Drop That Gun

The cover of this week's Economist (above) says it well. This is America's image today: a culture wherein the solution to any problem from an imagined insult to a paranoid fear of "big government" is resolved at gun point.  

Blame movies and TV crime shows where the heroes and bad guys all tote handguns as if they were extensions of their anatomy. Blame the street-corner gang, where packing a weapon is the desperate assurance of a teen-ager's masculinity. Blame the merchants, like the owner of the online firearms store who sold the weapons to both the student who massacred 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech and the angry grad student who killed five and wounded 18 in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University before shooting himself. Blame the misguided gun enthusiasts who preach that we should tote pistols to work, restaurants, ball games, class and even church.

Above all blame the pusillanimous politicians who have sold their souls to the National Rifle Association at the cost of 100,000 shootings in the United States every year. Would that President Obama now  muster his courage and rhetoric to teach the American people why the federal government must serve the people by disarming them.

The Boston blogger Jerome Grossman has proposed an answer: Uniform regulations in all states; required physical, medical, and written tests and training in firearms. All guns must be kept in the local police station and signed out for use. Therefore the right to own a gun  for a reason—police, hunter, target shooter—would be protected; but guns would not be available to shoot one's spouse or one's self,  to settle an argument, or for children to play with.

An inconvenience? Yes. But how much do we really value the life of a Congresswoman, a judge, or a nine-year-old girl?

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Raymond A. Schroth, S.J.

 

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Marie Rehbein
6 years 11 months ago
I think people are on the right track in banning certain types of ammunition.  However, people feel endangered whether they are or not.  I, personally, cannot imagine ever shooting a person, whether it's an intruder or someone I see harming someone else.  It seems to me that such an attempt would not work out the way it appears to in crime dramas, and that more people would be hit by stray bullets in a shoot out than would be saved by it.  The solution is for people to treat each other more kindly and for people with mental health problems to receive, at government expense, the treatment they need or the type of incarceration they need in order to protect the larger population.
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 11 months ago
What is this "hold" that the NRA has on our national consciousness - that somehow the right of every individual to own (and use) a gun is synonomous with "freedom"? 

I suspect that the BUSINESS of guns is at the bottom of this grand myth.  The #1 America export is weaponry.  This is what America gives to the world.  Not wheat, not technology, but guns.
6 years 11 months ago
"Above all blame the pusillanimous politicians who have sold their souls to the National Rifle Association at the cost of 100,000 shootings in the United States every year."

Is this the example of the "new civility" we are called to in light of the Arizona shooting?

Unless there is a great amount of reasoning associated with the call to ban private guns, rather than these type of jeremiads, I remain skeptical of the solution proposed here:  greater government regulation by these same "pusillanimous" politicians.  Thus the wisdom of the Founders: certain rights free from government, i.e. "pusillanimous" regulation.  The suggestion herein that having to take tests in order to obtain a gun shows the author's ignorance of current gun regulations.  The notion of having police lock up our guns sends a shiver down my spine; the author should see what my local police department (New Orleans) has done before suggesting we're safer giving all our guns to them.
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Well to accept this rediculous premise that America has an image problem with all the world or at least the all-knowing elites that see Ameriican society in very dark terms think Americans resolves all problems with guns requiies Americans to hate America as much as these anti-American elites do. 

Such an alienated message needs to be rejected for its crudeness and lack of insight.  Nothing is more tedious than to have some off-shore wonder with little knowledge or contact with Americans to essntially tell us how evil America is.

Hating America is a bad business to be in but espeically for people claiming to be morally aware or enlightened.  A recheck of thinking is needed on these hate- America themes.  This thinking is a product of severe insularity.  

But it is wonderful that people can shoot off ideas without penalty in AMerica.  But most people will not listen.  Being alienated from American culture and its roots is a very sad condition of ignorance and alienation.   
Chris NUNEZ
6 years 11 months ago
THIS MIGHT ACTUALLY WORK, IF WITHIN OUR PARISHES SOME 'CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROGRAM' MADE UP OF THE PARISHIONERS WAS SET UP. NOT AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR 'RECONCILIATION', BUT COMPLEMENTARY, AND MAYBE AS A PART OF 'RECONCILIATION' BEFORE OR AFTER.
I CAN SEE THE BENEFITS FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH STRUCTURE, AND NOT JUST THE PARISHIONERS, AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITY. IT MIGHT ACTUALLY MAKE IT 'SAFER' TO ENGAGE IN REAL DIALOGUE IN OUR FAITH COMMUNITIES.
Chris NUNEZ
6 years 11 months ago
ACTUALLY, I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE CITATION FROM MATTHEW, ABOUT SETTLING ONES DISAGREEMENTS WITH ONE'S SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN FAITH.

