On Gun Control

I just spent a great weekend with my children and family doing the things we love to do on summer days and evenings - bike rides, park visits, swimming into the night, and even baking, a not so frequent occurrence for me. However, my heart is heavy, as I've been thinking about the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting non-stop, trying to wrap my head around this real-life massacre that took place. I've read some great posts on this tragedy that got me thinking.

Anyone who knows me will know that I've always been against guns, since I believe their only purpose is to kill.

When I was in college (after graduating university, and moving to D.C. for an internship with CBS) I did a 10 minute documentary on gun control for my broadcast journalism assignment. I went to a shooting range to get some video, and held a gun for the first time. It was heavy. It was loaded. I aimed, and shot my target man in the chest. I was pretty sure I'd never want to hold a gun again. Ever.

Next stop? A gun show in Maryland. There were tables of guns, bullets, books on making bombs, and other paraphernalia. There were hundreds of people holding guns, buying bullets, and having a good time. I saw some scary looking people that day and I wondered what all that was for. Hunting? Really? A hobby? Really? 

In 2000, I interviewed a man who worked for The Brady Centre to Prevent Gun Violence in D.C. He was well educated on the subject of gun violence, and the numbers he shared with me about innocent people dying because of gun violence were staggering and upsetting.

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people." And yet... a man who purchased 6,000 bullets online killed a dozen people with his fully loaded gun. A baby. A six year old. Someone's daughter. A sports journalist. Someone's son. Someone's friend. And on. And on. And on. Pretty sure if the shooter walked into the theatre holding a a Pez dispenser and not a gun, no one would have died.

It it without question that we needs to do something about gun control. Without question. From the Beltway sniper attacks, to Columbine, to the Eaton Centre shootings, something has to be done, now. Sadly, we will never rid society of evil, no matter how great our gun control laws are, because guns will always find a way into the hands of evil people, illegally. But at least let's try, okay? Because controlling access to guns is a step in the right direction. We need to be more responsible. No one should be allowed to buy 6,000 bullets online. Period.

I stumbled upon Jason Alexander's brilliant post yesterday about the movie theatre massacre and gun control. I've re-read his words a dozen times, and I can't stop nodding in agreement.

"We will not prevent every tragedy. We cannot stop every maniac. But we certainly have done ourselves no good by allowing these particular weapons to be acquired freely by just about anyone.

I'll say it plainly - if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them. And if they are willing to force others to "pry it from my cold, dead hand", then they are probably planning on using them on people."

I could not have said it better myself.

I hope we can do more to prevent other horrific tragedies like this from happening again. We owe it to the victims, at least.
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Jen said...

I've been pondering my own views on this very seriously this week, and honestly I'm not sure I have a clear answer on where I stand. I will say thought that this line:

I'll say it plainly - if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them. And if they are willing to force others to "pry it from my cold, dead hand", then they are probably planning on using them on people."

bothers me a little. My husband does have a large gun collection. He would like to someday own an automatic rifle. He would NEVER use it on a person out of malice or for sport. There are completely responsible, reasonable people out there who enjoy guns, hunting, target shooting, and all of those things.

That said, I do feel like there have to be some changes made. I just fear that in our haste to "fix the problem" we're overlooking the fact that he, and many others like him, are out there and they don't deserve to be punished.

(Please note: I am not attacking anyone who thinks differently and feels all guns should be banned. I don't consider myself either pro- or anti-gun)

Loukia said...

Totally hear what you are saying, Jen. And if only all people who owned guns were like your husband... the world would be a safer place!

AlwaysARedhead said...

There is gun control and there is gun control. When I was a kid, my father had five or six shotguns because he went hunting and we always ate whatever he killed,(I myself, took a course on handling guns so I could write the test for my hunting licence). The guns were locked up and we knew not to go near them and we didn't. I have no problem with hunting and gun ownership for hunting but I do have a problem with automatic assault weapons. There is no reason to have that type of weapon even for target shooting, it's overkill.

