The United States has a horrific problem with gun violence, and President Obama is considering his executive action options for addressing this issue. Predictably, gun fanatics have completely freaked out over this news.
As a gun owner, I fully support the right of sane, non-criminal American citizens to own weapons. I enjoy target shooting and I do sometimes carry a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber handgun when I am going on work assignments to places that aren’t very safe. I believe that trained civilians should be able to conceal and carry in places that don’t have restrictions against firearms in their establishment.
The left often has a serious issue with guns, which I fully understand. On the right, they also angrily respond to some gun control ideologues who want all guns banned, which isn’t a plausible option. The United States is saturated with guns, and there are a few in my closet as well.
Bernie Sanders has given what I believe is the best, most pragmatic speech on this issue so far from any presidential candidate.
“I believe it is not an absolute right,” he said. “I do not believe you have the right to have a grenade launcher in your backyard and I think most people understand that.”
Sanders said most people agree that gun ownership is not inherently bad, but that some stricter regulations are needed. Specifically, he called for closing the so-called “gun show loophole” and strengthening criminal background checks.
“People own guns. People go hunting. People do target practice. That’s fine,” he said. “But we have to do our best to try to cut down on these horrible, horrible mass killings we’ve seen in recent months.” (Source)
Many gun fanatics will claim that the gun show loophole doesn’t exist, but it is very much a thing. At my last gun show, I saw a man with a Neo-Nazi tattoo on his neck buy a Dragunov sniper rifle. I don’t know whether he was a felon or not, but someone like this probably should not have access to a semi-auto rifle capable of killing people at 800+ yards.
Conservatives will claim that all gun sales undergo background checks, but that is completely wrong. The gun show loophole exists in many states, and allows private sales to individuals without background checks. I know this personally, because I bought my .243 Savage bolt action from a private seller who refused to take my ID for a background check, claiming he did not want or care to know what was in my background.
In case you’re wondering, I am a southern white male in my mid-30s with a squeaky clean record that doesn’t even include a speeding ticket. I can walk into any gun store, and with the right amount of money, legally purchase any firearm I want. I’ll probably grab an Enfield .303 or an AR-10 in .308 as the next addition to my collection.
For all intents and purposes, I should be considered a member of the NRA, and they have tried to recruit me on multiple occasions in the past – but I have no interest in being a member of their cult.
Bernie Sanders understands that it’s impossible to take away guns from people who already have them stockpiled, but there is a way to keep felons, religious fanatics, and the criminally insane from launching attacks like we saw in San Bernardino or Charleston, SC.
The practical approach Sanders has taken is the most logical way to deal with gun violence. Our country desperately needs sensibility, not irrational fear-mongering for the sake of partisan politics.
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