CNN devoted a weekend piece to gun ownership produced by Daphne Sashin. It is the first article that I read today because it infuriates me. In the wake of yet another crime committed with guns that resulted in a large number of deaths by a mentally ill person who followed the rules and purchased an AK-47 combat assault weapon and 6,000 rounds of ammunition to commit a well planned act of violence, CNN published a story from the gun lovers point of view.
Contrary to the report’s vignettes, the reasons for gun ownership in the U.S. are easy to explain. Start with “‘Firearms are a way of life.’”
In some remote places and mostly agrarian communities or places where workers encounter natural predators and need protection, guns may be needed as tools of the trade. Those circumstances are well defined and can be easily regulated and accommodated with administration of federal laws by local authorities. Exceptional needs and circumstances can be attended.
The basis for guns in America begins with the Constitutional Right to Bear Arms that was intended for pioneering America when citizens had to confront a lawless wilderness. Guns were needed to shoot game and kill Native Americans. Guns were needed to form militias and to combat the British on more than one occasion.
Having state militias in the form of the National Guard makes good sense. It is a back up to the full-time armed military services. Having armed state and local police is needed to protect society against criminals too.
Yet, would modern society not be safer if citizens were not armed to the hilt with pistols, rifles, and shotguns? Gun toters will argue that without their being armed, some criminals might invade their household and harm their families because criminals will find a way to have weapons and ammunition.
I would argue, let’s disarm and work on that problem, knowing that disarming America would take a lifetime. In the process of disarming America, expect that crimes committed with guns to reduce and trend downward.
As for people who love shooting guns as a hobby or pastime, I suspect that fetish could be managed by licensed gun clubs where people visit the “range” to check out a weapon and shoot at targets. They may also visit wild game preserves for hunting purposes under regulated and supervised seasonal activities.
But, the wide open arming of America must come to an end because Americans want to become civilized now.
Several of the stories from gun owners in the CNN report are from small towns in Ohio where I was raised as a child. My Dad taught me how to hunt from the time that I could barely carry a 410 gauge shotgun. We lived in Mt. Gilead, Ohio where my Grandfather was once the County Sheriff. Dad did this because it was a tradition to hunt rabbits, squirrels, and pheasants when in season. It wasn’t just a sport because we ate the meat from the hunts.
It didn’t take me too long to realize that this was a waste of time. I would rather just hike with Dad in the woods than to worry about guns and the possibility of shooting someone by accident. I put my gun away early in life and didn’t address that again until it was time to enter the Army and learn how to kill Vietnamese people. That is another story.
To me gun ownership is symptomatic of America’s propensity for violence. When “We the People” can adopt a different set of values, the nation will become safer and all of the data in the world supports that position. Ignorance and exploitation of ignorance by a perverted industry is what is holding us back from shedding our antiquated and obsolete behavior.
“5 things gun owners want you to know
This story started on CNN iReport
By Daphne Sashin, CNN
updated 10:16 PM EDT, Fri August 3, 2012
(CNN) -- Guns are an American pastime. A way to feed a family. A way to protect a family.
A way of life.
Those are some of the words gun owners use to describe their relationship with firearms and the powerful emotions that stir up when they talk about them.
In the days after a gunman killed a dozen theater-goers in Aurora, Colorado, talk turned to gun ownership, access and restrictions, as it often does after mass shootings.
CNN iReport went to the firearms owners and asked for their perspective. We received more than 400 iReports from gun owners. The stories of gun ownership in America and the feelings behind it are diverse and not so easily explained.
Here are five things they want the world to know:
"Owning a firearm is not a right that I take lightly." -- Jason Bostic, Fredericktown, Ohio
Jason Bostic, a firefighter and information technology director in Fredericktown, Ohio, grew up around firearms and now owns guns for protection, recreational shooting, competition, hunting and investment. When seconds count, he feels confident knowing he could defend himself against a violent criminal.
He is aware that gun ownership comes with heavy responsibilities. That has meant attending hunter safety courses, shooting workshops, specific training for pistols, rifles, shotguns and self defense, among other instruction.
Fear drives opposition to gun control
Bostic is the father of a toddler, who he already talks to about guns. When the time is right, he will teach his boy how to properly handle firearms so the child can pass on the family tradition.
"He doesn't touch them, he doesn't play with them, and there is no free-willy-nilly pointing toy gun at people," Bostic wrote. "He asks questions when they are out or when I am cleaning and doing work on them and they are answered. Most importantly my guns are secured."
"If you love your children, you will teach them how to handle a real firearm." -- Ilidio Serra, Aurora, Illinois
Too many children are exposed to the fantasy weapons of video games and not real ones, says Ilidio Serra. He calls himself a "Democratic liberal" but also feels strongly that the more he can take the mystery and glamour out of firearms for his 11-year-old son, the safer his child will be.
He thinks other parents should do the same.