I was born and raised in New York City. All throughout my childhood I wanted a gun. When I was very little, I had a cowboy gun that shot caps. As I got a little older, I graduated to BB guns, and eventually paint ball.
I finally decided to go through the process of applying for a firearms permit. This process involved meeting with my local police department, going through a background check, psych check, getting fingerprinted, etc and so on. Months later, the Police called me and told me I could pick up my license.
I went from the police station to the gun store and immediately purchased 2 beautiful hand guns. One is a Kimber Gold Match II 1911 45 ACP, the other is a SIG P232 .380, both in shiny stainless steel. These are not just guns, these are highly refined machines, works of art.
|The Kimber Gold Match|
I was nervous my first time at the range, especially because someone near me was shooting a magnum which is really loud. Each time it would go off, I would jump. But I calmed down and after pumping out 300 rounds between my two guns I started to feel more comfortable.
Since obtaining my license and guns, I am starting to become aware of the many gun control laws that exist, as well as those they are trying to now pass. While there are many rights afforded to Americans in the Bill of Rights, it seems that the second amendment is the one right that isn't quite a right.
Imagine if the media needed to go through a background check in order to publish the news? Or if to celebrate Christmas, you needed to first obtain a permit from your local police captain. Would it really be a "right" against illegal search and seizure if in order to qualify, you must never have been in a psychiatric hospital?
However, the second amendment in no uncertain terms guarantees the people of this great country the right to keep and bear arms, yet this "right" is subject to substantive regulation by the government. Further, it is the target of ever increasing regulation by the gun control lobby.
As I stated earlier, I grew up in New York City. I bring this up for two reasons: It is a city with some of the strictest gun control laws in the entire country, possibly the world. Secondly, it is a city with a great many people hurt or killed by guns each year.
Throughout my life, I was told that it's near impossible to get a license for a gun, and a CCW (carry license), is impossible unless you are a cop. Yet growing up on the gritty city streets, many of my friends had obtained guns, all illegally. One friend would carry a Tec-9 (a type of machine gun) disassembled in his hipsack. Another sold guns illegally, and had brought with him to work on occasion a 45 semi, .380, and a Tec-22 (similar to the Tec-9 but shooting 22 caliber - smaller and quieter). I've been around people shooting 25 caliber semis in the basements of apartment buildings for target practice, and I've even been shot at once in Bushwick Brooklyn (thankfully they missed).
I could have bought my guns illegally via one of the many channels that are readily available to anyone so inclined. However, I am an upstanding citizen, and I want to abide by the laws. But when it comes to gun laws, I really have to start wondering who the target of those laws are?
In any given state at this moment, there are attempts to limit the number of guns that you can buy or to classify more guns as assault weapons, or to reduce the bullet capacity of magazines even further. Interestingly, none of the friends from my old neighborhood care about the enactment of any such laws, nor will they be affected by them.
My guns came with spent shell casings, which are on file with the government. Should my gun ever be used in a crime, the police can pretty quickly identify where the bullet came from. My fingerprints are on file, as is my picture, address, etc. I keep my guns locked up and safe, and when I take them out, I follow all of the safety rules, NRA, range rules, etc. Many of my gun toting friends from the old hood slept with guns under their pillow. Ask them about NRA Rules and they might ask back, "What are those?"
Does it help the average citizen to face such impediments to owning a gun, even though criminals have absolutely no problem obtaining one for themselves? Did the teens who murdered those four students in Newark, NJ earlier this summer go through the process of obtaining a license for the murder weapons they used? And might those NJ teens still be alive if just one of them happened to have a gun?
Independent studies repeatedly show that victims who are armed and resist crime fair better both in terms of harm received and property lost than victims who are unarmed and do not resist. Is that really a surprise? Anti-Gun nuts (my term for people who think I am a "gun nut" for owning a gun) widely cite the census bureau NCVS study, which is at odds with these numbers. But who is seriously testifying to a government employee, with the ability to arrest you, that you used your gun to resist a crime?
Some say that the idea of a militia has come and gone, and that the power of the American military renders the second amendment obsolete. Without getting into the word game that seems to dominate much anti-gun rhetoric, let me say that the second amendment mentions both Militias (which at the time was meant to empower everyday citizens), and The People (which means all Americans, i.e. We the People...).
Others are quick to point out that were the government to let loose the dogs of war against the American people, we wouldn't stand a chance against them. As evidenced by our current Iraq imbroglio, an armed populace isn't so easy for an all powerful military to contain, at least without a full on massacre. Although I don't expect the next Tienanmen Square to happen here in the US, I have to wonder whether it would have occurred at all in China were the people there armed.
Sure, we would all prefer to live in a world without guns, but we live on Earth. The framers of our constitution did not make the decision to add the second amendment in haste. They did so based on a history of weapon control in Europe, which was almost always succeeded by a government power grab and tyranny. As such, our forefathers explicitly guaranteed the citizens of this great land the right to bear arms. We can continue to disarm the people in violation of the 2nd Amendment, but be clear that criminals will always get guns one way or another. In my opinion, the best kind of gun control is when you use both hands.