Guns

I grew up with guns in the home. All during elementary school me, and my older brother, knew where our parent kept their two rifles. As that was many years ago my memory about them is limited to one being a single-shot, perhaps bolt action. The other was a semi-automatic with a small magazine. A guess on how many bullets it held would be just that: a guess.

We kids knew where those guns were. Our parents told us, just as they told us we were never to play with them. If we wanted to learn to fire them we needed to ask. I remember several times shooting off the back porch and learning that a single hollow point can demolish a coke can far more than a normal bullet.

We lived in a rural area and my father was an occasional hunter, or so I’ve been told. I think two children and work took up whatever time he might have had for hunting because I don’t recall him ever going hunting. Maybe he just liked fishing more as we often did that as a family.

Still we lived practically in the woods and even though I don’t recall ever seeing any bobcats or coyotes or other large animals there was that threat and the guns were kept just in case. I do recall my mother shooting the occasional snake that was deemed to be poisonous. Knowing how to tell the difference was stressed growing up as was recognizing the common types of poisonous snakes, just in case.

When we moved to a much more suburban areas the guns disappeared. I wasn’t part of the discussion but from the 5th grade on guns weren’t part of our household life. To us country kids guns went the way of tree houses, nearby cow pastures and acres of wooded trails. They just weren’t around.

I’m saying all of this because I want you to know I bear guns no ill will. That said, I am a strong believer in greater gun control.

Obviously this post is motivated by the tragedy in Orlando. I don’t yet have the words for that amount of hate. It’s too raw. If I were to write about it all I could mange is a curt “Fuck you” to anyone using it to condemn either Muslims or the LGBT community.

But the guns. I can speak about guns. I’m outside of the USA so I don’t know when this rhetoric started but I am seeing many people refer to those in favor of stronger gun control as being “anti-gun.” And I’m sure there is some over-lap but let’s not practice dishonesty by conflating those two terms.

I’m for gun control. I think guns are tools, much like cars. Cars can be deadly if misused. That is why we, as a society, have taken great pains to license drivers, register all vehicles as well as insisting on insurance and other fees relating to the owning and operating of cars. We also regulate size and specifications of vehicles that can be operated legally. I can’t recall ever hearing serious, mainstream opposition to such common sense controls.

Then why are such controls so controversial for guns? Cars can be deadly. Guns are deadly. A gun’s primary function is to inflict grievous harm. We may disagree about various secondary functions of guns, such as protection and defense, and how effective and necessary they are for such functions, that does not change the fact that a gun is primarily for inflicting injury which can lead to death.

My American driver’s license is about to expire. It looks like the process of legally owning and operating a car is much stricter and with fewer loopholes than if I wanted to legally own and operate a gun.

That does not make sense to me. And it shouldn’t to you either.


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