Why shouldn’t we talk about gun control?

Boston, MA

Boston, MA (Photo credit: JasonParis)

For years now, every time there’s a tragedy involving guns we have to listen to the gun activists talk about how the government is out to take away everyone’s guns.  The second amendment and all of that.  And the NRA (one of the most powerful lobbies in our country, by the way) owns so many politicians that they won’t even discuss what we might be able to do, as a country, to end this senseless violence.

I’m not suggesting that anyone should come and round up all of the guns that Americans own.  Very few people are suggesting that.  That is the fear mongering that the NRA (and the ultra right-wing conservative talk show hosts) spread throughout the country.  As long as they have people talking about that, then they don’t have to be concerned that there might actually be a discussion about what we can do to keep assault weapons out of the hands of people who will use them to kill others (and really, isn’t that what they were designed to do?  No matter how you look at it, that is the purpose of assault weapons.).

Why can’t it be more difficult for mentally ill people to obtain assault weapons?  Why, in this country, should it be more difficult to vote than it is to obtain an assault weapon?  Why is a more thorough check run on people wanting to purchase cold medication than on people wanting to buy a gun?  And why can’t we have this discussion?  Why does asking these questions automatically brand a person as a communist, nazi, bleeding heart, or (gasp) a liberal?  Are you saying that the second amendment trumps the first amendment?  I don’t think asking these questions makes me less of a patriot than the person who owns numerous weapons and thinks there should be no gun control at all.  I don’t think asking these questions makes me un-American.  I don’t think asking these questions makes me a danger to the citizens of our country or to the very survival of our country.

What I do think is that we need to find a way to reduce the violence that has become so prevalent in our society.  I do believe we need to teach our children acceptance and tolerance of those who are different, whether that difference be race, religion, political affiliation, sexual preference, whatever.  If we can teach our children that violence isn’t the answer, that it is not a solution, we’ll go a long way toward eliminating that violence.  Why can’t we discuss what it will take to accomplish this?  I think most of us want what’s best for our country.  We just don’t all agree on what that is.  But can’t we begin the process of reaching an agreement, of healing the wounds, of becoming one country again?  We’re all Americans, isn’t it time we act like it?