Many people I know are gun owners, and many of those gun owners are sane, pleasant people who treat their weapons with the respect they deserve and are generally very responsible individuals. Many are also highly knowledgeable of the technical aspects of weaponry and are more than happy to share that knowledge, oftentimes whether I want to hear it or not. Even though I have no real desire to learn anything at all about pistols or rifles or whatever, I try to listen patiently. However, I can do without the occasional “I-have-no-respect-for-people-who-don’t- see-things-my-way” chest-pounding which sometimes accompanies these mini-lessons, as well as the references to “disaffected loser scumbags” or “lowlifes,” but when I take the time to sort through their testosterone-driven bluster, I find they often do present their case reasonably well. Sometimes they claim to know “every single thing an anti-gun person would say”, which makes me think they could probably use a small dose of humility, but I smile and nod anyway. Arguing opinion is just tiring. They certainly know all about their own topic, but their range of knowledge tends to be very limited.
Several gun owners I know see the world as a “good guy-bad guy” dichotomy, which works well on a one-dimensional plane and in John Wayne movies, but as soon as I lift it up the edge of these arguments and start examining the underpinnings of the preconceptions and generalizations they are founded upon, things get a tad iffy. Many gun advocates think it would be a terrific idea to arm teachers, for example. After all, if there were a few more guns at Sandy Hook those kids would still be alive, right? My gun friends propose the selection of teacher packers on a voluntary basis, which sounds great at first blush, but it doesn’t preclude the very real possibility of a testosterone-filled first or second (or tenth) year teacher whipping out his piece when some kid gives him a bit too much shit on any given day. It could happen. Even a bleeding heart freak such as myself would be sorely tempted to brandish a weapon when little Billy tells me to commit a physical impossibility on myself for the eighth time in a half hour.
If you or anyone else can look me in the eye and tell me that potential teacher-guardians are level-headed and mature across the board, I will openly question your sanity. It just isn’t true. And there’s no practical way to weed the barbarians and zealots out of the mix, much less determine what their real intentions are.
The Wild Wild West is way, way in the past, and I for one would like to leave it there. Many people I have met aren’t as tightly wrapped as they believe themselves to be, and the thought of them carrying concealed weapons is unsettling, to put it mildly. Many weapons advocates present best (or worst) case scenarios when describing situations where citizens would have been saved “if they only had a gun (see ‘Sandy Hook’),” but I think they might be kidding themselves into thinking there are that many solid citizens out there, even if they are teachers.
I do not care if people own guns, be they assault weapons, pistols, or Howitzers. All I ask is that the privilege of gun ownership involves intense, situational, weapon-specific mandatory training and psychological background checks for ALL gun buyers. Yes, criminals will still be able to get guns, but I see that as a separate issue. I just can not understand why months of learner’s permit training is a prereq for driving a car, but nothing like that exists for owning a gun. It makes no sense to me.
I wonder if these brave pistol-packers would be happy if, when their sons and daughters are eligible to get their driver’s licenses, the Gun Guy Parents showed them all diagrams of how a car works and then just let them figure it out. Doubtful.