Guns should be holy. I mean that in the sense of awe for their power and deep respect for the responsibility one confers. Our country’s reactive acceptance of the place of guns in our society is far too casual. One segment of society’s interpretation of the right to bear arms has become too dogmatically overreaching and divorced from the awesome responsibility associated with guns within it.
My brother and I were given .22 rifles by our Marine Corps Dad when we were a certain age for the pre-hunting activities of target and varmint shooting. A sense of respectful awe and responsibility was imparted in the process along with knowledge of expectations and consequences. The owning, handling, using, safeguarding, and caring of your gun was very serious business.
Our society now has broken that preceding tradition and as a whole has embarked on ‘giving’ guns through its loose markets and casual attitudes to very many without any sense of responsibility. Such things as gun safety training, responsible handling, and a sense of proportion are essentially optional for the gun owner. We are negligent in conferring responsibility in ownership due in part to a well funded National Rifle Association über-libertarian approach to guns that distorts reality and masquerades as being responsible when far from being so.
The Second amendment is the touchstone on guns. We need to realize its roots are in a different time and essentially different country where women could not vote and holding slaves was legal. It was at a time when weapons did not exist that allowed mass murder by a single individual in a matter of minutes. We have to determine what the right to bear arms means in the 21st century without imposing 18th century absolutism irrelevancies on today.
The right to bear arms surely ought not to confer the right to sell arms without any reasonable restriction by private sellers in the back of magazines and online.
The right to bear arms ought not to give traveling gun shows the right to sell arms.
The right to bear arms ought not to be extended to assault weapons that can murder many in mere moments.
The right to bear arms ought not to be understood to be a loophole that allows the migration of millions of untraceable handguns into inner cities.
The right to bear arms ought not to act as prop for gun manufacturers to escalate the killing power of weaponry.
The right to bear arms ought not to confer an automatic right to purchase large quantities of ammunition including some designed to penetrate police protective armor.
The right to bear arms ought not to imply an option of collecting vast amounts of weapons to in a twisted notion act as a check on our government.
Gun control alone will not end the violence in our society but it is time to acknowledge that it is a very substantial piece of the solution along with adequate mental health availability, a cultural turn away from violence as entertainment, and many other collaborating steps. It is sobering and grievous to realize that even with an all out concerted effort it will probably take a full generation or more of not only control but also the removal of some quantity of existing weapons now in the wrong hands or in unwarranted collections before gun violence and its horrible marks on our society begins to subside.
Gun regulation is needed now to return a sense of awe, responsibility, and even reverence for guns that reshapes us into a safer more secure society. We can have both constitutional protection and sound policy when it comes to guns. For the sake of our future and that of our children we must make guns holy again.