My heart goes out to those victims of the recent Las Vegas shooting, as well as their friends and family. I’ve said a couple prayers when it has occurred to me to do so. Now normally I may hint at this or that as far as politics go, and in person I can often get frustrated with many things that happen in our government, but I want to try to address at least one of the things that has personally bothered me deeply.
First off, no disrespect, I am always willing to have a conversation about philosophy and government, I don’t hate people with dissenting views, if anything, I encourage these discussions to be civil and plentiful. This is how a democracy works, with open minds and willing compromise, learning, and engagement.
Okay, so following that bit about the shooting, until this tragedy occurred I had not known President Trump kind of quietly signed legislation that removed a policy President Obama had made close to the end of last year. This law was making an effort to database people that are mentally ill to make it more difficult for them to buy guns. Notably gun advocacy groups and lobbyists such as the NRA are promoting their interests and philosophy and believe that mentally ill people have the right to buy guns just as much as the next guy. Why? Why would you even want to consider that? Granted “mentally ill” is a broad term, but it isn’t as if anybody seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, or some other doctor for treatment cannot own a gun.
Here’s the thing. I have legitimately met a person who refused to seek help for his mental illness because he was concerned about how it would impact his ability to own guns and conceal carry. This should not be the culture at all. I have mental health issues and I would want to be prohibited from buying guns. If I bought one in a manic state and suddenly dropped to one of my suicidal depressive states, I might not have been taking just me when I pulled that trigger. Now I’m healthy enough to be honest with myself and others. There have been many points in my life, particularly when being bullied and treated like shit, that I fantasized about the sort of things I could do with guns to other people. And that isn’t okay, the fact that an administration is willing to let us (people like me or some other significant mental health issue) legally buy these guns is awful.
I also have despised the rhetoric that both parties claim the other side is doing, but when you are rolling back legislation like that, it’s kind of hard to justify in my opinion and when your view is that it’s better to have bullets flying in both directions in the event of a mass shooting, it’s hard for me to respect your ideas, because at that point it seems more shady, something along the lines of quid pro quo more than actual interest in public safety.
One of the arguments I have heard from people when discussing gun control is that if a person can’t get it legally, then they can get it illegally, we might as well let the citizens within the law stand a chance against the ones outside of it. This also is strange rhetoric, I would not have the connections available to me to really buy a gun on impulse illegally, but it if it is as easy as walking the 2 blocks to that nearby gun store, that’s a different story whether someone wants to admit that or not. I’m not saying guns are bad, I’m saying stupid people and mentally ill people with guns have the potential to be bad and I think we need to develop a culture that addresses these things better. I wish laws could fix these things and they don’t always do that or it takes a while to see the effects, but if you are removing sensible legislation like this, how do you defend that?
If the rhetoric is allow these militarized guns to be owned and fired by private citizens in order to protect their homes. Where do we stop loosening gun control? Where do we stop justifying actions by saying it would be worse if people could only do certain actions illegally so make them legal. Granted this is a unique example because many justify that their homes are safer if they can access guns, this same logic doesn’t apply to illegal drug trade or something similar. Should people be able to get guns faster and easier? Maybe they don’t need to be registered right away, just in case they don’t like it and want to return it. Maybe they don’t need an in depth registration at all. Let’s just have serial numbers and someone’s address, if it’s used illegally they will dispose of the gun anyway, so why waste the time? See these arguments don’t really hold water. And that’s my point.
Maybe some homes are safer with guns in them, maybe some people just feel safer in their homes with guns in them. But me? I would be liability. Just a bad day away from death, and maybe not even just mine. But I guess I should be entitled to that right? I mean I could kill myself other ways, why not let me do it with a gun so I can have my second amendment rights. Anyway, long winded I know, but there is no justifiable reason to roll back such efforts to limit the access of weapons from the mentally ill. And this isn’t about me being a democrat, there’s been plenty of smart gun legislation brought forward from Republicans too, including our last Republican President, President Bush. I just think we need to legitimately pause and consider the actions and motivations of moves like this and this one hits very close to home for me.