Gun Control from a Liberal Gun-Owner’s Perspective

In the wake of the the Newtown shootings, there has been an awful lot of talk about gun control in America.

It makes me wonder why only now is there talk of gun control? This is not the first mass shooting. Not by a long shot. Is it simply because most of the victims were children?

I’ve sat quietly and listened to liberals and parents clamoring for more gun laws when they had little to say on the issue only six months ago after the Aurora shootings. I also noticed the NRA‘s total silence on the issue when normally they’re so flagrantly annoying with their stance.

And then this morning as I was brushing my teeth, I heard a spokesman for the NRA on the radio admonishing the media, video games and violent movies, and saying the solution is more guns. Specifically, their solution is having armed guards at every school in America.

I’ve never heard of anything quite so idiotic. So, in order to make children feel safe, we’re going to expose them to more guns with armed men roaming around their schools? More guns are not the answer. Besides, who’s going to pay for that?

I say this from the bottom of my heart, fuck you, NRA. You do not speak for all gun owners. Crawl back into the hole you’ve been in for the past week and get bent.

I am a gun owner. I own a rifle and a 9mm handgun. Did you know that? Does that surprise any of you? It shouldn’t. I am about as liberal as you can get without being an ideologue, but I own firearms.

I own firearms because I enjoy shooting them. I find shooting guns to be relaxing. Some people meditate, I shoot things and I’m not a bad shot.

So when I heard the head of the NRA on national public radio this morning speaking for all gun owners, it made my blood boil. I would rather join the Church of Scientology than the NRA. The NRA is a bigoted, misogynistic, right-wing, political lobbying machine and they can have my membership dues when they pry them from my cold dead hands.

I don’t belong to any gun owners associations, but if I did, it would probably be this one:

Gun_Club_Membership_Card_Preview3

The mission of The Liberal Gun Club is to provide a voice for gun-owning liberals and moderates in the national conversation on gun rights, gun legislation, firearms safety, and shooting sports. We serve as a national forum for all people, irrespective of their personal political beliefs, to discuss firearms ownership, firearms use, and the enjoyment of firearms-related activities free from the destructive elements of political extremism that dominate this subject on the national scale.   We also actively develop and foster a variety of programs for the purpose of firearms training and firearms safety education, for both gun owners and non-gun owners.

Sounds alright to me, but if you think they have even one tenth of the lobbying power of the NRA, you’re mistaken. And that’s what’s wrong. The NRA is so powerful, it’s nearly impossible to fight them. Groups like the LGC couldn’t even dream of being on even ground.

I live in California, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. Some of the restrictions are reasonable, but California also does some really idiotic things, e.g. not allowing thumb hole stocks and pistol grips as if the way you hold a rifle has any bearing on how well it kills:

Top to bottom: standard rifle stock, thumbhole stock, pistol grip stock.

Top to bottom: standard rifle stock, thumb hole stock, pistol grip stock. None of these stocks in and of themselves can kill you (unless you’re thumped really hard on the head with them).

As a liberal gun owner, I don’t think that a civilian ever really needs a machine gun. I believe that there should be a waiting period to buy a gun. There should be a background check. I think that you should have to pass a handgun safety test and prove that you know how to handle a gun before you can take possession of it.  Those are all things California does already. These things should be national otherwise people will just go to the state next door and buy them.

I’m not sure what the answer is since there are already so many guns in America, but I do not think the answer is guns in schools.

There are 29 comments

  1. buckwheatsrisk

    I don’t own a gun but I too love shooting when given a chance, target shooting! I think the focus should be on the mental health system and providing proper help for those who need it. I’m in Canada but I don’t think things are much different across the board.

