When I immigrated to the US from the UK, my views of gun possession and gun control were perhaps typical of yer average Brit….
I had been raised in a place of peace and relatively little crime, and at a time when most people had respect for each other and for the law, and a fear of God. Nobody owned guns, not even the police: they didn’t need them. I was totally convinced that gun ownership in the US should be abolished, and that anyone wanting to own a firearm was probably mentally unstable and far too aggressive. I’d heard this phrase from Americans:
“If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”.
I was convinced this was the weakest excuse to perpetuate gun ownership I’d ever heard. Obviously, I reasoned, the more guns are sold and distributed, the more “outlaws” will get guns, and as they’re the people who cause the trouble, selling guns is just compounding the problem of crime and violence.
Over several years, my views have changed almost completely.
I became aware that a large percentage of Americans own guns, and very few of them are going around shooting each other. Instead they own firearms in the genuine belief that they are safer from the threat of violence than they would be if they were unarmed.
Unfortunately, the proverbial genie is out of the bottle: there must be millions of firearms out there. If all the law-abiding citizens handed in their weapons today, most crooks certainly would not. And in the world where I was raised – where kids roamed the streets and the countryside without fear-people could not have imagined the evil and hateful minds which are at large in our world now, where there are some who would just as soon kill you as look at you, had they the chance to do so without risking losing their own lives or their freedom.
The horrors of multiple shootings of innocents are not a result of general gun ownership: I well remember an incident in the UK, a land where very few could legally own a gun, in which an unimaginably bitter man killed twenty children and their teacher with a shot-gun before killing himself. Had someone been able to resist him with a weapon, most of those kids could have survived.
No, such incidents are the result of a society and a culture which has removed God from its mind, which glorifies violence in movies, “games”, TV and books- shunning any sense of control and propriety; a society and a culture which has rejected the wisdom if its founders and its fathers, and which is intentionally exorcising all traditional understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong.
Add to that perhaps the biggest argument for gun ownership-the distrust of government. In the nation which was founded upon protest and rebellion against its oppressors, some in government now want to take from its citizens the right and the ability to protest, and the ability to rebel. The majority just don’t trust government, and as much as government wishes to insist that it will provide the necessary protection against crime and violence, including foreign invasion and the growing and future threat from radical Muslims, most people-at least in my neck of the woods-don’t believe it, and I have to confess I don’t either.
If President Obama and many in government really hate guns and want the nation to disarm, why, in 2013, did his Department of “Homeland Security” purchase 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition to be used domestically, inside the USA? Why did it purchase 7,000 full-auto assault rifles to be used inside the United States, calling them “personal defense weapons”? And why did it retrofit 2,717 “Navistar Defense” armored vehicles for service on the streets of America? (1). Such actions hardly encourage the already nervous American to surrender his right to self-defense.
Yesterday’s horrific incident in Oklahoma in which a Muslim man stabbed then beheaded one woman, then turned on another, admits the BBC:
“…was stopped when the CEO of the plant, Mark Vaughan, who is also a police reserve deputy, shot and injured him” (2).
Yes, let’s have background checks and some limits on certain kinds of weapons, but I say, “keep your guns America”.