When a person buys an assault weapon, legally or illegally, they’re buying it to USE it. No one buys an automatic assault rifle without so much as the hint of a fantasy that they might get an opportunity to use that weapon to kill someone or something. You don’t need an assault rifle to shoot deer or rabbits although it would increase your odds while leaving your meat not only “gamey” but full of shrapnel. You don’t need to use an automatic weapon to do that, scatter shot does the very same thing. It’s the “friendly” weapon of choice, ask Dick Cheney.
That said, there is nothing funny about the latest senseless mass murder and injury of innocent theater-goers in Aurora, Colorado. Nor is there anything funny about the Columbine massacre or the horror of Gabby Giffords’ attempted assassination and the deaths of the people who came to hear her speak. There’s nothing funny about Trayvon Martin. There’s nothing funny about the body found riddled with bullets three blocks from the historic district here in Philadelphia where I live…. Or the 32 year old man shot dead for his iPhone six blocks in the opposite direction in the heart of Society Hill. The horrific examples are without end….
What IS funny (but not in a “ha ha” kind of way) is how the National Rifle Association predictably circles the wagons every time the NRA’s own stupid, poorly thought out gun laws blow-up in society’s face. I call those laws the “NRA’s laws” because that’s exactly what they are: They’re the result of a massive influx of funding flowing from one of the most powerful lobbyist networks in the nation. The data is irrefutable proving a home containing a gun, exponentially increases the chances of a gun-related death or suicide. The statistics are all over the map but the one thing they all have in common is a clear indication that owning a gun puts you at a higher risk of death and does nothing whatsoever to insure your safety. Now apply that thought to individuals unbalanced enough to seek out any variety of rapid firearms…. And you only have to reflect on recent history to realize the NRA is not merely “in the wrong” but dangerously and indefensibly so.
I saw a bumper sticker that read: “Real Men Fight With Their Fists” – and while I appreciate the incremental progress that phrase represents – I offer-up the notion that intelligent people resolve conflicts with carefully thought out words and the enforcement of laws. That, of course, rules out the crazies, the inherently stupid and all of the backwoods mental cases hiding behind trees in America’s heartland. I believe a retroactive gun law needs to be introduced that includes a 90 day waiting period and written proof of a full psychological work-up plus a certificate stating the prospective gun owner has concurrently completed 30 hours of professional supervised training. Once the gun owner has completed this “driving” test, they can apply-for and presumably receive a gun-license recognized in the state of issuance for anything EXCEPT an assault weapon. Furthermore, every time a crime or murder is committed using a firearm, if the police are able to determine the manufacturer of the weapon, that company should pay a mandatory minimum fine of $1,500 per incident which would be passed onto the consumer, substantially raising the retail price of guns. That should be retroactive too now that I think about it. The money collected can be used to help victims of gun violence and surviving orphans.
Gun shows have got to be outlawed and loopholes closed, sealed and the earth salted beneath them. Offending merchants can spend quality time with their most hardened valued customers in state penitentiaries nationwide getting to know one another better. And while you’re at it, stop prosecuting minor infractions like possession of marijuana so the prison system can make room for the genuine criminals: People who use and sell guns for wrongful purposes. A person’s right to own a gun doesn’t trump an innocent individual’s right to live out the remainder of their natural lives without being left to die riddled with bullets. There IS no morally acceptable opposing viewpoint. End of story.