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  2. aliceatwonderland

    This is what gets me about the NRA – liberals are not trying to take away every single gun. Some of us don’t care for them, but others love to hunt, target shoot, what-have-you and are for reasonable gun laws. My husband has guns and does target shooting. He uses them responsibly. He’s conservative, but I love him anyway. Still, even he doesn’t really oppose things like waiting periods. The NRA is extreme, but they have conservatives in a choke hold – support them or forget getting elected. Special interest groups are a larger part of what’s wrong with politics – and these guys are the craziest of them all. More guns is the answer? Are we arming children now? It’s just so sad.

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  3. twindaddy

    I have to play devil’s advocate here. What if there were an armed guard at Sandy Hook? Don’t you think some lives would have been saved?

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    1. Melanie

      One armed guard? Would the shooter have shot him first?
      In my high school we had several staff members, termed Walking Counselors, whose job it was to catch students skipping class, catch students trying to leave campus, and catch non-students trying to come on campus. They were our first line of defense against strangers on campus. None of them carried guns, but several were former police officers. They would make the strangers leave or call the cops if they didn’t. It isn’t a perfect system, but I think it helped keep us safe.

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        1. Melanie

          Maybe this is the simple answer. Not many elementary school students are known for skipping class, so it makes sense the the “catchers” aren’t there. Maybe they should be.

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          1. goldfish

            I agree. As long as they are unarmed. I don’t like the concept of armed guards around elementary kids like they’re prisoners. But if there was a “catcher,” he would have been able to call the cops. They would have known about it sooner.

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            1. Melanie

              I agree that guns and elementary students don’t mix. I worry they will become too desensitized to their inherent danger if guns become so common so early. It’s a fine line.

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        1. goldfish

          I don’t really think there’s one blanket solution to the problem. I think stricter gun laws are in order as I described above, and mental health advocacy as I talked about the other day. And we probably should have security officers at every school, but I don’t think they should be armed. The last thing we need is more guns.

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          1. twindaddy

            I agree with all of those, except perhaps the security guard. My kids school as a police officer stationed at the school the entire day. I’d prefer to see something like that. Security guards are not upholders of the law, police officers are. I feel better knowing that an officer is there on the off chance that some homicidal idiot wanders in to their school with a loaded weapon.

            An unarmed security guard isn’t going to stand a chance against someone with assault weapons.

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            1. goldfish

              Well, the two armed guards at Columbine didn’t stand a chance against kids with assault weapons either.

              I agree that police officers are way better equipped to handle something like that than a security guard, but I don’t think it’s the answer to the problem. At least, not in full. Honestly, I probably have no right to speak to that since I’m not a parent. But I am a taxpayer and I don’t like the concept of treating children like prisoners. Perhaps it’s just my contrary nature that makes me want to do the opposite of whatever the NRA wants to do.

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              1. twindaddy

                Well, the officers are there for the students, too. Students are always fighting and I hear about it from my kids all the time.

                Maybe the two guards at Columbine didn’t stand a chance, but a trained officer is a better defense than nothing.

                I’m not saying it’s the total answer, but it’s a start. Even with tighter gun control people are still going to be able to get their hands on weapons they can’t obtain legally.

                Also, the children aren’t treated like prisoners, the cop is there to observe and patrol and to react on the off-chance that something bad happens.

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  4. Kozo

    I agree. That statement this morning was idiotic. A worse one was when someone suggested arming the teachers.
    It doesn’t surprise me, but I still get a kick out of thinking about a Goldfish packing heat.

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  5. nightingale

    Here in Europe we don’t have many guns in private homes, so our perspective is quite different. However my husband grew up in South Africa where the rules are pretty similar to what you’re describing for California. I don’t feel it is my place to comment on what the rules for gun ownership in the US should be but I do know I would not want gun-toting officers hovering around my kids at school. That prospect would stop me from wanting to give birth at all – theoretically, even if it is too late for me :) It also makes me consider joining your peace movement in the blogosphere.

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    1. goldfish

      The problem with America is there are already so many guns and there’s no way anyone is going to give them up. So, enacting gun control legislation doesn’t do anything to take care of what’s already there. Background checks, safety training and a waiting period couldn’t hurt though.

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