Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in.
As we prepare for “Gun Appreciation Day” – Which ironically falls just two days prior to Martin Luther King Day, we are still nowhere closer to a meaningful conversation about guns in America. For my part, I’ve tried. I’ll even try later in this column with a few simple, direct questions to responsible gun owners. I start with what I have found summarizes every debate that I’ve engaged in with the delusional fringe of our great nation. Alex Jones is a popular radio host who routinely makes JFK conspiracies look like child’s play in comparison to his rhetoric. He has millions of listeners and runs the popular conservative website InfoWars.
Here is the interview that Alex had with CNN Host Piers Morgan: A man he advocates deporting from America.
It breaks down even further in this clip, with Jones going so far as to mock Morgan’s accent:
In the UK, 35 people were killed last year by a gun in a country with over 60 million people. In Japan, 11 people were murdered all year by a gun. In America gun violence kills more than 30,000 people annually. Now, these “factoids” as Alex Jones calls them are otherwise known as “facts” and “statistics” that are pretty tough to argue with. For example, Chicago is the right-wing talking point for gun control not working. (Chicago had over 500 gun murders in 2012) However, that does not tell even a fraction of the story. Chicago has a LOT more problems than most places (gang violence, drugs, etc), and Illinois is STILL in the middle as far as gun-related murders by state. Where are the highest rates of per capita gun deaths? In the South, where regulations and restrictions are basically non-existent. The top state? Louisiana. Yes, Chicago is a pretty rough city dealing with an overall crime problem. That being said, any conservative who only has a few talking points with no facts to back them who reference Chicago in alleged intelligent discourse show tunnel vision and a lack of insight. The facts are clear: States with more gun control have fewer gun deaths.
There were 33 bullets fired in 27 seconds in the Aurora shooting, according to analysis of a 911 call from the theater. Today is the two year anniversary of the Tuscon mass shooting that killed six people, including a nine-year old girl, and critically wounded Rep. Gabby Giffords. To offer an alternative to the powerful gun lobby, she launched Americans for Responsible Solutions to try to offer elected officials some cover for proposing more common-sense gun legislation.
Which brings me to my questions to the responsible gun owners out there. Please use the comment section to debate, I’m genuinely curious as to what everyone has to say on this stuff.
As a responsible, law abiding gun owner: How would requiring a comprehensive background check on EVERY gun transaction affect YOUR ability to buy, possess, or use a gun?
How would improving mental health screening affect YOUR ability to buy, possess, or use a gun?
How would limiting magazines to under 10 bullets affect YOUR ability to hunt or protect your family?
How does proposing common-sense gun laws somehow equal “Obama is coming to take our guns?” Furthermore, what legislation has been proposed or passed that makes you think that your guns will be taken from you? Has ANYONE tried to come take your guns?
Any time I ask these simple, direct questions I’m sideswiped with arguments about hammers and knives, and it quickly deteriorates into Benghazi and for some reason, Allen West. (Again, nevermind that NOBODY is talking about banning guns.) My favorite rebuttal (if you can call it that) is that thousands of people die every year in car wrecks. Should we ban driving?
Here’s my answer to the misguided, uninformed masses who think that making it a bit harder for a crazy person to get a gun somehow means that the drones are coming to strip away the 2nd Amendment:
I’m a responsible car owner. I’ve never had a wreck, and I always drive VERY safely. However, I understand that when cars first became popular there were lots of accidents at busy intersections. Lawmakers installed stop signs and traffic lights to reduce the number of car accidents. The first cars did not have much in the way of safety features, which meant that even relatively minor wrecks could be fatal. Car manufacturers answered this by building safer cars and installing seat belts. Lawmakers passed legislation to make seat belts mandatory, and continued to pass laws to improve safety standards in automobiles – features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, etc. Guard rails were added to roads, speed limits helped people maintain safe speeds. None of these laws seemed particularly controversial when they were passed. Nobody claimed that airbags took away their right to wreck and fly through the windshield – The whole thing was non partisan, and non political. Nobody thought the government was going to take away their cars.
And yes, people still die in car accidents but guess what? The number of deaths from car accidents continues to go down every year.
–Sean Kemmerer is a freelance writer, administrator of Politics Without The Crazy Pills, can be followed @Walkofshameband and is more popular than both Congress AND root canals according to a new PPP poll.