INTERESTING HOW THIS GOT LOST IN THE COMMENTS ABOUT GUNS!
David Baugnon
6 years 11 months ago
You had 2 suggestions. the first one "Uniform regulations in all states; required physical, medical, and written tests and training in firearms." is excellent. The second, however, that "All guns must be kept in the local police station and signed out for use" sounds far fetched, even for a gun control advocate such as myself. Should gun owners be required to own a gun safe? Absolutely. but if the idea behind a handgun is protection during a home invasion, walking to your local police dept to retrieve your gun is not going to be the answer. There has to be a middle ground but you're absoilutely right that this is a sestemic problem and only tighter gun control laws and enforecement will change our current culture. A couple more incidents like this and President Obama may find the courage to do it.
Marie Rehbein
6 years 11 months ago
Strange things are being done in the name of security, but it would not be at all strange to prohibit private ownership of assault weapons except by private museums in secured collections.
ed gleason
6 years 11 months ago
The Ron/Rand Paul legislators have made their bones in the Tea Party pointing out the 'real'
Joseph Kalwinski
6 years 11 months ago
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could repeal the Second Amendment?
6 years 11 months ago
We all know what happens when we outlaw something in this country.  A black market sprouts and those who flout the law are the purchasers.  The responsible, law-abiding person will be powerless to defend his house and family in a society from armed robbers and killers in a society where only the bad guys have guns.  And in the times in which we live, of uncivilized political battles, talk of revolution, and desperate economic conditions, it's probably a good time to own a gun.  The Framers knew what they were doing; the world doesn't change all that much.
6 years 11 months ago
"There has to be a middle ground but you're absoilutely right that this is a sestemic problem and only tighter gun control laws and enforecement will change our current culture. A couple more incidents like this and President Obama may find the courage to do it."

The President's political support has collapsed primarily in places where guns are part of the culture, and not in the ways this blog posts mistakenly presents.  Let him try to enforce the types of provisions you are advocating here, and you will ensure that Dick Cheney's statements comes true.

And there ARE regulations such as tests, waiting periods, and screenings already in place.  Shocking as it may seem, sometimes deranged people do deranged things, and no amount of government regulation will stop it.
Marie Rehbein
6 years 11 months ago
"...sometimes deranged people do deranged things, and no amount of government regulation will stop it..."

Some amount of government regulation will stop deranged people, but these people need to be given some kind of attention as well as not being allowed access to weapons.
Marie Rehbein
6 years 11 months ago
I would like to add that it appears to me that wanting to own a gun for protection is primarily a theoretical position since there is no guarantee that circumstances will be such that the gun makes the difference or that a threat will ever actually be encountered.  Gun ownership offers both a false sense of security and the potential for one's accidental death or the accidental death of one's loved ones.
Marie Rehbein
6 years 11 months ago
David, I don't see where we have a slippery slope in restricting gun ownership.  What the second amendment says to me is that people have a right to defend themselves and that states have a right to call together an armed force of some sort.  I don't think that there is an absolute right to own any kind of weapon.  If it were that, how is it possible to justify preventing us from bringing our manicure implements on airplanes?
Jim McCrea
6 years 11 months ago
"There is clearly the danger of stepping onto a slippery slope when you start forbidding people to own dangerous weapons."

Do you realize how ridiculous that statement is!

15" knife blades OK?
Free access to dangerous chemicals?
Unregulated access to motor vehicles?


Stanley Kopacz
6 years 11 months ago
I'm afraid banning guns to the level suggested will work as well as the laws banning marijuana, heroin and crack.  Anybody can pass a law banning guns or bad weather.  It's getting people  work and jobs and some dignity that takes real competence and effort.  I'm a gun owner but I'd like to see a social democracy first before I give them up.  In our present neoliberal dog-eat-dog society, with its stressed out, angry population, I'm glad to have some recourse, if necessary.  Of course, there's always the protection of the police who will put a chalk mark around me after the fact.  I'm trying to remember the last time the police did anything FOR me?

You could probably save more lives by forcing the integration of a global positioning system and a speed governor into automobiles so that they can't exceed the speed limit.  I feel it is much more probable that some idiot will kill me with a car than shoot me.

But I DO agree that some people shouldn't have guns and some people shouldn't have cars and some neither.  The fanatical lack of regulation supported by the NRA is going to backfire on them and the rest of us.
6 years 11 months ago
I believe Maryland is considered the 5th safest state in the US on gun control and yet the leading county in the US on gun homicides is in Maryland.  It is Prince Georges county.  In two weeks there has been a dozen killed.  Are these lives any less of value than those lost  in Tucson?  So I believe one has to look somewhere else besides making a scape goat out of the NRA on this issue.  Maybe the place to look is the policies of politicians over the years and I do not mean those that support the NRA.

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