Angella said...

You know that my husband hunts, but he does it with a hunting rifle. We've been talking about gun control these past few days, and he agrees with me. There is NO REASON that a hunter (or any civilian) needs a semi-automatic weapon. A hunting rifle is all that is needed.

(His rifle is locked in a case out in his workshop, too, not even in our house.)

Avitable said...

I don't think 6,000 bullets is really the amount people are making it out to be. In target practice, someone could probably go through 500 bullets, easily, so buying a lot at once seems reasonable.

I think that if someone wants to kill other people, he can use means that have nothing to do with guns and still accomplish it. I do worry that more gun control only ends up putting more guns in the hands of the criminal element instead of legitimate citizens.

Dani said...

I have been a long time reader, I don't comment but felt I needed to on this issue. Your comment;. "Anyone who knows me will know that I've always been against guns, since I believe their only purpose is to kill".... That is NOT their only purpose! My husband has his concealed weapons permit and holds this right to the highest regard. Had one CWP civilian been in that theatre I am sure the outcome would be deifferent. 5 days prior, in Florida, a man saved lives in a coffee cafe when 2 gun weilding robbers came in. HE HAD HIS LEGAL CARRY PERMIT! There are many, many, more similiar stories just like that. Our son is 12 and has been taught and shoots guns with his father and through a youth military program he is involved in. He has dreams to go to Annapolis and has a cousiin who just received a full scholarship for target shooting to West Point. So blanket statments such as yours are that guns are only for killing is not true. It is a sport, they do save lives when in the hands of resposnbile people. The crazy, evil people are not going away and they certainly are not reading the no guns allowed signs! I also found it humerous the ad on top of your blog today is for tshirts supporting the2nd Amendment.

Loukia said...

Dani, although I'm anti-guns, I understand people like your husband use guns safely and with respect. As for the ad on blog, I'll look into that. Thanks for reading and for your comemnt.

Suzanne McKay said...

This is a tough subject. I don't know a single fellow Canadian who owns a gun or has any interest in owning a gun. I truly believe that "responsible gun owners" are far and few between. Even ones with permits make mistakes, as the case with the 3 year old who picked up a loaded handgun and shot his own father dead a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure this father had a permit and I'm sure he considered himself "responsible", yet accidents happen and guns kill.

Kristin Donahue said...

Thanks for your thoughtful post. This is a difficult topic. Like you, I'm anti-gun. And yes, there are always ways to kill people like another commenter said, but guns make it significantly easier and able to do it from a distance.

Hearing that others have guns does make me feel vulnerable--not that we're considering owning them ourselves--but it is unnerving knowing how easy it is for people to purchase guns.

It seems that laws are generally made for the lowest link on the chain. So, though there are people who own guns that are educated and intelligent, and not going to massacre people or use them against other human beings, sadly, there are the others.

What is most disturbing is that even if the US would be to outlaw guns (which wouldn't happen anyway). People would just purchase them in Mexico.


Marta said...

I really hate talking politics. I'm not good at it. I know how I feel, but I have a hard time articulating it beyond what seems like instinct. I agree with you, I can't see a reason why one would need a gun other than to shoot someone. I understand defense, but not if the person you are defending yourself from couldn't get a gun either.

It's an absolute tragedy what happened. I watched the midnight premiere of the movie myself. When I heard about it in the morning all I could think was as I was sitting in a movie theater just like them watching the same scenes they were being murdered.

Beth said...

If there had been someone (or several someones) in the theater who had a concealed carry permit, they could have shot him easily. Personally, I wish we would put more emphasis on proper gun training and encouraging people (especially women) to use guns for their own safety and for their own protection. There will always be villains, criminals, bad guys, but if you're armed and you know how to appropriately use your weapon, you can protect your family and yourself from a mugging, robbery, home invasion, or attack.