To My Gun Loving Friends

I know this is a touchy subject because I have friends on both sides of the issue.  That makes me want to approach it gently as to not offend the people whose opinions may be different than mine.  However, some things can’t be approached gently.  So, to my gun loving friends I have some questions.  I was hoping you could help me to navigate through some parts of the conversation that I just can’t understand.

Let me start by explaining a bit about my history with guns.  In my house growing up, we didn’t hunt and neither of my parents ever carried one around for protection.  I was never afraid of guns, I just wasn’t around them all that often.  As I’ve grown older, I have been around and shot multiple guns on multiple occasions.  I’ve shot at clay pigeons (and missed of course), shot at cans, and trees.  I’ve been around them because one of my parents took up law enforcement later in life, so now when I go home there are guns in the house.  Not to mention, at least one of those parents now cary on a regular basis.  I’ve also been around them because some of my closest friends and relatives’ favorite time of the year is dear season.  Those things are normal to me.  None of it bothers me.

But here’s what I don’t understand…

Why?  Why are you so afraid to admit that there needs to be some kind of reform regarding gun laws?  Why does the mention of bills on gun regulations make your skin crawl so badly?  Why are you opposed to opening the door for discussion about whether or not we can find a way to make the buying process safer?  Why is your first argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”?  If that’s the case, why are you afraid to regulate what PEOPLE do or don’t have access to by implementing stricter policies?  Why are you okay with the fact that people, important people, just keep saying “there’s nothing we can do about it” every time major shootings take place?  Why when tragedies happen is your first response to defend gun rights before you even take a moment to consider the damage that was done?

I know not all of you fall into all of these categories, but what I fear is that most of you fall into some of them.  Please, help me understand because after days like yesterday, I don’t see any good reason to be afraid of reform.  I just see a growing reason to be afraid that I keep hearing “there’s nothing we can do about it”.

Is it about protecting yourself or your family?  Because if so, I understand that concern.  Guns are scary and the only thing that might stop another person with a gun, is a person with a gun.  So, if your house is being broken into and the other person is armed, 99% of the time, a person is going to wish they too were armed.  What doesn’t make sense about this argument though is that I keep reading that in the deadliest shooting in American history there were multiple people with conceal and carry present, and yet nothing could be done.  From what I’ve read, the shooter wasn’t located for over an hour after the first shot rang.  All of the people with guns strapped to their wastes, they couldn’t stop him.  They couldn’t prevent him from killing or harming more innocent people.

Is it because “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people!“?  Look, I’m not even opposed to my own husband having a gun.  If he did though, he would keep it locked in a gun case so that my 4 year old could not just “stumble upon” a loaded weapon.  If he did, I would hope that he would have to jump through hoops to gain access to such a deadly weapon.  And if he did, I wouldn’t be upset about him having stricter guidelines to follow in order to prevent guns from getting into the wrong people’s hands.  People often argue “well are we going to take away cars (also known as such a deadly weapon)?”.  I’m not saying all guns need to be taken away.  However, in order to get my license, I had to take a test and prove that I was responsible enough to get behind the wheel.  I have to have car insurance in case of an accident, and I sure as heck am not allowed to just loan my car to someone else to drive who hasn’t followed the same steps I have.  Why are guns different?  Why when I was 12 years old was I able to fire a friends weapon with no previous formal training or experience?  The only reason I can remember is because they thought it would be funny to see how I handled the kick back since I had never fired one before.

Is it because ‘Merica and Freedom!?  I know.  I know the argument regarding the 2nd Amendment.  Again, I’m not even opposed to responsible people having access to guns for hunting, protection, even sport.  What I am opposed to is you being more pro “gun rights” than you are pro “people’s right to live”.  I’m opposed to you being more worried about a conversation on how to make it safer for people to own guns than you are worried about the fact that people are dying every day because we continue to accept that “there’s nothing we can do”.  What about the freedom of the 20 elementary children and 6 adults who died at Sandy Hook?  What about the freedom of the 49 people killed last year at Pulse Night Club?  What about the freedom of the 59 people killed and the hundreds of people injured at a concert in Last Vegas this week?  I could go on and on…what about the freedom of all of those people?  What about the freedom that each of us wants to have to feel safe going out in public to enjoy a night out with friends and loved ones?  Is your freedom to ignore that conversation about “What can we do better?” more important than the freedom of those who have lost their lives?

