Be Fucking Responsible Then: Why “Average” Gun Owners Should Rightfully Be at the Forefront of the Fight for Tighter Gun Control

It has been a long time since I’ve blogged, and the only thing I can chalk that up to is fatigue.

I am tired of Trump, and I am tired of rape apologetics, and I am tired of whiny “Great Again” Americans and their stupid attempts to prevent time from progressing and change from happening.

I am tired of police shootings and school shootings. I am tired of all these blatant political displays of racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. I am tired of all of the circular discussions about how to fix our society that don’t fully acknowledge how it is broken.

This weekend, I watched on MSNBC and CNN as a hundreds of thousands of angry, hopeful Gen Zs marched on Washington, DC in an attempt to get legislators to tighten up gun control and ultimately care more about the lives of American children than the dollars in their campaign coffers.

And I saw Trump and his Congress do and say nothing in response to these kids’ impassioned cries for safety, even though the consistent GOP party line has been that they uphold the rule of law, and the highest law of the land claims as its purposes the formation of a more perfect union, insurance of domestic tranquility, provision for the common defense, promotion of the general welfare, and security of the blessings of liberty for posterity, and keeping the youth of America safe from gun violence aligns with every single one of these purposes.

The refrain of Republicans in power that want to wiggle out of having to make changes to gun laws is that the majority of American gun owners are “responsible” and do not “deserve” to have their legally obtained firearms taken from them because a few “mentally ill” outliers are abusing their constitutional rights.

Now, never mind the hypocrisy of this rhetoric. Never mind that within months of entering Office Trump issued an executive order aimed at banning potential terrorists from entering the country when there have been 12 foreign terrorist attacks in the US since the 1970s, and there have been roughly 200 school shootings in the US since April 20, 1999 – acts of domestic terrorism – and he balks at taking swift action to stop them.

A year-and-a-half into Trump’s administration, we know what it is. We know that Trump is a racist, misogynist homophobe, Islamophobe, and xenophobe – a ventriloquist’s dummy propagating the GOP’s most disgusting and divisive beliefs – a stooge doing its executive dirty work.

He won’t fix gun violence because it isn’t in his own interest to fix gun violence. Ivanka isn’t a high school cheerleader that could get gunned down in the gym while practicing her back flips, so he could not fucking care less.

Trump pretends to care about terrorism, but since he and many of his counterparts in Congress and the media insist on misreading the Patriot Act’s definition of domestic terrorism – which says a domestic terrorist can attempt to influence policy, affect the conduct of the government, or intimidate a civilian population – meaning he doesn’t have to aim his actions at the government to be considered terrorist – it’s difficult to take him seriously when he says he wants to protect the US from mass violence, too.

Trump seems much more interested in ensuring that no single white male mass shooter will be charged with or convicted of terrorism, and Americans continue to stereotype terrorists as Muslim extremists.

That is Trump in a bullet shell. And Congress is no better. The GOP has a super majority and appears to care more about remaining in power than governing the country effectively.

Its members won’t risk lowering their NRA candidate ratings or alienating their so-called core voters by making laws that actually control the mechanics and machinations of gun sale and ownership.

Yet, a sizable number of their core voters claim to be nothing more than “average” gun owners – people claiming to own their guns for home security or hunting or the simple pleasure of collecting. They claim to only want the freedom to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Nothing more but definitely nothing less.

The problem with this lies in the language of the amendment, which says. ” . . . the right of the people to keep and bear Arms . . . shall not be infringed.”

To infringe on something simply means to limit it. This is a vague term in a vague law.

Hence, it is the hinge for the arguments “average” gun owners make against gun control. The law says their ability to buy and own guns should not be limited, so the only restrictions they should face are zoning laws, in their estimation.

According to the Constitution, they say, they should be able to buy whatever type of guns they want, no matter their mental state or criminal background. And they should be able to keep those guns in their homes and on their persons if they like.

And if they do these things without purposefully killing anyone in the process, they say, they are “responsible,” and they should not be vilified for their love of guns and the Second Amendment.

Gun Owners for Responsible Gun Ownership even have this statement on the home page of their web site:

We are gun owners, sportsmen, veterans, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons who seek reasonable and responsible solutions to preventing gun violence.

We envision an America where all are safe from gun violence, and where responsible gun owners take the lead to promote safe gun ownership and sensible laws and regulations.

They say plainly that they “believe [their] Second Amendment rights come with responsibilities.”

“We believe in . . . universal background checks to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people,” they also say.

And journalist Gracy Olmstead, in an article on The Week website, says we that want stricter gun control should believe these “responsible” gun owners and their purported good intentions.

“It would be easy and perhaps even natural to assume most gun owners are dangerously hubristic or indifferent to human life,” she writes. “But nothing could be further from the truth.”

Olmstead argues that “whereas guns conjure up thoughts of ‘danger, alienation, and the threat of death’ to some, other communities see ‘safety, discipline, and trust.'”

This is an eloquent rendition of the Republican party-line: Law-abiding Americans shouldn’t be punished for the sins of the maniac mass shooters.

Yet, these law-abiding gun owners call themselves “responsible.” Well, that word has a proper definition, too.

A responsibility is an obligation that comes with one’s role.

So as citizens of this country – as “veterans, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons” – gun owners have a responsibility to do exactly what it says on the Gun Owners for Responsible Gun Ownership website – seek solutions to preventing gun violence.

Olmstead, who was raised in rural Idaho with guns, and would probably fit neatly into the category of responsible gun owner or at least responsible gun advocate, concedes this point in her article.

