I voted on Tuesday and came out to the news that more children had been killed by gun violence. They were not my biological children, but they were still mine to care about and to keep safe, to help grow and live. When children die from guns, we are all responsible. When children kill other children with guns, we are all responsible. When children kill themselves with guns, we are all responsible. I recognize that my vote might not have an impact on its own, but maybe with my vote, your vote, my neighbor’s vote, and yours, with vote after vote after vote, maybe we can make it clear that this is unacceptable. The likelihood that a child will die from a gun is higher here than in any other country and this can not be excusable. It wasn’t excusable any time prior and the discouraging possibility that reducing gun violence will continue to remain in the realm of “thoughts and prayers” leaves me wishing my ability to debate with confidence was stronger. I’m not a lawmaker and it’s my words that have the power to convince other voters to consider the power they wield when electing officials. I can’t change the laws, but the people I elect can. You can’t change laws, but the people you elect can. Please consider choosing people who will vote for more balanced gun laws. Take time to understand what that really means. If someone tells you that anyone is trying to take your 2nd Amendment right, this is incorrect. I’ll try to explain my reasoning, but be patient with me. I’m not a historian, nor am I an attorney. I’m writing from my own basic understanding and reading, plus, I’m human and have bias.
The 2nd Amendment was written in the last decade of the 18th century. The weapon technology that was available during the time was nothing like what we have now. If a civilian had a gun during this time period, it was likely a dueling pistol. A person with military experience might have a flintlock musket. Even with firearms with multiple barrels, it took seconds to successfully reload and fire again. In other words, I don’t believe the writers of the bill of rights could fathom a weapon that a civilian could carry and kill dozens of people in less than a minute. When they wrote about the right to bear arms, they were thinking of their guns. If Jefferson and Madison saw a classroom full of dead children and a tile floor covered in blood from their still spurting wounds, I’m not sure they’d feel their amendment was meant to protect such violence. This amendment was not intended to give guns to everyone no matter what. Arguably, the writers knew they didn’t know everything, so they included the possibility in the 9th Amendment that there may be more rights than they listed. I do realize this means that semi-automatic weapons might be included as a constitutional right because of the vagueness of the 9th Amendment, but I tend to believe that our founders wanted citizens to live. Gun reform is not about removing all guns, but increasing measures that enforce that people with guns are capable of using them carefully and with reason.
Next, some guns are necessary, and most people agree with this. I live in Georgia and hunting is very much the norm here. People regularly shoot deer during hunting season, stock their freezers, and provide for their families throughout the year. A hunting rifle can cause loss of human life, but it can cause a lot less loss of life than a semi-automatic. A hunting rifle is meant to be used for hunting. Assault weapons were developed for the sole purpose of killing as many people as possible. Though some still require that the trigger be engaged, bump stocks can be added to make these weapons have continual fire. They serve no good in the hands of a civilian, and these are the guns that people are really talking about limiting when they want gun reform. If you hunt, I’m not asking you not to hunt. Hunting wildlife is not the same as making humans into prey. Gun reform will help you worry less about going to the grocery store, sending your kids to school, and driving in your car and also protect your ability to serve the turkey you shot from your family’s hunting spot.
Sadly, a lot of shooters are young and younger brains are developing and sometimes prone to impulsive, irrational thinking. We don’t allow people to drink legally until they are 21 years old. Though many 21 year old people are still not as mature as they will be later, they are more mature than they were at 18. (Those few years made a big difference in me…) Drunk driving among young people decreased when states increased the age limit to purchase alcohol. Gun reform involves adjusting the age limit that a person can purchase a gun. No one took away alcohol in the 1970s and 80s. They merely adjusted the laws so that people had to wait until they were older and more likely to be a little bit safer. Likewise, no one is suggesting we take away all guns, just that we make people wait until they’re more ready for the responsibility that being a gun owner requires.
If someone tries to tell you that gun reform is a bad thing, please think about why they’re suggesting that. What reason do they have to fight legislation that will reduce gun violence and prevent suicides? What reason do they have to prevent the CDC from researching what guns do? Who are they really protecting? It’s not me, and it’s not you.