Are you worried because even if you follow the laws, there will be those people who don’t and there’s really no way to regulate them?  I get this argument too.  I know there will always be a black market for things like guns, drugs, and weapons.  I know that if someone wanted to get a hold of a weapon, they would find a way regardless of what parameters were put in place.  I also know that as of right now they are saying that the gunman from LV had no record, no visible signs or warnings according to family, and he had “legally” obtained his weapons. These things are all true, and they are a valid part of the discussion.  I don’t personally have a perfect solution or answer to all of the questions.  What I do know though, is that I would love for there to be responsible gun owners willing to be a part of the conversation.  I would love for there to be responsible gun owners who are willing to take one more step or precaution because it might save even just one life.  I would love for you to be willing to consider that it’s time we look at the statistics to see if there is anything we can do because “doing nothing” isn’t working for us.

To my gun loving friends, why?

Why?  Why are you so afraid to admit that there needs to be some kind of reform regarding gun laws?  Why does the mention of bills on gun regulations make your skin crawl so badly?  Why are you opposed to opening the door for discussion about whether or not we can find a way to make the buying process safer?  Why is your first argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”?  If that’s the case, why are you afraid to regulate what PEOPLE do or don’t have access to by implementing stricter policies?  Why are you okay with the fact that people, important people, just keep saying “there’s nothing we can do about it” every time major shootings take place?  Why when tragedies happen is your first response to defend gun rights before you even take a moment to consider the damage that was done?

Please help me understand.  Please be a part of the conversation by saying more than “gun control is non-American” or “I have rights” because right now all I can think about are the innocent people who have lost their rights because none of us can agree that this issue is important enough to work hard towards a solution.  It’s important enough to put aside our differences and recognize that something has to be done.  I think we can all agree that things like LV, Pulse, Sandy Hook, etc. are devastating.  I think we can all agree that we don’t want to see another life lost.  I think we can all, regardless of our stance on guns, admit that we can do better…we have to do better.

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I am a wife and full-time working mom who’s journey through every day life is sometimes sloppy and sometimes not. This is a place where I write openly about the joys and the struggles that I encounter throughout my day. My hope is that it can be a conversation starter for tough topics and that it can provide a sense of comfort for others who are journeying through similar situations.

3 thoughts on “To My Gun Loving Friends

  1. Good thoughts, Jen. I, too, have grown up around people who love to hunt and go to shooting ranges. I even worked at a gun club during high school. But all of that was trap shooting and not done with semi-automatic weapons. While I know people who enjoy shooting high-powered, semi-automatic weapons, I am a little confused as to why they would need to shoot multiple rounds at a time. And to have the “bump stocks,” makes no sense whatsoever. These are discussions we need to be having without everyone automatically going on the defensive.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay so you know I love you, and this is in no way in opposition to your opinion, but I am just sharing my opinion… so I have grown up around guns, not as much for hunting, but more for safety for anything. My father and mother owned guns when I was a child and had a gun safe in their closet, we would actually go on vacation and my father kept his pistol under the front seat of our suburban . My grandparents walked around with firearms when I was growing up, my grandfather even had a small pistol that was shaped as a wallet in case someone tried to rob him. My uncle and many of our family friends growing up were police officers, so just to sum up…. I’ve been around a lot of guns and am very comfortable around them. From a young age my father taught us that guns were very powerful and how to properly use them. Okay so with all that being said, I don’t think stricter gun laws would be something that would help. Bad people are still going to do bad things and stricter laws would make it harder for good people to be able to protect themselves. Think about drugs. They are illegal, they have strict laws with strict penalties, but yet if I wanted some meth, cocaine, or really anything else for that matter then I can go right around the corner and get some. Would I be caught? Probably not. Would it be hard to get? Not really as long as I had the money. So why would it be different for guns?? Why would stricter gun laws being put in place stop the bad guys from getting guns and doing the same bad things?? I think I read somewhere, and don’t quote me on this, that the states that have the stricter gun laws actually have a higher crime rate by like 15%… you would think that would be lower if guns were not as easily accessible, right??  All in all I just feel stricter gun laws will only hurt the people who have them to protect themselves, it is not going to do anything to stop what happened in Las Vegas or any other tragedy from happening.  Plus, the guy in Las Vegas had no past history, no triggers for doing what he did everyone is saying so far. He was a multi-millionaire. Would a strict gun law have stopped him? Probably not. Would him paying a monthly amount (like car insurance) on his guns deter him from having less? Probably not.
    Maybe a stricter gun law is not the option, maybe there is something more? Maybe metal detectors in schools? In hotels? In more areas? Higher security, more money into the salaries of police officers who make barely minimum wage to put their lives on the line every day. I am willing to go with stricter gun laws, but only if that seems like the better option. I have no problem jumping through a couple more hoops, but I really don’t feel like this will help at all. I am not sure where the path to less violence starts, but I do know that we can all start by respecting, loving, and understanding people better.
    Love you girlie!

    Liked by 1 person

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