If you’re not one of the Americans that care passionately about guns, you’d think Dick Metcalf was a gun nut. He’s got a gun club at his house, a shooting range, and gun manufacturers used to send him their weapons for review. He also had a popular column in Guns & Ammo magazine, from which he was fired after suggesting, that maybe, quite possibly, all rights, even the Second Amendment, should be regulated. “All constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be” was the line that got Metcalf fired, drew death threats, and caused two major advertisers, Ruger and Remington, to threaten to pull their ads. You can read Metcalf’s column here. (PDF)
On the other side of that reasonable statement is Richard Venola, “We are locked in a struggle with powerful forces in this country who will do anything to destroy the Second Amendment. The time for ceding some rational points is gone.” Venola recently had murder charges dropped against him after shooting a neighbor during an argument.
In any case, we’re all screwed. More guns isn’t the answer, and these people are insane, or, I guess if I’m being charitable, unreasonable.
Somewhat lost in the most recent conversation surrounding gun safety is how the discussion is framed to favor the rights of gun owners over the rights of people who would prefer not to live around guns. On TPM, Josh Marshall expounds on this pretty personally and is hoping to change the framing to make the conversation more equitable.
In the current rhetorical climate people seem not to want to say: I think guns are kind of scary and don’t want to be around them. Yes, plenty of people have them and use them safely. And I have no problem with that. But remember, handguns especially are designed to kill people. You may want to use it to threaten or deter. You may use it to kill people who should be killed (i.e., in self-defense). But handguns are designed to kill people. They’re not designed to hunt. You may use it to shoot at the range. But they’re designed to kill people quickly and efficiently.
That frightens me. I don’t want to have those in my home. I don’t particularly want to be around people who are carrying. Cops, I don’t mind. They’re trained, under an organized system and supposed to use them for a specific purpose. But do I want to have people carrying firearms out and about where I live my life — at the store, the restaurant, at my kid’s playground? No, the whole idea is alien and frankly scary. Because remember, guns are extremely efficient tools for killing people and people get weird and do stupid things.
Here’s what you should spend some time reading right away. An essay published on Gawker by Kiese Laymon about growing up black in Jackson, MS. It’s a really good read. It’s hard to decide what to excerpt so I’ll just give you the first paragraph. More of this, please, Gawker.
I’ve had guns pulled on me by four people under Central Mississippi skies â€” once by a white undercover cop, once by a young brother trying to rob me for the leftovers of a weak work-study check, once by my mother and twice by myself. Not sure how or if I’ve helped many folks say yes to life but I’ve definitely aided in few folks dying slowly in America, all without the aid of a gun.