“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” – The National Rifle Association
There is a school of thought that believes in the obvious link between the actions of human beings and the havoc wreaked by firearms, where the mere presence of the firearm does not infer culpability on the instrument itself. Specifically, they believe that without human interaction, the very presence of guns does not in and of itself spell danger. The sentiment reveals that such individuals do not place value on the number, category, or accessibility of said instruments in our communities and supposed safe spaces. The onus being completely on human behavior and choice, the argument ignores the finer points of how the presence of guns contributes to the fraying of our social fabric in deference to the second amendment right bestowed on American citizens 200+ years ago at a far different time, in a far different context. In honor of this thought process, I have some thoughts of my own, but a bit of a disclaimer first: I am not a leftist, nor am I far right. I do, however, believe in the common good, but most of all I believe in common sense. That said, I agree with this sentiment, and shall apply its logic as follows….
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,
Alcohol doesn’t kill people, people drinking alcohol kills people
Footballs don’t kill people, people playing football kills people
Cigarettes don’t kill people, people smoking cigarettes kills people
Cars don’t kill people, people driving cars kills people
Opioids don’t kill people, people taking opioids kills people
Credit cards don’t kill people, suicide resulting from debt kills people
Sex doesn’t kill people, people having sex while exposed kills people
Methamphetamines don’t kill people, people taking methamphetamines kill people
Work doesn’t kill people, work overload without rest kills people
The question becomes, why have laws at all when you know the root cause of societal issues? As you can see, the common denominator here is people. Why not just outlaw people? Ridiculous you say? I agree. And this is why regulations, laws, rules, and ordinances exist. The presence of such restrictions does not mean the death of freedom, but the preservation of life. Moreover, there are many activities that citizens participate in that while conferring great enjoyment to the masses, have the ability to create destruction in both personal and professional lives. In recognition of this danger, governments, local and federal, have created boundaries to protect people from themselves. The freedom to harm oneself and have someone attempt to save you from your failure to self-moderate is the highest form of freedom. Even Christ, with a clear love for the freedom of man (Ref: Galatians 5:13), gave us rules.
I understand that this is a massive paradigm shift for many because to see regulation as freedom, one has to trust the giver of said freedom. Too many of our citizens do not trust, no— outright despise our government. Americans are like abused children that have been placed in foster care one too many times – while the government believes that the best interest of the child is to reside with the parent, is that necessarily true when the parent cannot provide a safe space? Americans don’t trust the government to look out for the best interest of its citizens and that is why gun control is resisted, even when and if it is for the common good. Would you willingly go back to a parent that professes to care for you, but when given recurrent chances has shown the inability to do so at every turn? Surely Americans are not in such survival mode that seeing 20+ elementary school babies and 50+ joyful revelers gunned down fails to infuriate the average citizen.
Gun control, within reason, is the freedom to go to school without worrying about being murdered in your classroom. Gun control, within reason, is the freedom to go to church without worrying if this prayer on earth will be your last. Gun control, within reason, is the freedom to go to work without worrying that you will not return home. Gun control, within reason, is the freedom to go to Vegas and leave whatever happens in Vegas to stay in Vegas. Yes, gun control, within reason, is freedom, but the patience of Americans with government has worn thin and that is a self-inflicted wound that will need time to heal. I am not sure that we have that kind of time.