I have held back on writing this, I didn’t want to write a knee jerk reaction, I wanted to take time to hear all sides with an open mind and try to listen to what it is that all sides truly want. I also tried to consider solutions that are congruent with our principals of freedom and what it is that causes some to fear the 2nd amendment so strongly.
In order to do this I have to make some basic assumptions set some guiding principals for this conversation. I have to assume that bad things will happen in this world, I have to assume that laws will not stop the lawless. I have to assume people understand this, though I know better. I have to understand peoples fears but be patient enough to get past my disagreement with their fear to dig deeper and understand what is causing the fear, as the fear is a symptom of something else.
I consider myself a responsible gun owner. I have had background checks, I have been trained, I practice regularly and I do my best to teach others firearm safety and encourage anybody even considering firearm ownership to take a training course to understand the immense responsibility that goes along with it. I understand powerfully the responsibility that goes with ownership and use of fire arms. I understand the impact the devastation and what I refer to as a one way street. The one way street is my mental reminder that when it goes bang you can not take it back. Any one fleeting moment of lack of focus or a poor decision is unacceptable. I understand all of this and practice it.
I hope to never find myself in a tactical situation, a fancy way of saying in deep doo doo. I hope to never have to test my decision making, my reaction to horror or my fight or flight reaction. I hope this for my friends my family and all the people of the world, but I also know better and I know there are times that innocent people are faced with these situations all too often. I believe ownership of firearms is protected beyond the second amendment I believe we all have a right and responsibility to protect ourselves and the innocent with whatever means we have available to us. Should we be equipped with fists to swing legs to kick or left only to our mental ability to avoid or end conflict we should use them all in combination to protect the innocent, should you have a knife a sword or a brick or a gun it is beyond our god given right to protect the innocent it is our responsibility as human beings.
Part of our responsibility to protect the innocent are the laws we have in place. I have said this time and time again but laws do not protect us they merely give us means and direction to prosecute the lawless. Laws may be deterrents however that is a minor effect, I don’t say this to belittle the laws or say they are without power. I say this to remind everyone that laws do not prevent action they simply define the action as criminal .
There are however, some laws that do have a stronger impact. This is where I take my stand on gun control. As a libertarian I am supposed to allow people to do what makes them happy as long as it doesn’t effect me or others negatively, I am supposed to defend and stand for the principals of the constitution and I try very hard to do these things. I do believe that people should be free to pursue their happiness and if that is ownership of a firearm then so be it, however, this must be done in accordance with the primary premise of not effecting me or others negatively. So how do we do this while maintaining the liberties our great republic was founded on.
Number one make it difficult to obtain firearms. I don’t mean impossible and I don’t mean we should punish those in pursuit of these devices, I do however strongly believe we need to be strict and smart about this, full background checks for every transaction, be they at a gun show, a gun shop or a private transaction. I would like the private transaction of gun sales to no longer be permitted, I want every transaction to follow the proper course of background checks and paper work. The responsibility should lay with the first purchaser of the fire arm until legally and properly transferred. Should you improperly convey ownership of your firearm to another party you should be held as responsible for any crime committed with that weapon as the party who committed the crime. I personally would never purchase or sell a used firearm in a private sale, I am not equipped to investigate the history of a firearm for purchase nor am I equipped to do background checks on a prospective buyer. Moreover, as a responsible citizen I would never arm anybody who was not background checked and given the green light to be sold that fire arm.
Holding the original purchaser responsible for the life of that weapon or until it is properly transferred is the first step. The next step must involve strong investigation into the background of the purchaser before permission is given. Anybody without felonies or mental health issues should still be granted the ability to purchase any fire arm of their choosing in any quantity, style, size etc they would like. The point here is those who are qualified do not pose a risk, really it is quite the opposite those that are trained, background checked etc… add an additional layer of security and rapid response to protect the innocent which must be our top priority.
I can’t help but think of the Aurora shootings, Colorado is a state with a large amount of armed citizens, I can’t help but wonder how many good people had left their firearms in the parking lot during that movie. Were there 5 firearms 10 firearms out in the parking lot that could have lessened the bloodshed? I don’t know the answer to this but I just wonder, then there is the mall shooter in Oregon where Nick Meli was carrying a firearm legally and had an opportunity to fire at the shooter he says “As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them,”. A properly trained shooter knows that he is responsible for the entire path of that bullet from beginning to end. This man did the right thing and as he says the next shot fired was the shooter taking his own life. It is widely believed the mere fact that he was about to be confronted triggered his suicide mechanism. More legally and intelligently armed people on the street can help mitigate these events.
The second amendment is not the problem, the ownership of firearms by good and law abiding citizens is not the problem, and certainly the style of weapon is not the problem nor is the capacity of the magazine. All of those things are the problem when someone who should not have a firearm does have one, large magazines are a problem, the ability to rapid fire is a problem, the biggest problem however is the fact that they have a firearm in the first place. This is where we need to find harmony, we need to keep the firearms in the hands of the right people and out of the hands of the wrong people. Allowing fear to take over and to try and force the firearms out of the hands of all people will only make these situations worse and occur more often.
I hope for those who want to take all the guns that they never find themselves in a circumstance where they wish there was one good guy there that they didn’t take it from, I hope they never have to live with results of such legislation though sadly again I know better. As I stated above I had to assume some principals to think this through clearly and the fact is bad things will happen and to say we have the right to protect ourselves is a woeful understatement. We have the responsibility as brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, husbands wives and fellow humans to defend and protect the innocent and those that can not protect themselves.
Tragedies are just that tragic and they are part of the one way street, we can never undo what was done. We should also not allow them to drive our fear mechanism into irrational decisions. There are problems in the world and they require calm, intelligent and emotionless solutions. I hope to someday live in a world where I don’t turn around if I forget my firearm when I leave the house. I hope someday firearms are used only for hobby and sport but until that day I promise to be one of the good guys and do my best to protect the innocent through good choices, training, empathy and compassion for all parties involved. It is my sincere hope that we all take that pledge and look out for each other and trust each other.
Out of respect for the emotions of all involved I will not be writing or mentioning specifically any of the recent events that have occurred beyond the one relevant quote of Mr. Meli. The pain, the loss and the senselessness of these events does not permit me to speak about the feelings, the heartache or the emotion of those families and communities, I do not have the eloquence to write of these events in a way that would guarantee not to cause any further heartache or pain. I simply can not bring myself to selfishly share my thoughts and feelings of those events without satisfying my own commitment to never write anything that might ever imply a sliver of disrespect or lack of empathy or compassion to what those good people are going through.