December 22, 2012 by David K. Sutton
America’s Gun Culture: It’s Not Naive To Think We Can Change Minds
I know many gun owners and gun enthusiasts think liberals like myself are simply naive. — That we lack experience with guns. — That we lack the proper knowledge to talk about guns. — That we are silly to think we can change America’s obsession with guns. — But it is these same gun advocates who hold the naive belief that the “bad guys” will always have access to guns so we need to arm the “good guys.”
How do we know who the good guys are? Is there a test? Well, of course, gun advocates would not tolerate a test or requirement to own a firearm. So how do we ensure only the good guys have access to legally purchased guns? I guess that is of little consequence to gun enthusiasts, after all, they believe that bad guys will always be able to obtain a gun, legal or otherwise.
Gun enthusiasts are naive if they believe there is a way to make sure all “good guys” will remain good guys their entire lives. Nobody is born a bad guy. Everyone is a good guy until they are not. And when it comes to mental health, sure, some people are born with mental disabilities, but many develop these disabilities later in life. So in the later case, people are sane until they are not. — Do they get guns?
Just as it may seem untenable to think we could ever change America’s obsession with guns or to reduce the number of guns in this country, it’s even more flawed to believe our only option is to arm the “good guys” in defense against the “bad guys.” That line of thinking is right out of a Hollywood action flick.
I believe it is not naive to think we can change minds. History is littered with people who said something could not be done only to be proven wrong, usually much sooner than anybody would have predicted. We do not have to accept the fatalistic and absolutist view of the Second Amendment, painted by the NRA and gun enthusiasts. Nowhere in that amendment does it guarantee a right to own an AR-15 assault weapon. And regardless of the terminology that gun enthusiasts choose to use, that is what it is — an assault weapon.
Again, we do not have to accept their views, their terminology, or their extremist interpretation of the right to bear arms.
We do not have to accept that weaponry capable of inflicting mass destruction need exist for entertainment and sport. We can change minds. We can enact sensible laws to limit the availability, in some cases, and outright ban, in other cases, the sales of assault rifles and extended magazines — tools which exist only for one purpose: killing large amounts of people — quickly.
We don’t change minds or alter the path of America’s gun culture by kowtowing to the gun enthusiasts who support it or the corporations that profit from it.
This article likely will serve as a bookend to The Left Call’s exclusive focus on America’s gun culture in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. But as we move forward and the focus shifts to other issues, America’s violent gun obsession will not fade to the background.