Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guns and More Guns

Ever since I saw this sign in my Health Club I’ve been thinking about guns.
Tobacco Free Facility
No Concealed Weapons
 I asked the man at the desk that day how many people brought weapons into the Sports Club. He looked at me as if I were crazy.  I started to ask the Usher at the door of my church how many weapons he had seen that morning—but I didn’t want another strange stare. We’re told that we can take guns to political rallies, to malls and just about every other place.

But when I read about the killing of 12 people in a theatre in Aurora, Colorado I wondered just how far we are going to go with this gun love. When James Holmes went on that murderous spree in Colorado not only did he leave 12 dead but also 70 others wounded. We have learned that he had collected an arsenal that included a semiautomatic assault rifle and 6,000 rounds of ammunition. Do you feel like that we are little crazy when we talk about guns?

 I know that the N.R.A. is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington. I know they have muzzled just about every politician in Washington. and I also know that TV ads with candidates standing there with their guns have cropped up in many places.

Of course we have the right to bear arms. A law written just after the British were hammering away at our doors. I don’t want hunters or people in rural areas denied of their guns. David Brooks has said that there is a dividing line on this issue between rural and urban areas. Leaders in many urban areas want more gun control—while those leaders in the country wonder what the concern is all about.

The Assault weapons ban has expired and the Brady Law which required background checks on those seeking to purchase handguns is no more. Who needs a semiautomatic weapon anyway? Who needs a gun clip that can fire 50 to 100 rounds at a time? Aren’t we concerned that anybody can order guns and ammunition over the Internet? Mr. Holmes, the Colorado shooter had spent some $15,000 on guns and ammunition. The killing is not going to stop. But it looks like the N.R.A. would realize they are hurting their own cause when we have background checks for just about everything excvept guns. Kids are  carded to make sure they are 21 before theycan drink. We have regulations on washing machines and dryers and hamburger meat and our automobiles. I have to have insurance before I buy a car or get a mortgage on my house. Why I can't smoke anywhere I want to anymore. Is this America or what?

If we want to know citizens’ opinions of gun control ask the loved ones of those twelve people who were shot in that darkened theatre the other night. We are pretty sure what they would say.  I’m not a hunter. I don’t even own a gun. I have quite a few friends that do—but I sure am glad as Pastor that guns were not allowed in our church business meetings. There were nights when I thought sure war was going to break out.
I have no answers to this problem. I only know we are on the wrong track when an organization like the N.R.A. can control our gun use our lack of background checks and the muzzling of almost every politician around. Seems like the tail is once more wagging the dog.

(You might be interested in a couple of articles that deal with this problem. David Brooks and Gail Collins have had a discussion in a NY Times blog. Time Magazine recently devoted their lead article on: "How the Guns Won." And E.J. Dionne's splendid article, "Rationalizing gutlessness on guns," is thought provoking. )

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