A Good Guy with a Gun…

There are ideas on the left and on the right to end gun violence. The far left would like to see guns totally outlawed. A little less to the left is the idea that we should ban “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines. To the far right there is no compromise to be made, they want more guns in everyone’s hands. A little less to the right is the idea that it is a mental health issue and we need to focus on that.

There is also the argument that we have existing gun laws which are more than enough and just need to be enforced. This line of thinking also involves the idea that those who use guns for violence buy them illegally and new gun laws wouldn’t stop that.

Then, there is my favorite, or rather least favorite argument on the right; A good guy with a gun is the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun. With this post I am going to start there. We have seen time and time again situations where police officers engage these “crazed gunmen” and are themselves killed. I found myself tearing up tonight watching the news report that the most recent bar shooting resulted in Sargent being killed who responded and immediately went in to engage the shooter. Sgt. Ron Helus was a true American hero. He was a year from retirement. He didn’t wait for backup. He arrived on scene, heard shots, and went in to try to stop this tragedy from going any further. There were also 4 off duty officers inside at the time that the shooting began.

Let’s not forget that as of a few years ago EVERY state has concealed carry laws now. I have yet to hear of a heroic story though of some brave concealed carry permit holder stopping one of the over 300 mass shootings this year or any other year for that matter. The truth is, if you are confronted directly by someone with a gun and have a gun yourself, you are very unlikely to be able to draw a concealed weapon and stop them without first being killed. That is simply how it is. What I will be the first to acknowledge though is that you could defend others who are being directly confronted if you have a concealed firearm. So someone explain to me why this argument isn’t holding true. I never thought it was the solution, but at this point I want it to be. The laws have changed to allow it because the right said it was one of the solutions to our gun violence problem, but instead of getting better it’s getting worse.

Mass gunmen are apparently not phased by the idea that there are people armed everywhere in this country. Those who are armed, aren’t stopping gunmen.

Where the right seems to be correct though is there is a lot of mental illness being revealed in many of these instances of mass shootings. The problem is though, that saying someone is crazy after the fact is useless if you aren’t willing to do more to prevent it from happening. Mentally unstable people as well as those with anger management and self-control issues shouldn’t be permitted to own or possess a firearm. A firearm isn’t a television. You shouldn’t be able to go in and buy one just by not having a felony. THAT IS ALL IT TAKES THOUGH. That is easy to get around too if you go to a gun show. I know for a fact that there are individuals in the south who have felonies who go regularly to gun shows to buy their firearms to avoid background checks. I am sure it is true for other parts of the country to. Here is my argument and suggested solutions as unpopular as it all is for the left and right to hear.

I am an objective centrist. I grew up in the Midwest. Most of us growing up there had guns in our everyday lives. They are part of our culture and heritage in this country. I would never advocate for their total outlaw. I even support concealed carry. The idea that just getting rid of guns at this point would stop all the gun violence is naïve. The idea that new laws and restrictions couldn’t help the problem is equally naïve. There needs to be a middle ground and common-sense rules.

For starters lets cover some myths.

  • Criminals buy guns at gun shows
    • NO, criminals get there guns many ways. Many mass shooters have purchased them 100% legally (which proves there is a problem with our gun laws). Gangs buy them off the black market or just steal them. However, there are those who are felons who aren’t supposed to have guns who do use the gun show loophole to buy their guns because they believe they have a right to have one and can’t afford one off the black market.
  • There is no such thing as an assault rifle
    • An assault rifle is any rifle which is designed to kill humans. This needs to be legislated and codified. A rifle for hunting animals doesn’t have a high capacity magazine or the ability to rapidly fire, there is no need.
  • AR-15 is or is not an assault rifle
    • Both sides like to argue this and many other rifles (see definition above). AR stands for Armalite Rifle which comes from the original manufacturers name. Those who say it stands for Assault Rifle are wrong in that respect. HOWEVER, lets be clear on something that the right doesn’t want you to know about this rifle. It was designed for the military, but they had very little success selling to the military. Armalite sold the design to Colt in 1959. In 1963 colt had modified it slightly and got a contract to sell to the US military which became what we know today as the M-16. Colt was having success with the design that they decided to make a semi-automatic version to sell to law enforcement and market it as the AR-15. In the 1970s the patent expired, and other manufacturers started making the same rifle and selling it to anyone. It is an inexpensive semi-auto rifle which is why they are so popular. You can purchase a magazine for an AR-15 with the capacity from 10 rounds up to 100 rounds.
  • A good guy with a gun is the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun
    • I’m from Missouri, SHOW ME. I have never found an example of this happening. The only good guys with guns that stop bad guys that I have found are police. Sadly, sometimes they even lose their lives in this pursuit sometimes.
    • I not only hope this changes, I think with time it will change. I think that with the propagation of concealed carry you will find more and more people coming to the aid of others in shooting situations. But it will be rare that anyone will ever defend themselves with a gun against a gun, there simply isn’t time. Even police officer who are heavily trained and have a gun much more readily available on duty rarely stop a guy who is about to shoot them by firing upon him.
  • Liberals are trying to take your guns away
    • I HAVE NEVER heard of any politician, left or right, who has proposed taking guns away or ending the 2nd Additionally, even most democratic politicians are pro-gun.
  • The second amendment is under attack.
    • If anything, the opposite is true. Gun laws have loosened tremendously in the past 20 years. We now have concealed carry in every state. ALSO, most states have either completely repealed or heavily crippled their gun permit laws. There are places where you can walk in and buy a gun same day in a matter of minutes.
  • Gun Violence is mostly perpetrated by those on the right or the left
    • If you believe this in either way you are a partisan hack who doesn’t think for themselves. While the right is MORE pro-gun on average and left is less pro-gun this isn’t a partisan issue. There are those on both sides who are very pro-gun and those on both sides who are anti-gun. AND those who argue for either side don’t tend to be the ones using the guns for violence. Ideology has nothing to do with killing usually. It is usually a matter of mental problems or hatred. There is plenty of that on both ends of the spectrum.

