I don't know about you, but the subject of guns seems to be a never-ending subject in my social circles lately. Even while my family agrees on the over-arching topic of gun control (when I was little, I'd pull the lever for my dad's bullet reloading press, if you get my drift), there are nuances we disagree with one another. On Facebook, my friends represent very far-reaching viewpoints from the left to right. It's fascinating and infuriating at once -- it's America.
Yet for all the turmoil over the topic, when I sent out a request asking for gun control opinions, few people were willing to spill the beans about their private discussions. I posed two questions. Here are some of the responses.
In light of recent events, what discussions are happening in your household regarding gun control? Is this issue linked to other discussions, such as mental health care or multimedia exposure (video games, movies), and how?
Man I from Wyoming
[Gun control] should not happen. Should there ever be limitation on the type of firearm or magazine, etc. by our government, then there must be an equal and reciprocal limitation on the First Amendment. Hollywood, TV, and video games cannot sensationalize firearms and glorify the bloodlust we see on screen today. By calling this art without any sense of responsibility is asinine. Those on the fringe and outside the zone of reality are easily and most certainly influenced by this lack of humanity, savagery, and gratuitous violence as seen on screen.
Man II from Wyoming
Our motto is when you don’t put up with any offensive action in life, you won’t be exposed to any. People know that my family won’t ever be far from a gun.
Woman from Connecticut
[Our family’s] conversations are less about guns and more about safety in general. Knowing the difference between feeling safe and unsafe, paying attention to surroundings, etc. The convo also includes talks about the difference between good and bad people. The guns have never been addressed with [my daughter] but she knows they are dangerous weapons. Her dad has guns and when the three of us were talking about the ability to hand in unwanted or unused guns in the state of CT [she] asked her dad if he was going to do this but he...said no.
Man from West Virginia
Initially, I thought this whole fiasco was an emotional over-reaction to the massacres of our children. Then I stumbled upon a logical thing to do: Look to the past to find the reason and rationale for the present. What I realized was that the political leaders pushing the gun control debate are not responding to any specific massacre or the emotional outrage over said massacres but instead using them to their advantage. If you follow their political history back a few years, their true colors are exposed:
- In 2004, as a state senator in Illinois, Obama voted against a bill that would have made it legal to defend yourself inside of your home with a pistol. In a 1996 interview, he also supported the notion of outlawing the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns. Yet, on Dec 26 2012, he was thankful that his daughters are surrounded by armed guards for their protection. Our children do not have armed guards. Only us and the good nature of those around us.
- In 1995, Sen. Feinstein was interviewed regarding the previous year's Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act. She lamented that she did not have the votes to outright ban all semi-automatic weapons. Yet she admits, when she feared for her own safety, she carried a concealed handgun.
Conclusion: They are taking advantage of the country's emotional abhorrence of the massacre(s) to polish and push political posturing that the population repeatedly rejected in years past. In addition, I would encourage you to watch Dr. James Dobson interview Ted Bundy. The interview takes place the afternoon before Bundy's execution. It is candid and honest. In it, Bundy speaks of pornography and violence as the gateway through which he voluntarily fell and emerged as a serial killer. His parents loved him and he grew up in a Christian household.
Woman from Kentucky
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Suddenly an issue to which I'd given very little thought has been elevated as I found my husband perusing gun websites and putting one on his Christmas wish list. Personally, I have always believed that parents who allow their children to consume violent video games/movies are irresponsible and that they are allowing their children to become increasingly desensitized to the act of killing another. (However, we have Lego Wii games so perhaps some would find those to be "violent" as well....)
Has your opinion about gun control or the presence/ownership of guns in your home changed?
Woman from Connecticut
Yes, it's only made my uneasiness and displeasure of guns in general stronger. It's too easy for people, criminals, undiagnosed psychos or regular ordinary people to get a hold of and purchase unnecessary weapons. Everyone is worrying about the second amendment. Hello people this was put in action in1791! When the world was at war, when civilization wasn't so civilized. We are not protecting farm land against disgruntled neighbors, we are not protected animals against predators. We live in a different world and we need different laws or at least stricter regulations.
Woman from Kentucky
The discussions have been a wake-up call to our family to realize how important it is to defend the 2nd Amendment as many activitists use tragedies such as mass shootings to advocate for a gun ban, which is a frightening thought. Joining the voices of countless others, I believe people kill (not guns, per se) and that the root cause of violence is not gun ownership.
Man from West Virginia
No. Our opinion about gun control and ownership has not changed. There is no method for one human to legislate the thoughts and actions of another human. Removing one tool from the grasp of the disturbed will not deter their efforts or minimize their damage. The day of the Sandy Hook Massacre, in China, a man with a knife entered an elementary school and slashed kids. Hitler did it with fear and a gas chamber. Pol Pot killed millions by withholding food. One cannot simply legislate away the madness of the deluded. In order to fix those delusions, you have to get involved as a community, as a county, as a society. "Getting involved" is something that few today find palatable.
The only solution is not fear of authorities or more law but love and support. It is easy to see the need for support for going to see a psychiatrist. In the last 35 years, how many of the children who massacred their classmates were seeing a psychiatrist? I do not know the numbers...but it was not "none." I have met men who have spent years with a psychiatrist yet have only learned how to say the right things to end the session. No real resolution was reached for their problems (PTSD, suicide, rage, etc). Yet, in less than one week surrounded by the love and compassion of similarly broken men did they come clean and begin to heal. No degrees, just love and understanding. Even so, I do believe that seeing a psychiatrist has the potential to help. But that, in and of itself, is not a solution. What I have not even touched on was the original intent of the second amendment. But that is for another day.
* * *
I suppose it would be disingenuous to conclude a gun control article without putting myself out there. I don't see any need for fully automatic weapons except to arm oneself against others who have them. The thing is, no matter what the law says, there will be unlawful people with sick intent who use such weapons to destroy others. Look back at the locations of recent massacres. They're all places where private sanctions override federal law and prohibit the use of any firearms (schools, government buildings, malls) -- meaning, locations where murderers knew unarmed people could not fight back. Murderers are cowards and they'll look for any way to make their intentions easier. Laws will not thwart that thinking. This said, I do not believe guns have a place inside schools and classrooms.
Gun control. It's a multi-dimensional topic that is not going to be simple to address in such a large and culturally wide nation. So readers, I ask you, rather than respond with a critical nature to others’ opinions here, to add your own at-home discussions to this thread. The politicians and media have their say, let the Americans have theirs.
Happiness Is A Warm Gun image by SpaceB, I think but am unsure.