In the interest of furthering a rational debate on gun control, I want to present here the other side’s position – people who strongly oppose gun control – or, at least, what I see as the crux of their position.
And let me begin by saying that, although I disagree strongly with it, I don’t think that position is irrational or even unreasonable.
Put yourself in the position of a law abiding citizen who owns a gun. For the sake of simplicity, and with no sexism intended, let’s call that citizen “he”.
He is a responsible human being who would never deliberately misuse a gun. Further, he derives pleasure from his gun just as I do from my car and from my cell phone (and he likely does, too, if he has a car and a cell phone).
Now, if someone were to say to me – you have to give up your car, because it can be used to kill people, I would respond, “I would never use my car to kill anyone, and, further, I very much enjoy it, and therefore have no intention of giving it up.” If someone were to say the same to me about my cell phone, I would give the same response, “yes, I know it can be used to set off a bomb, to plan a crime, but it will not be used that way by me, so I will not give it up.”
What’s the difference between me and my car or my cell phone, and the law-abiding gun holder and his gun?
The only difference I can see is the potential for misuse and abuse by the gun.
Since the law-abiding gun holder is as sure that he will not misuse his gun as I am sure that I will not misuse my car or cell phone, the law-abiding gun holder is not swayed by the greater potentials for misuse of the gun.
A car can be stolen, a gun can be stolen. A sane person with a car can turn into a lunatic, a sane person with a gun can do the same. A politically nonviolent person with a cell phone can become a terrorist, the same can occur to a politically nonviolent person with a gun.
And that’s why we have the impasse.
In the end, the pro- and anti-gun people are separated by one belief: that the dangers of the gun are so grave and intrinsic to the technology – as we saw Monday in Virginia – that we have to do more to limit them.
Yes, we need to acknowledge that just about any technology can be used for ill. Rockets to the moon can carry warheads here on Earth. A pillow can be used to suffocate someone. The pro-gun people are right about that.
But the anti-gun point of view singles out firearms as especially likely to be misused – more likely than cars, cell phones, space ships, and pillows. That is why we want to limit them.
Such limits are in no way intended as a rebuke of law-abiding citizens who own guns. They are rather intended to do more to prevent non-law-abiding people from getting and using them.