Reposted from January 24, 2011: “Bang! Bang! You’re dead.” It’s all fun and games, right? We can’t stop our kids from shooting things…I tried, my son turned a banana into a gun. But, as a mother, I can make sure he doesn’t point his banana at anyone. That’s the rule in our house. Why? We all want our children to be safe. There are steps we take every day to ensure their safety. We use seatbelts and car seats. We take them to the doctor and make them eat their broccoli. We hold their hands across the street and we don’t let them run with sharp objects in their hands or suckers in their mouths. It’s common sense mommy-ness.
But what about unseen dangers, like guns? Do you know if your child is playing at a house where there is an actual gun, as opposed to the yellow skinned kind? Is it locked up? Is it loaded? Do your kids know what to do if they see a gun? Would you let your kids go play at someone’s house if you knew they had a loaded gun? Would you even think to ask? Awkward.
But, these are the questions that mothers of the Million Mom March and the Second Amendment Sisters activist groups think about every day. They lobby for and against gun control, vehemently and with equal conviction. The NRA is reticent to give up even an inch of ground on the issue of the second amendment:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
To them, any gun legislation is a violation of our constitutional protections and leaves citizens vulnerable to attack from other citizens and/or its own government. To the advocates of the Brady Bill, common sense gun legislation is paramount to protecting vulnerable citizens and children from accidents, irresponsible gun owners, mentally unstable people and criminals. For the rest of us, we just want our loved ones to be safe. The truth is gun violence is a US problem and it affects our national health care costs, the crisis in urban communities and our overall homeland security.
We get it. There is no way to keep everyone safe all the time. Accidents happen. Criminals will find a way to get guns. And, we are a society that accepts the right to bear arms as a constitutional right. It is part of the fabric of our country, sure. But, let’s be honest, do we really think our founding fathers could imagine the automatic assault weapons of today and the super duper 30 magazine clips? Their muskets have evolved and the government in question happens to have the most sophisticated, well-armed, well trained military in the entire world. So, that being said, the right to bear arms is not about overthrowing our government – we do that every 2 and 4 years peacefully with our vote. So, it’s more about protecting our property and using guns for sport.
The “fun” part has to do with hunting, marksmanship, or maybe collecting and appreciating the shape and mechanisms of guns, if you are into that sort of thing. Little boys are enamored with them…they represent power and control. Big boys love them for the same reason. The “games” start when we pretend it’s o.k. that gun violence is part of our daily lives. Guns don’t kill, people do. Right? That’s what gun advocates say anyway. So, why not have universal background checks to make sure that the wrong people aren’t getting ahold of guns? And, what about the bullets? The person that pulls the trigger is responsible, but at what point do the rest of us become responsible for how many bullets they are allowed to shoot before reloading? The responsibility for the safety of a free society is shared. If it is the “people” who are responsible, then who are all the “people” that should be held accountable when a gun is sold to, bought by or used by a child, a deranged person or a criminal?
Why can we order guns on-line without a background check? How can people walk out of a gun show with a basket full of guns and turn around and sell them in the parking lot to God knows who? What happens to the adults that don’t keep their weapons locked? What happens to the adults that don’t store their weapon safely? What happens to the adults that don’t get their kids the help they need? What happens to the adults that just want to have some fun, drink some beer and shoot some stuff? There have to be some basic rules to the game, because the tricky part becomes trying to sort out the good guys from the bad guys. Irresponsible parents, irresponsible gun dealers, irresponsible/insane gun owners, irresponsible legislators and criminals are the bad guys. The good guys need to stand up for gun safety laws and citizen education that will ensure responsible gun ownership and improve self-defense by limiting accessibility for the bad guys? It is more than just fun and games, it’s an awesome responsibility to each other and to our children.
The NRA keeps lobbying for new, more expansive gun laws. It isn’t stepping up to put common sense regulation in place or helping educate people about gun safety. Instead, it is encouraging more access and less restrictions on guns – all guns. Why? In the last year, laws now allow us to carry guns into national parks, into bars in the South (because drinking and gun slinging is the cowboy way?) and now they are working on allowing them onto college campuses? Seriously? Where are the politicians of today drawing the lines between rational restrictions and irrational fears? No one is standing up to the NRA, because it is a profitable game that has a lot of winners, including gun and ammunition manufacturers. Instead of pushing so hard to shoot holes in every argument for more restraint and responsibility, why can’t gun advocates help teach safety more diligently, promote less violence and advocate for the responsibility that comes with the freedom to own a gun? We will always protect the second amendment, but “with freedom comes responsibility.” So, from a “let’s look out for the kids” point-of-view, can’t we all just agree to “save our silver bullets?” Otherwise, the message we are sending our kids is “don’t mess with me or I’ll shoot you.” Then, Bang! Bang! you’re dead is not just fun and games…someone gets hurt…and it’s not always the bad guys.