Guests include Republicans, Democrats, people from blue states, red states, and criminals everywhere. To a pro-gun advocate, political parties are almost meaningless; the lines are nearly invisible. If you own a gun, a handgun, a machine gun, any gun that fires bullets—the more the merrier—you’re welcome to the party. As long as you remember, there is some danger involved. Other things to remember:
We are not talking about rifles, shotguns, skeet shooting, duck hunting, guns we use to protect domestic livestock, or thinning the herd. We are talking about weapons made to kill people.
Guns are often used in domestic violence against women. Men commit homicide 10 times more often than women. Their targets are often girlfriends, wives, or other female family members. In a fit of jealousy or anger, a man with a gun is a dangerous beast. He probably wasn’t so beastly when he bought the gun. He may have even passed a background check.
Will greater access to guns—handguns, automatic and semi-automatic weapons, larger clips, longer bullets—make women safer? Obviously not! This is not a tea party.
The Harvard School of Public Health reported, “Guns in the home are used more often to frighten intimates than to thwart crime.” I can vouch for the accuracy of that; an overwrought friend of mine once reached into the top drawer of his nightstand and began waving around his Glock handgun, threatening to shoot himself or anyone who tried to disarm him. I am used to being around guns, and so was my friend—there was little to do in such a situation. Sweat.
Most gun owners lack any training in handling or firing a handgun, much less an assault weapon. Most have a license to drive a car, but lack a license to carry. They don’t think a license is necessary. If they can load a gun, pull the trigger, and afford ammunition, they’re ready. I haven’t killed an animal for food in many years, and I never went hunting with a handgun. A handgun in every purse, a holster on every hip scares the hell of me. I’m frightened for my kids, for my wife, for my friend.
The gun party’s primary argument and excuse to carry is self-defense. That argument is not supported by the facts. Domestic violence, accidents, and suicides involving guns are far more numerous than acts of self-defense.
At least, I want to be as safe here as my friends are who live in England, Canada, and Australia. Our rate of gun homicides is exponentially higher than countries with less access to guns than we have. Greater access to guns does not mean greater safety for us.
If the only people with guns are criminals, they will be easier to spot by the people we elect, appoint, and hire to protect us. Enough with the crazies with assault weapons! Enough with handguns! Hire more cops.
We already have too many guns to get rid of, claims the NRA. So, we need more? Gun buybacks in Australia reduced gun violence down under. Why not here? Never happen, says the gun party; we have too many guns to buy back. But we have fought greater battles in our history: enrolling black children in white schools in the south, universal suffrage, electing a black President. We have had bigger challenges, never a better cause. It will take courage for members of Congress. They are afraid, scared they might lose their jobs, but they have no other ethical choice.
We have the magic bullets: our votes.