I genuinely lament that such an article must be written so often, but this nation is indeed caught in a fairly predictable cycle. Lunacy, malice or fanaticism seeks to strike out at their fellow man so they search for the most efficient method of murder they can find. Sadly, the AR-15 is indeed one of the most efficient methods of delivering death. Even fellow supporters of the 2nd amendment must acknowledge this incontrovertible fact. Shocked at the carnage, many lash out at these “assault weapons” or even guns in general. Gun owners and enthusiasts are given no win ultimatums like “your right to a gun is not more important than right to life” or perhaps “you like guns, guns kill people, why do you want little children to die” type strawman arguments. The nature of the conversation post-mass shooting is as responsible for inaction on atrocities such as this as anything. There is no winning or losing a post-mass shooting argument. It makes most wonder why we bother to even have the conversation. But in the name of humanity we have to at least try. Sit down, have a drink and let’s try one more time the civil post mass shooting conversation. Dilly, dilly, here we go.
Banning the AR-15 is Something
Before you spit out your finest whiskey in disbelief, I am not advocating that at all. I’m just talking objective fact. In the wake of a shooting like the one in Florida there are active calls and screams to “do something.” I suppose if I am trying to be objective that banning the popular rifle is indeed “doing something.” Then again so is kicking a pig, slapping a cat or doing the funky chicken. Those actions too are “doing something” and perhaps as equally effective for the problem at hand. Imagine if some dastardly evil doer was breaking into my house and my wife starts screaming at me to “do something.” Flustered and under pressure, I stand up and start doing the robot. My wife yells and asks what I’m doing to which I reply, “something.”
That’s the vibe I’m going for here and before those unfamiliar with guns scoff at that notion, let me ask you this. What is banning the sale of ARs going to do about the millions and millions of ARs currently in American hands? There is not even a good count on exactly how many are out there as many owners wouldn’t tell you if they had one and they likely have 10. Objectively, banning the sale of these popular weapons doesn’t solve the problem of access.
You could require a massive scale Australia like weapons turn in I suppose. Only problem is that the type of person willing to comply is unlikely the type of person to go shoot up a school. If you are honest enough to turn in your gun you likely didn’t forget that you planned a mass murder next week. Then, there are the patriotic gun owners who wouldn’t comply. These too are not the people likely to shoot up a movie theater or school. Making criminals out of millions of honest men and women with the stroke of a pen is poor legislation in my book. Banning AR style guns is doing something, but nothing at the same time. It’s the wrong obsession and you might as well go kick a pig and do something.
Operating at the Speed of Trust
I am of the belief that if the progressive wing of the party never mentioned banning guns, ammunition or magazines that the average gun owner would be willing to talk “common sense” gun control. I almost puked typing that last phrase. Screw it, even if the average gun owner wouldn’t be willing to talk I would. The problem is that as of right now, gun owners in America trust the left’s call for control about as much as I trust the creepy free hugs clown.
This is due in part because we have seen the end game. The United Kingdom, Australia and beyond “common sense” is not the end game that progressives are pursuing. Seriously, Hillary Clinton was considered the moderate to Bernie Sanders and when she called for holding gun manufacturers liable for what citizens choose to do with guns he called her out. Bernie friggin Sanders, said Hillary’s plan mounted a tantamount assault on all gun production in America. He said and I quote, “What you are really talking about is ending gun manufacturing in America. I don’t agree with that.” How about conservatives slow clapping Bernie for the first time in history.
Gun owners are not paranoid about the end game of “common sense” gun control because the progressive wing has tipped their hand too early. And I don’t even mean that as a slight against all progressives. I know Bernie loving military veteran leftist good men who own an AR-15. It is, however, a call em like I see em observation on the gun debate in America. After the Las Vegas shooting conservatives rejected in general a call to ban bump stocks. But here’s the thing, most gun owners and myself included think bump stocks are the dumbest thing since clear Coke. Unnecessary and just plain silly. So why fight it? It’s not because we care it’s because those who view the 2nd amendment like an essential right akin to speech, liberty and the press don’t trust the end game.
The Price of Doing Something
I’ve said this before that if someone came to me and said “Jeff, I have clear evidence that if you personally give up your guns we can prevent 17 kids from getting killed” that I would personally do it in a heartbeat. I mean 17 kids today versus the low probability that I will need to fire my weapon in the future, sure, you got it. But if you come to me and say, “Jeff, we are not sure that this will help but in the name of doing something we would like the entire nation to forfeit it’s right to these weapons” I’d say hold on their buttercup. Americans are not exceptional, we are human. Tyranny is the norm in human history not the exception. You cannot decry the supposed tyranny and authoritarianism of Donald Julius Trump at one moment then cry to disarm the citizenry from the very tools it would need if you are correct.
