“Something must be done! This can’t continue!”
That’s the reaction from many people when they hear about the madness of yet another mass shooting.
I agree, something must be done. The question is, what? The implicit suggestion is almost always that there needs to be more gun control.
Although very few people would argue that there should be absolutely no restrictions on firearms, the incessant demand for more regulation brings up some serious concerns.
The first is the Bill of Rights, which guarantees us the right to keep and bear arms. We may question why the 2nd Amendment was included and whether is relevant today, but we shouldn’t be too quick to abandon or reinterpret parts of the Bill of Rights.
Although it’s tempting to argue that we live in a different world (which is true) and that we know better than the writers of these documents (doubtful), this is a dangerous road to go down. The writers of the Bill of Rights were well aware of the threat of both invasions by foreign governments as well as too much control by their own. We have forgotten both of these threats. Of the two, the dangers of too much power from our own government is the most likely, and yet we tend to blindly give it more and more power. We have become complacent. Governments will ultimately take as much power as we let them have, until finally they have so much power that we can’t stop them from taking more.
Make no mistake, there are people and groups behind this push for more gun control whose unstated goal is a total ban on all private ownership of guns. However, the more dangerous threat comes from an error of logic that infects far more people, yet leads to the same inevitable conclusion.
The idea that more gun regulation will prevent deaths is based on the faulty premise that guns are the problem and that more restrictions will make the problem go away. So, as more restrictions are enacted and yet have no effect, all we can do is add more and more regulation, until you also get to a total ban.
Of course, the problem is not really the guns, it’s people who for whatever reason have gone insane. People who are so mad that they are willing to die to express their rage and get revenge will find a way to get an illegal gun, just like those who want illegal drugs will find them. And if guns are hard to obtain, they’ll find another way, such as bombs, knives, chemicals or plowing into pedestrians with cars and trucks.
There seems to be something about the time we are living in that is causing this madness. What we don’t hear enough about is how society is changing; how we expect to get everything we want, and are told over and over that we can and should. We now have a whole society dedicated to meeting our every want, 24/7. At the same time, we are being told that there is no right and wrong and that you can just make up your own rules.
So, what happens when someone who has been told all their life they should get everything they want — and who sees everyone else seemingly get what they want — suddenly seems to be thwarted in their goals? And what happens when they see all the attention and recognition that others get who have violently expressed their rage?
Sure, you can blame it on poverty, or bullying or mental illness, or guns, or whatever, but those are all just cop-outs. We’ve always had these problems and there was a time when we also had more guns. So what’s different about now? All of these factors may play a role, but more than likely the blame really goes to simple programming.
By all means, we need to have “common sense” gun legislation. But let’s do it because it makes sense, not with the misconception that it alone will have any major effect on insanity and violence.
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“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.