So, what can we do to fix all this? Here’s what I think:

  • Stop being so stubborn no matter which side you are on. Let’s compromise for the greater good. The opposite side are not villains. Gun rights activist aren’t the ones killing people in these mass shootings, and gun control advocates aren’t trying to take your guns.
  • Stop justifying your position with lies and selfish arguments. Gun shows aren’t where mass murders tend to buy guns, and the fact that you like having what most consider an assault rifle for fun target shooting isn’t a good enough reason to not regulate it when people are being killed at the rate they are by them.
  • Stop making a felony an automatic bar from owning a firearm. Is it fair that a white-collar criminal can no longer own a gun or a kid at 18 who stole a car and has now totally turned his life around 10 years later can’t have one? Let’s be a little more subjective. This is the one place where the right has never pushed, and I don’t know why. The second amendment is a right. While a conviction does have due process and it is constitutional to remove a right on that basis, shouldn’t we consider the type of conviction? Shouldn’t there be a separate process for taking a right away instead of just an automatic bar because of a felony conviction.
  • PROPERLY fund the ATF for investigations, research and enforcement.
  • Create a federal firearms owner card, which could have an endorsement for concealed carry and could be just an indication on a driver’s license. With the following process.
    1. Apply with Law Enforcement (preferably the ATF), paying a fee (REASONABLE FEE $50-$100 every 5 years)
    2. Background check performed
    3. Mental health eval done including temperament and anger management evaluations.
    4. Gun safety course
    5. 5 year re-certification
    6. You only must apply once, after you have the card you can go buy a gun like any other item same day.
  • Create a tiered system for these firearms owners, including a higher level for those who are competition shooters, or dealers, just like the current FFL. This would make it so there is a more thorough background check like a federal security clearance for those who want to own higher capacity magazines and assault weapons and even a tier for fully automatic weapons. The tiered system would also include a level for nationwide concealed carry.
  • Pass laws which require mental health professionals including simple therapists to report patients to the ATF so that these owner cards can be flagged or revoked.
  • Pass laws which require police to be accountable. Require that when a police officer has an encounter with someone where there are accusations of violence that they do a thorough investigation and determine if it needs to be reported to the ATF system for revocation of gun rights temporarily or permanently.
  • Create a gun database so each gun in the USA can be tracked especially when it is involved in a crime. Many people have guns stolen and don’t even know what the serial number was, it often takes days or weeks to track down where a gun was sold and even longer to figure out who it was sold to as there are rules which currently prohibit centralized computer records.
  • Make all this federal law which trumps state law and prohibits states from trying to be stricter or less strict.

Now to dispel the arguments on the right and the left. The left is shorter, so I will cover that first. For those who say this isn’t enough. I couldn’t disagree more. I feel like this would, within 10 years cut gun violence in half, but we don’t know if we don’t try.

For those on the right. I have had people argue that there should never be a gun database because it gives the government the ability to take your guns if they know where they all are. YEAH THAT’S THE POINT. Only if you shouldn’t have one though. You have a constitutional right, they can’t just take your guns away so stop being paranoid.

For those who think this card permit system is a hassle, get over it. If it could save lives and help law enforcement that should be enough. Especially if it gives you the ability to have more rights and even make it easier to buy guns in the long run, if you are a good guy. It shouldn’t be easier to buy a gun than a car.

Also, you aren’t worried the government is going to take your car and we have crazy databases on those.

For those who would like to read some interpretation on the second amendment itself that is coming quite soon and I will link to that here when it is finished.

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