If you came to me and said “Jeff, I have clear evidence that Donald Trump will quit sending out stupid tweets if you would just give up your right to criticize the President” I’d do that in a heartbeat. Heck, I’d never mention Donald Julius Trump again for a 10% chance the Donald’s thumbs never tweet again. But hear me on this, if you told me there is just a chance that we could save the lives of every person killed in a mass shooting by forfeiting our right to criticize our public leaders I would decline.
When you start asking people to modify, give up or infringe upon constitutional rights you are asking a hell of a thing and you better have a better reason of asking than the desire to “do something.” You say we need to ban the AR-15, but I say doing so comes at a price with no guarantee or indication of success. If you want to assure me that the call to ban yelling “fire” in a movie theater is not a call to ban free speech you better prove it. If you want to assure me that a call for heavier vetting on Muslim immigrants is not a call to infringe upon religion you better prove it. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? If you want to assure me that a call for better gun laws in the wake of tragedy is not a call to go after every gun you better prove it. When in doubt, I’ll stick to my constitutional rights. It has served this nation well so far and given that AR style weapons account for less than 1% of gun injuries each year I feel it’s a safe bet.
Common Sense Gun Control
The simple truth is that you cannot please everyone in this debate on either side. There is no convincing the reporter who said firing a gun for the first time gave him PTSD and made him light headed. No dude, you fired a gun for the first time and got a motto boner. Happened to all of us. Equally, there is no convincing the small town gun shop enthusiast who would sell a gun to zombie Charles Manson who walked in smoking crack while making love to a chicken because, Obama that’s why. But you can convince me and I’m willing to listen.
You want to deal with the problem of the mentally disturbed getting access to AR style weapons then let’s talk and build some trust together. I’ll support an extended background check and waiting time for those looking purchase an AR style weapon if in that same bill you will support national reciprocity. Don’t talk to me about the need to buy an AR the same day for if the first time you are running to purchase one is when the zombies are at the gates you are screwed anyway. Do you even prep bro?
Most of these shooters are some odd cats and I’m betting with a little digging that we could come up with something. I don’t want crazy people to have gun. The NRA doesn’t want crazy people to have guns. No one wants crazy people to have guns. If you can pursue the access part without infringing an entire right then you got my common sense. However, you have to build some trust that is not present. If any progressive is unwilling to do that, then any progressive is not serious about gun control. People don’t want guns because the NRA is strong, the NRA is strong because Americans want guns. Left and right, that includes the AR-15.
Longest article I’ve ever typed on Unprecedented Mediocrity and not one mention of Bea Arthur’s panties, imagine that. Wait, no there it was. Americans are ready to talk about gun control in a violent age if those talking it are willing to reinforce the constitutional right they shouldn’t have to reinforce in the first place. Rogue state like California and rogue candidates like Hillary talking about ending gun manufacturing in America are not giving anyone reason to trust the rhetoric. Morbid fact, cows kill over 20 people in America each year. So you better slow down and talk to me calmly about why the weapon responsible for less than 1% of gun injuries each year needs to be banned.
I know more AR-15 owners than you can shake a stick at. Not a single one of them is a threat. Moreover, I’m willing to bet each one of them would have stood at that school and given their lives to protect those kids. Moreover, I’m willing to bet most of them like me would happily give their weapons up if you could prove it would save 17 lives today. But you can’t and while they would happily make an individual sacrifice they cannot ask a nation to disarm in the wake of a tragedy. I would ban everyone reading this article if it would save my kids. The families of the victims deserve to rage however they please right now. The rest of us, however, need to be more objective about life and the constitution. There is no “common sense” talk without building some “common sense” trust.
Banning the AR 15 is not an honest position to offer unless you truly want to dismantle the 2nd amendment and that is something we simply cannot accept. If, however, you can build a little trust that your end game is not to take away a constitutional right with as iron clad resolution and legislation as you would modify/infringe upon it then you might actually do something in life. Calling to ban the popular AR-15 is indeed doing something, but unless you are willing to build trust you are doing nothing at the same time. Those who mock sending “thoughts and prayers” are free to ask for me to send a video of me doing the robot along with them. At least, I’ll be doing “something.”
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