Politicians say a shooting is not the time to bring up gun control. Well, there hasn’t been a shooting recently in the United States—at least none that has had the country taking up arms against for or against gun control. So, I guess now is a good time as any to talk about it.
I am not a U.S. citizen. I’m just someone here for higher education. I don’t know what it’s like to grow up here, but I used to wish that I could. But I did grow up watching American TV shows, movies and reading mainly American novels, so much so that that my first language is essentially English. I know more about the U.S. than I do about my own country. That’s how I knew that Americans loved guns, even before the debates of gun control in the aftermath of tragic mass shootings that made world news in recent years.
When movies in India show guns, they’re merely a tool that people use to get the job done. They aren’t even shown that much attention. But that’s not the case in American movies. Whenever guns are shown, the guns themselves kind of become a character in the story. The guns are in a variety of models, a whole smorgasbord of them; some have attachments which rival even the gun. Some characters even go so far as to name their guns as if they’re a real person. The guns are often kept in their own room or elaborately hidden, such that when they’re revealed, they are shown all shiny and tempting. Any movie where the central characters are training to be, or were, spies, undercover agents, assassins, (e.g. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the Transporter series, G.I Joe, Men in Black) uses the same tropes. And no Western is complete without at least one mass shootout.
I admit that as a kid I used to love that, and I used to dream of one day getting to shoot guns. And so I understand that kids growing up watching these kinds of films think of buying guns when they get older and wanting to shoot them. But one thing that nobody realizes, or wants to realize, is that everything that is shown on the silver screens or TV is that shooting guns is not as gung-ho as they show it to be. Improper use can cause it to go off accidentally and can have dire consequences for anyone who might be at the wrong end of the barrel.
Now I know that most gun owners are conscious of the dangers of having a gun in the house and are well-trained on proper handling and storage of guns. The problem lies in the fact that guns often find their way into the hands of those who are not properly trained, not mentally sound, and pose a threat to themselves and others. When such people get guns and think that they are doing some kind of a service, proving a point, or punishing people, they go on mass shootings and murder sprees, and the weapons of choice in almost every case are automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
Right after a mass shooting, there are always calls to and by politicians on a ban on guns, but nothing happens. The National Rifle Association is said to have a hand in the failure of gun control laws not being passed by Congress. But I am not talking about the politics of gun control, so I will stay well clear of that. I want to appeal to the humanity and rationality of people in the hopes that people might change their views.
I know a lot of people say that they need guns for protection. Sure, I have no problem with that. I am all for people wanting to feel safe. Buy a handgun, such as a revolver or a pistol, of a small caliber to carry around with you. For your home, get a larger-caliber pistol, or if that isn’t enough, get a shotgun. I’m pretty sure any of these will act as a deterrent to anyone who tries to hurt you. At least you’ll get ample time and opportunity to run away and get help or keep the perpetrators at bay while you call for the police. If you get attacked by a large group of people really trying to harm you, it might be time to re-evaluate your life decisions once you get away safely.
Another reason people give for owning guns is hunting. Hunting for survival is something I understand, but who in developed countries needs to hunt for survival? Maybe people who choose to live in nature to get away from the stresses of modern life. But then again, those people tend to be respectful of the animals they coexist with. So, I suppose they need guns for self-protection if nothing else. But how about hunting for sport? Now, that’s just dumb, not to mention the barbaric nature of it. I don’t get what’s there to be proud of hiding in the bush, shooting an animal from yards away and then standing over the carcass as if you killed it in a battle to the death. It is not only disrupting wildlife, but also has led to the extinction of a few species as well. It has also led to the deaths of other people caught in the crossfire and other accidents while hunting. All in all, a pointless endeavor, I would say.
But the fact in both these cases is that there is no need for semi-automatic or automatic weapons. If these are the reasons people give for keeping guns, I don’t see why members of the general public need to own semi-automatic or automatic guns. If someone wants to own those kinds of guns, I would ask of them to think about what kind of destruction and terror they could bring in the hand of the wrong people. I know that giving up something that you like for the sake of others is difficult for people to understand, but I am sure that is a sentiment that all parents can understand, no matter what part of the political spectrum you lie on. So, for all the parents who say that these kinds of guns should not be banned, consider the fact that one of your children might get killed at the hands of a deranged individual in possession of these guns. As parents, there is not anything you would not do to protect your child. Between giving up semi-automatic and automatic guns and the life of your children, what will you choose?
After the aforementioned two reasons for owning guns, the most prominent reason that people give for owning guns is the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Hmm. It says, “being necessary to security of a free State.” Now, since this was written in 1791, more than 200 years ago, it makes sense to have it as a right in that time. The U.S. had just a few years before gained independence from Great Britain. They just wanted to make sure that America stayed free if the British or any other country tried to conquer the fledgling independent country. Also, it allowed people of one state to protect themselves in the case a neighboring state decided to attack. That is fine for then but is there a need for a militia now, in modern times?
States do not have military forces and even if a state managed to unify all its law enforcement officers into an army and start a battle—which is highly improbable—the army would step in to rectify the situation. There would be no need for a people’s militia to handle it. If another worry is whether the federal government will one day mobilize the military and turn the country into a dictatorship—again, highly improbable—there is no way that the whole military as well as the law enforcement agencies of all the states would sit idly by and let it happen—unless they have all been overtaken by aliens, in which case nothing can be done. And if they still require help, I am sure they will be more than willing to arm citizens if the situation called for it. Not to mention there being the U.N. and the world’s friendliest neighbor, Canada, ready to lend a helping hand or two. Wouldn’t you, Canada, eh?
All jokes aside, is there a logical reason why that right is still relevant today? Sure, in 2008, with the landmark decision of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Second Amendment meant to also include an individual’s right to bear arms. But as I said before, there is no need for semi-automatic and automatic weapons for self-protection, unless you’re in the mafia, in which case this article doesn’t apply to you. I call for a ban on only weapons that are capable of mass murders, which I think is pretty reasonable. Don’t you? Also, this right was added to the Bill of Rights by delegates who couldn’t have possibly imagined that technology would progress so far to the point as to where men hold such weapons of mass destruction in their hands. I am pretty sure that if they were live today, they would consider rephrasing the amendment.
After all that, people might still say that I do not have the right to comment on the matter since I am not a U.S. citizen. That is true; I am not. But I am human. I hate to see people being killed unnecessarily before their time due to the existence of obsolete laws and beliefs. I know that the U.S. can be beacon to the world as to how a country should act, as American culture permeates every part of the world. I would rather have people look up to the U.S. than scoff at it due to vacuous things such as gun control and racism. I also hope to be a citizen of this country someday. And I wish to be a citizen of a country that places love above hate, selflessness above selfishness, and rationality above blind faith.