of the children killed–they would have phrased it differently, and said, perhaps, that buying only one gun a month wasn’t that much of a fucking hardship for anyone.

From this post

Now, those of you who have read me for any amount of time, know my thoughts on gun control. But, I have to respond to Cecily.

We have enough gun control laws. There are thousands and thousands of them on the books. There are background checks, limitations on what you can buy, when you can buy, how many you can buy. These limitations only help if someone is law abiding to begin with.

I am law abiding. I do not do anything illegal with my firearms. I follow all the gun control laws to a tee. But, I’m not a criminal. The man who shoot the Amish children? He’s a criminal. Even if there were more gun control laws, he didn’t care, he would have still not have followed the laws.

And, that’s just one small example. The gangs that shoot one another? They could care less about the laws on the books. Making more laws for them won’t stop the violence.

Making guns illegal won’t stop it, either. Guns are here. Guns do show up in countries that have made them illegal. There are millions of guns in this country. The majority owned by law abiding citizens, just like me. People who lock their guns up, follow the laws when purchasing, do nothing illegal with them.

And, yes, the main reason I own firearms is selfdefense. See my post below for one example of why firearm ownership is part of my life.

What could we do? If you’re convicted of a firearm crime, make sure they get the maximum time in jail, the maximum fines, etc. The laws are on the books, enforce them. We already check for criminal records (and in VA, you are flagged if you have certain mental health issues, so you can’t purchase).

We need better help for those with mental illness. The man who shoot those girls, then himself, obviously had mental health issues. Maybe, just maybe if someone had realized it, he would have gotten help and not shot those children.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel horrible about those young girls, as well as all the children and teachers who have been hurt by firearms, recently. I wish I could go back and stop it. But, taking firearms from legal, good citizens, isn’t the answer. It just isn’t.

The Bill of Rights does guarentee the right to own firearms. Just alongside the right to freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc. The rights are the basis for our freedoms and rights in the USA. If you take away one, you might as well take them all away. Regardless of your personal feelings on firearms, it is a right, and one that should not be tossed away lightly..

Edited to add: As for the term “assault weapon” there is no such thing. It’s a term used by antigun people to scare you. They use it to describe (long guns mainly) who have features that they find frightening.

Which is just sad, as that piece of metal there? Can’t hurt you while it just lies there. It has to be picked up and used by a human being. Fear the people who are criminals, not the inanimate object.

And, adding more. Automatic weapons in the USA are highly regulated to the point that very few people can own them. And, the only case of one being used to kill someone in the United States? A police officer, who could legally own one, killed his wife with one. So, the thousands of bullets (which is wrong in the first place, no civilian weaponry shoots like that) is wrong as well.

Yikes

I didn’t realize it had been 2 weeks since I had updated. Life got a bit busy and I’ve been spinning around.

I’ve been following politics with a bit of hope as we approach the November elections. Most of y’all now I’m a liberal. A hardass one. In fact, I’m more liberal than just about anyone I know in real life. Other than, on gun control.

And regardless of what the hardcore Republicans tell you, there really are not that many liberal politicians. The vast majority are more middle of the road, than I. So, I vote as best I can with someone who aligns with my views.

The big race this year in Virginia is between George Allen and Jim Webb. Neither of them are the best on women, Webb said some horrid things in the 70s about women around VMI. But, Allen is the racist who has been caught using racist terms, just here recently.

So, 30 years ago, vs modern day? Yeah, right off, Allen has a huge mark against. Plus, he’s against reproductive rights and gay rights. Two more huge marks against.

And, I remember how his administration treated the state workers of Virginia during his term as governer. My father has worked for the Commonwealth of Virginia for 22 years. Allen’s administration was not good to them. In fact, it was one of the worst times to be a state worker in Virginia.

So, really, not a hard choice, when it comes down to it. Even though, I would like Webb to have not said the things he did about women, when it comes down to it, he supports a women’s right to choose.

And, even though, I will never face an unwanted pregnancy, I do not wish to have my sisters, my nieces, my friends, the women who come behind me to have to face a unwanted pregnancy with no freedom to decide to carry to term or not.

___________________________________________________

Tony and I have discussed which rights are the most important to us. Yes, they should all be equally applied by the government (not that they are, what with the “Patriot” Act, but, that’s for another day.)

For me:
Freedom of Speech, the Press, assembly. Nothing comes above it. Without the right to speak out and protest, we do not have any rights.

Right to privacy. To me, that includes the right to abort, to use birth control, to not have to reveal everything about you, just because the government wants to know.

Right to marry. Any two adults should be allowed to form a marriage contract. Hell, I’m more than willing to change marriage to civil unions for all. Make it so the government is no longer involved in marriage. Put marriage in the church. Now, we all have civil unions, and if you wish to have your union blessed in a church, that is up to you.

Right to own firearms. Now, this is the one, I argue with other liberals about. It has been stated (by the Supreme Court) that the police do not hae to protect you. If they fail to protect you, that’s your problem. I believe, owning and knowing how to use, a firearm is a way of protecting yourself.

I’ve used this story on Metafilter to illustrate what life is like in a rural area.

A few years back, a male friend of mine, worked in a 7-11 like store just down the road from where I live now. One night, he had a guy come in and start a fight with him. He subdued the guy, and he left.

A few minutes later, the man came back with a shotgun, pointed it at my friend, who dove into the back room and called the police using 911.

He then called his parents. His parents made it to the store much sooner than the police did.

Luckily the guy had left by that point.

The police showed up a while later.

My friend was unarmed.

The police can not get to you, in time, in a rural area to stop an armed intruder. The county I live in is large, with a spread out population. If the couple of officers who are on duty are at one end of the county, on a call, it could take an hour or more for them to get to you.

Do you want to spend that hour with no way to protect yourself and your family?

Okay, I’ve really gone off on a bunch of tangents here but, it is stuff I wanted to get out.

Whee,
Suzy Smith