“We could do a better job of policing, mentoring, and advising our own,” she says to her counterparts. “Demanding that gun safety, education courses, background checks, and other measures (both public and private) are used to make sure gun ownership is never taken lightly.”

But I say that since “average” gun owners are the ones that want no amendments made to the Second Amendment – since they are the ones that want the guns – they should do even more than that. They are the ones that should be fighting the hardest for stricter gun control – as an obligation of their role.

They should be marching on Washington, DC and demanding that Trump and the Congress take action since they are responsible for extending the shelf life of a law that was clearly made for the America that existed in 1776 – when there were no armed forces or police departments; British soldiers were lingering in the new states; First Nation people were fighting to retain their lands and lives; slavery was institutionalized; people had to hunt to feed their families; and bears, wolves, cougars, and other large vicious predators were much more numerous and free-ranging.

There is no way the youth of this country should have to suffer under the constant threat of gun violence and fight gun violence at the same time. They have their own set of responsibilities, but impelling the government to do its job when it comes to gun control is not one of them.

That is the job of voters. And since “responsible” gun owners are among the most influential voters in this country, they should do their fucking job and press lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels to tighten up on gun control.

Studies show that strict gun control measures do in fact reduce gun-related homicides, suicides, and accidents.

So, if we ban private sales of guns; institute a licensing and registration process for gun ownership similar to the process for car ownership; require all records of gun sales to be provided to the police; establish universal background checks; require photographs and personal references for gun purchases; establish a mandatory 30-day wait period and mandate the passage of a safe handling and storage course for all new gun buyers; implement stricter and more punitive checks on reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by licensed gun dealers; close loopholes that allow violent felons and individuals that have been institutionalized for mental illness or declared mentally incompetent to purchase guns; create and enforce child access prevention laws; implement stricter storage requirements; and restrict the purchase of ammunition to only that which can be used for private purposes and the licensed firearms owned on record by the buyer, we can lessen gun violence in the US without infringing on gun ownership.

And I don’t see how any truly “responsible” or law-abiding gun owner – only looking to protect his or her home, hunt, collect, or shoot for recreation or competition – can take issue with any of these measures.

So this is what I want to see: A movement of concerned adults – not children – putting these gun owners’ and their pet politicians’ feet to the fire. Spitting their self-righteous rhetoric back in their faces. Showing at least a fraction of the decency and courage of those amazing #NEVERAGAIN participants. Marching on their own. Campaigning against NRA-bought candidates. Making gun control a voting issue and using their votes to ensure that stricter gun control is enacted.

According to the CDC, around 96 Americans are killed on average every day with guns. This hasn’t changed since Parkland or the March for Our Lives.

And all those “average” American gun owners, who very loudly and greedily horde their privileges, have not taken or shown responsibility yet.

You have family values, you say?

You want your children to be safe, you say?

Then, fight for stricter gun control and quit crying.

Or accept school massacres as collateral damage for your twisted version of democracy. Stop acting outraged and aggrieved by what you clearly perceive as “other people’s” suffering. Quit pretending it is intelligent and/or fair to turn schools into de facto penitentiaries and make children pay for your violent indulgences.

Admit that you love your murderous metal comfort objects more than you love Jesus, the flag, and perhaps even your own lives.

Stop masquerading as “reasonable and responsible,” when you are really obsessive and afraid.

I know what Second Amendment supporters will say if they read this: I am trashing them.

Liam Verses, in The Daily Texan, says, “Condemning all gun owners is not the way to respond to a mass shooting,” as if that’s what #NEVERAGAIN protesters and supporters are actually doing (the majority are not).

“Guns remain entrenched in American culture,” Verses argues. “[They] are tied to the ideological, cultural and historical identity of the United States.”

He agrees with Gracy Olmstead that “[enshrined] in our found documents and numbering over 300 million in the US, guns are here to stay,” and Americans calling for radical changes to gun laws should back off because – here it is again – “most gun owners are responsible and law-abiding.”

The solution, according to these two, is for Second Amendment supporters and #NEVERAGAIN protesters to come together and find “comprehensive measures” to fight gun violence.

In order for this to happen, though, “progressives must . . . strive to know and understand gun owners better,” according to Olmstead.

And I say “responsible” gun owners need to strive to make the rest of us safe since they are the ones that want weapons circulating in society like online rumors.

They can call themselves whatever they want, but until they take responsibility for the havoc their fixation is wreaking on hundreds of thousands of innocents, they can’t pretend to be victims.

They want the rest of is to see them as “emblematic” citizens?

Well, I say actions speak as loudly as tongues flap. If not as loudly as guns blast.

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2 thoughts on “Be Fucking Responsible Then: Why “Average” Gun Owners Should Rightfully Be at the Forefront of the Fight for Tighter Gun Control

  1. Dear Michelle, this is a really great post. It is clear, extremely well written and very much to the point. I am “anti-gun” so naturally I would like it. However, what you say is reasonable and really very gentle in manner. Trumps influence in portions of our society right now has seemingly destroyed any opposition from listening, even hearing, any reasonable arguments. It leaves me in a complete and disgusted funk. Thank you for writing. Patti Roselius
    PS. That is a really pretty picture of you accompanying the article. 😄

    Like

    1. It does seem like Trump and his staunch supporters won’t see reason. And it is frustrating as hell. Thank you for reading, though. And for the compliment on the picture. It’s probably my favorite I’ve ever taken.

      Like

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