The first time I held a gun was in 2001, when I went skeet shooting with my future husband’s grandfather. I was surprised at how much fun it was, as well as how much my shoulder hurt from the back-kick of the shotgun. Years later, I went with my husband and some of his family to a firing range and shot a revolver. That wasn’t fun at all, was terribly noisy, and I haven’t shot anything since.
All these means that I have no particular affinity for guns, and know only enough about guns to know that I know very little at all. I cannot imagine personally being comfortable enough with a gun to be able to use one in self-defense, so guns scare me.
Yet I know that doesn’t mean that I have nothing at stake in the gun rights debate. I’m glad that there are women like Anna Rittgers, who know both about and how to use guns. I wish there were more women like her. I want potential assailants not to be able to assume that I’m helpless until the police arrive.
I can understand the impulse of many who just want guns—and the violence they bring—to go away. Yet I cannot understand how someone ignores all the evidence that gun laws impact the law-abiding and do little to keep violent criminals from doing harm.
My kids expect me to offer a remedy when something bad happens to them. Sometimes I can do something real—give fever medicine or a bandaid—but often whatever I do is just for show: A kiss on the bumped head, rubbing away the hurt of a pinched finger, a new pillow under the guise it will bring better dreams.
Citizens traumatized after such a horrific attack like in Newtown, CT seem to want politicians to “do something” to make it better. Yet Americans need to face reality: Sometimes bad things happen and there is little we can do to stop it.
We all wish there was—forgive the term—a magic bullet to ensure that there was never another mass shooting. But there isn’t. And there is next to nothing to suggest that the stricter gun laws that are now proposed would have stopped the killer in Newtown, CT or the next maniac.
Limiting the right of citizens to own firearms will, however, continue the trend of empowering the government and disempowering the people. The push for restrictions sends the message that it’s the police’s job, not yours, to try to protect innocent life; that only selected government approved guardians—the police, soldiers, special secret service for the elite few–can be trusted with weapons. We’ve seen how well government has managed all of the other jobs we’ve handed to them. Why should this turn out any differently?
Americans—including those without any particularly affinity for guns—should reject politicians' charade that they are solving society’s problems when they are really doing little more than growing government’s power and making citizens less free.