America is jazzed with guns. The number of privately-held weapons in the USA is unknown, but estimates range from 250 million all the way up to a BILLION. That doesn't count anything in sporting goods stores, the warehouses of gun manufacturers, or held by the military.
The Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to own a weapon, with certain exceptions, such as a criminal history. However, because there are loopholes in the United States that currently allow criminals to buy guns at shows, over the internet, or by other avenues, this system is not perfect. Even if we passed a hundred laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the truth is that criminals will always be able to find a gun if they look hard enough. There are just too many guns, and too many criminal lifestyles dedicated to them. On the legitimate side, there are gun magazines, (paper kind, not the loading kind) gun clubs, gun ranges, hundreds of U.S. published books on guns, videos by the million at YouTube on How To Use a Gun, or Here I Am Shooting My Gun.
As Americans, we can agree that guns are ingrained into the social fabric of America, good and bad, and this has been going for hundreds of years, long before the Revolution. The history of America was written not with a typewriter, but with a pencil taped into the barrel of a revolver.
The really strange thing about guns and America is this: In our use of weapons, we are often harder on ourselves than we are on others abroad. In other words, our best use of guns may have been for moral purposes outside of America. I'm speaking of events such as doughboys in World War One, the landings at Normandy, or even that little invasion down in Grenada back in 1980. War is almost never good though, and in the last couple of decades we've questioned ourselves as a country for some of the decisions we've made with our military. It's a hard thing to consider as a nation, and a matter of conscience. But here at home, we continue to kill thousands of our fellow citizens by the gun on a steady basis. Mostly it runs over 10,000 deaths yearly, with many more non-fatal shootings. It adds up when you're talking about these deaths happening EVERY year. How bad is it? Well...most studies show that we've lost about 1.4 million people since the American Revolution to war. Gun deaths since 1968 in the USA add up to about 1.5 million, and that figure continues to rise each year by 10,000 victims or more.
We are fighting terrorism on a few fronts, and that makes the citizenry nervous, and even more protective of their gun rights than during times of perfect peace. There are the global problems, as well. Warming, shrinking resources, the economy, and a host of other things. All of them contribute to the battle between gun owners in America, and others who believe changes are needed.
The Apocalypse is coming as some say, and you'd better look out.
The gulf between the N.R.A. and Everyone Else is a chasm wider than the Grand Canyon.
But here's the rub: Even the N.R.A. has to admit that some people are abusing the Second Amendment beyond belief. The availability of weapons that can be purchased by non-responsible folk, the modifications available to these weapons, and the ease of purchase are contributing factors in the sheer number of deaths in many mass shootings. The gun lobby continues to pour money into Washington, and other people fight back. After the Orlando Massacre, the 'other people,' cranked up the volume on the discussion. Even some Republicans are having doubts about stonewalling all change regarding gun laws.
A question: Do you believe there have never been any changes to gun laws in our history that made sense? Some laws have done exactly that. Until 1934, you could buy a .45 caliber Thompson submachine gun right over the counter, and even an oversize drum magazine for it if you wished. The Feds stopped all that after the St. Valentines' Day Massacre. In the case of today's assault weapons and their ever-expanding magazine capacity and quick firing ability, shooters can often hit their targets quicker and more effectively than a gangster using a Thompson. More accuracy, less recoil, quick magazine changes with mags up to 100 rounds or more.
Sound scary? It is. In the Orlando Massacre, Mateen was able to hit roughly one out of three of the more than 300 people in the nightclub, using only a single rifle and one pistol. The victims never had a chance.
Here are 5 sensible suggestions to improve gun safety in America:
1) Institute a complete ban on magazines for rifles that exceed ten rounds. For pistols, nothing beyond their original design.
2) Require a background check for ALL weapons sales in the USA, whether at gun shows, over the internet, or in stores.
3) Set a date in the (near) future and require any new gun owners to obtain training and a basic license to purchase a gun.
4) Set a date in the (farther) future requiring current gun owners to update training and get their basic license.
5) Prohibit further sales of assault weapons to anyone not holding a special Federal license to do so.
The current system of loopholes just isn't working. Meanwhile, over in Great Britain where our biggest allies reside, they had about 640 murders total in 2011 and less than fifty were by gun. Meanwhile, we're racking up five figures a year in gunshot fatalities.
Maybe it's time for the gun lobby and Everyone Else to come to the table.
Believe it or not, some very responsible people shoot some really crazy guns.
But then they have the proper Federal licenses and background checks:
EDIT: I have changed my mind on one point, and that is Point Number 1 shown above. I think magazines beyond ten rounds for rifles is okay...but they should be moved into the same Federal licensing category as the people shown in the video.