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America, it's time to point the guns at yourself (wait... what?)

Note: I originally wrote this article earlier in the year and then didn't publish it as I felt the outrage over the mass shooting that inspired it had subsided and the article no longer was topical. However, looking at this list of mass shootings during 2015 in the USA  I can't actually recall which one inspired this article (it may have been the Charleston Church Shooting in June 2015).  However, looking at the list I noticed you only need wait about a week or so for the next mass shooting in the USA.

Unless of course you follow the FBI's guidelines for classifying mass shootings, in which case data provided by Mother Jones: A Guide to Mass Shooting in America is far more pleasing to the eye with only four mass shootings in 2015.



Either way, people rampaging with guns is always topical in America. It happens so often they only seem to report the ones with unusually high casualties or particularly unusual locations. Anyhow... on to my article...

The coup has flown when it comes to gun control laws in the USA. Gun owners, who support tighter gun controls, probably would turn on a dime if the new criteria suggested in any way shape or form that they're no longer suitable candidates for gun ownership and should hand in their guns.

Gun owners who don't support tighter controls, and believe current laws are just fine, or in some cases lobby for even more gun ownership, usually have an answer for every argument supporting tighter gun control laws. Whether their answer is right or wrong is moot. Their political power appears to be just too strong against any kind of further restriction on gun ownership.

Regardless, no matter how much you try to legislate for tighter controls on legally owned guns, there's always someone who points out that a considerable amount of gun crime occurs using stolen guns. Usually this will be pointed out by a pro gun activist who rarely mentions that a large percentage of those guns are stolen from legal gun owners during home burglaries. (Secure your guns people).

The argument is that Americans need their guns for self defense (once you get beyond the people who own guns for legitimate reasons such as their job requires it or they're an active participant in a sports shooting association for example). The idea that somehow carrying, or at least owning, a gun makes you feel safer and somehow lessens the chance of being attacked. The more people who own guns the more likely it is a criminal will encounter someone with a gun - hence it's not worth the risk trying in the first place. Yet they do. Here are some examples that demonstrate gun ownership can reduce deaths provided citizen public is pro-active.

Personally, I don't feel any safer knowing people have guns and I wouldn't feel more safer owning one myself. People who walk into a school randomly shooting are expecting to die, or at least haven't thought much about that as an outcome. Time and again people don't see this type of crime coming. Even if you carry a gun how pro-active do you think you'd be against someone that's shooting anyone in their line of sight?

A sniper shooting randomly is going to be very hard to take down by Joe or Jane Public. It's fortunate that sniper shootings are less of an occurrence because that would be my choice of random killing spree (wait... what? no, think about it... if you just want to see the world burn why make yourself an easy target? Stick around to enjoy the outrage and pain you're causing.).

In my opinion, the only self defense you need to know is how to keep a cool head along with strategies to disarm someone with a gun if you're in immediate danger and, strategies to get you and others to safety if the threat isn't immediate. Leave any actual shooting to law enforcement - it's much less complicated if they deal with whether opening fire was justified.

Gun ownership in America seems less about protecting people from terrorism than it is about protecting yourselves from each other. Terrorists tend to prefer bomb attacks over mass shootings anyway. No amount of gun ownership can protect you from a well concealed bomb. Note, if you're a terrorist using guns openly in the USA, you're doing it wrong.

Americans are more likely to become victims of domestic crime than they are a terrorist attack. That's what people feel they need to defend themselves against. Americans are already pointing guns at each other and, if you haven't and you own a gun for self defense, you're at least thinking you may have to some day.

Perhaps it's time to point the gun at yourselves gun owners? Well not literally. Regardless of the arguments for or against guns one fact is indisputable: There is a death toll from gun related crimes that is causing a real concern in many communities. Just like any other type of crime that toll needs to be reduced rather than just accepted as the norm. Who better to tackle it than responsible gun owners?

It's not enough to say you already have gun control laws, gun safety and education programs. Or even that there are gun education and safety programs for kids. All of that only targets people who have every intention of being responsible gun owners. What are you doing to reduce the number of illegal guns and illegal gun owners? What are you doing to prevent emotionally unstable people from using their legally obtained guns to lash out at the world?

I really think the onus is on gun owners to practically demonstrate that an armed country is a safer country - because that's their logic.

My question is, if a gun owner is in a situation where they could've saved lives by using their gun and they don't... can I hold them accountable for not taking action?

That's right. If you're carrying a gun and you don't take a pro-active stance to save lives in a hostile situation can I sue you? Can I hold you accountable since you've embraced gun ownership as a way to make the country safer? Or is your argument just lip service?

Or worse yet, if you do take a pro-active stance and actually put lives at risk because you didn't disarm the hostile person but instead provoked them into firing shots, can I sue you for putting lives in danger?

At this point I feel like I'm just musing possibilities. The list of What if it all goes wrong is always longer than the one where it all turns out okay.

My point is, if you want to own guns without the backlash then you need to be doing much more than just teaching people how to handle and fire a weapon safely. You need to get actively involved in reducing gun crime or at the very least supporting organisation who are.

It's not good enough to point to your right to own a gun and say that makes the country a safer place because 36 years ago I don't like Mondays happened. I'm pretty sure there are more gun owners now than there was then and mass shootings still happen quite frequently depending upon whose stats you believe.


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