The Common Discussion, by R.K.

The conversation begins in a variety of ways but usually goes something like this:

Bob: why do you need a fancy gun that shoots so many bullets….?

Me: Do you need to drive a car that produces more than 120 horse power? That’s more than enough power to move you from point A to point B in a timely, economical, environmentally responsible, and safe matter. Therefore, should we not outlaw all cars that produce more than 120 HP? All you need is 120 HP. Think of all the things in your life that you don’t actually need.

When we open the discussion of need vs. want, it questions one of the basic foundations of our country. We are free to choose what we want. Who is a government or another person to tell us what we can and can’t have? That is God’s job, and He gave us unalienable rights already. As long as we’re not infringing on anyone else’s rights, we are free to make our own choices.

Bob: Well, so many people are dying from guns in the United States, and I have numbers to prove it…

Me: I don’t agree with that, but I’ve read through endless amounts of statistics and recognize there are numbers that support both sides. I’ve also taken enough statistic courses to realize you can use numbers to tell any story you’d like. If you want to get into an exchange about statistics, we’ll be here a very long time countering each other. If you are genuinely concerned with saving lives, let’s talk about a less subjective argument about the top killer in the U.S. and how we can help that situation right now. I lost both of my parents to heart disease, and I will do whatever I can to help eliminate it. More than six times as many people die each year from heart disease in the U.S. than from firearm-related incidents. Usually around 600,000 people die from heart disease in the U.S. each year. Almost half of all deaths in the U.S. each year are from heart disease and cancer. Let’s tackle the biggest problem first and pass laws to get heart disease out of the way. Then we can talk about more debatable issues, like gun control. What are the leading causes of heart disease? Poor diet, smoking, obesity, and lack of activity. So instead of passing laws against guns, would it not make sense to first pass laws to require everyone to exercise at least one hour each day? What about outlawing smoking? Also, would it not make sense to pass laws limiting people to consume only their basic caloric requirements each day and penalize people who consume more than their government allotted amount? Do you see how slippery of a slope this is? Sound crazy? Well, former NY Mayor Bloomberg already tried to ban jumbo-sized sugary drinks. Luckily, his proposal was struck down in court, but it still demonstrates how so many politicians want to dictate every part of what you may and may not do, drink, own, et cetera. Besides, it’s difficult to compare our country with many other places, since we have such a unique set of circumstances here, one of which being the right to keep and bear arms. Ironically, the few countries besides ours with similar gun laws have astonishingly low crime rates.

Bob: I still don’t understand why you need such a big clip to hunt…

Me: The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. Hunting was a necessary part of life at that time. The Second Amendment is all about protection. Of course it would be difficult for ordinary citizens to defeat an organized military, but the point is God gave us the right to protect ourselves and our families any way we see fit, as long as our efforts don’t infringe on anyone else’s rights. Our founding fathers formed the United States to get away from massive government interventions, so why do you want to go back to a system where government manages every aspect of your life? If a person feels more secure owning a firearm that holds a magazine full of 50 rounds of whatever caliber, then he or she should be able to own it. Also, I don’t want to subcontract out my family’s safety to the government. Many of our politicians enjoy armed guards protecting them and their families around the clock at our expense. Most people can’t afford that type of protection and certainly can’t charge taxpayers for the associated costs. At one time I said I was only asking to have the ability to protect my family, but now I realize no politician has the right to take away my God-given right to protect my family using any firearm I choose. I no longer ask for the government to recognize the rights entitled to me by our Creator, and you should not either.

Bob: So let’s all go out and buy nuclear weapons then…

Me: No. You cannot select individual targets with a nuclear weapon, so let’s be realistic. However, the public should be able to own fully automatic weapons without a costly tax stamp.

Bob: The Second Amendment was for muskets…

Me: Actually there are records of ship owners writing to our forefathers and asking if the Amendment included cannons to protect their fleets. The answer of course was, “Yes!” Those cannons and muskets were the best weapons of the day. The public should be able to own the best weapons of our day, too.

Bob: Are you not worried some nut-job will get his hands on a fully automatic weapon?

Me: I totally understand your concern, but one unfortunate byproduct of a constitutional republic is that some people will make poor choices with their freedoms. That is where laws come into play. We punish people who infringe on the rights of others. For example, some people choose to consume too much alcohol and drive a vehicle. Others choose to purchase powerful cars and drive too fast. The truth is, some people will abuse freedom, but law-abiding citizens should not be punished because of the very small percentage of people who choose to violate the rights of others. Of course, simply saying that some people will abuse freedom does not make the victims of crime feel any better, but it is the truth. No one likes to see people injured or killed by firearms, but there are many countries that outlawed any type of firearm ownership but still have a much higher murder rate than we do.

Bob: I understand what you’re saying, but gun-free zones are still a great idea to keep innocent people safe…

Me: These places have not done anything but attract attackers who know they will not encounter resistance with a firearm. These “zones” make an easily accessible and target-rich area for individuals looking to take out as many people as they can for whatever reason.

Bob: Can’t you just run, hide, fight, or protect yourself with a knife?

Me: Again, it’s about choice. I’ll let you be the one to run, hide, or protect yourself with a stick if you’d like, but I choose to have a force-multiplier such as a firearm. Our country is not based on running away. One of our ideals is to stand and fight for what is right without backing down, although that principle seems to have faded in the last few years.

Bob: Just let the police protect you…

Me: You need to study history. I’m not subbing out my family’s protection to anyone. Also, one of the first things governments who wanted to control their citizens have always done is disarm them. Again, I realize beating an organized military is nearly impossible, but one of the ideas behind the Second Amendment is for the people to at least have the choice and ability to fight back against a tyrannical government and have the choice to be able to protect themselves and their property. Besides, the average police response time is 11 minutes, which is far too long to hide from a weapon-wielding lunatic.

Bob: I still don’t agree with you. We need more gun laws…

Me: The truth is that more gun laws would not have prevented any of the mass casualty events involving firearms in this country. The highest gun-crime areas in the United States are the ones with the strictest gun control laws in the country, where current gun laws aren’t even effectively enforced. Do your own research, find information not tainted by the mainstream media, and you’ll find taking away weapons from citizens is the first way to control a population. From ancient China and Japan to modern day Australia, you’ll find problems occurred after confiscation. I realize politicians say they want to copy Australia, but again do your own research. I even found a video of a recent incident where a man of middle-eastern descent went on a stabbing spree in Australia. Everyone needed to run away including the police when they arrived on scene. Look at crime in Venezuela, the perfect model for us to copy according to some politicians. The information is out there, even though at one time it was easily hidden from us before social media.

Bob: To tell you the truth, I’m almost embarrassed to admit I sometimes feel ashamed to live in a gun culture.

Me: Do not be ashamed of your heritage, in spite of attempts by opponents of our Second Amendment trying to disgrace people for being independent and taking responsibility for the protection of themselves and their families. It’s a common tactic used to convince people of a certain point of view. Most people in our society would benefit from becoming more self-sufficient by trying to raise, grow, or kill at least some of their our own food. In my area, hunting is becoming a shameful act, but yet the same people who demean hunters, purchase dead animals from the store that were basically tortured for human consumption. We are a gun culture and for good reason, if you look at our history even beyond hunting. You are not a “gun nut” or “gun crazy,” nor do you wear a tin foil hat if you believe in God and our Constitution. Too many people don’t understand how our country was founded and what’s happening to our rights. Hopefully they’ll wake up soon.

Bob: I have, um, a friend who wants to buy one of those ARs. Where can I get one, I mean, where can I tell him to buy one and get training to use it?