My gun or yours?

I love the US. I grew up there. It’s my home. I love Texas. It’s the best state in the union. (or so we think.) Up to a few years ago I would’ve given anything to be able to move back. And then I had kids, and though I would love nothing more than to have them grow up there, because there are many, many wonderful things about the United States of America, I simply cannot imagine taking them voluntarily to a place where 27 people in an elementary school can be randomly gunned down by an idiot. (And also, healthcare is unacceptable, but that’s another post).

I live in Italy, there are hunters here too, people have guns in Italy too, one in six families, in fact, keep a firearm in the home. But to get a gun you have to jump through a thousand and one hoops, you are not allowed to walk around with a gun, you are not allowed to carry a concealed weapon, you are not allowed to walk into a public space with a gun, and, you are certainly not allowed to shoot a gun. Yes, you read that right. No shooting. Unless you’re in a shooting range, or aiming at ducks. You’re not even allowed to shoot someone invading your home unless they’ve shot a gun at you (although I personally don’t agree with this exaggerated interpretation of proportional force). What all this means is that Italians don’t take the use of guns in the same excessively cavalier, I done gone and shot him dead, way that Americans do.

Because guns here are scary, they’re seen as frightening, which frankly is the way it should be, because guns actually do shoot one dead. And sure, you can kill someone with a knife, or with a rope, or with your bare hands, in fact, but all these other ways of killing people take a certain degree of skill, whereas you barely need basic motor skills to kill someone with a gun. Guns are too damn easy to use, which is why they need to be regulated. I absolutely believe in the right to bear arms, but every right should be accompanied by obligations, by responsibilities and by limitations. Because it is absolutely unacceptable, in an evolved society, that small children be gunned down in the middle of the school day. We are not barbarians, we need to stop behaving that way. Guns have to be regulated, because we simply cannot count on every person toting a gun to be responsible, and the alternative is too horrifying to be left up to chance, we’ve had proof enough of that.

I’m guest posting over at my friend Bridget’s wonderful blog Twinisms later today, as she’s off enjoying a much deserved Hawaiian vacation. Please stop by and visit me there too!

6 thoughts on “My gun or yours?

  1. As a victim of stereotype and ignorance, I just can’t standby and listen to people lump a whole group into one with the one bad seed. The mobs did that with African Americans, Jewish and Muslims, Women and homosexuals. At every opportunity, the anti-gun lobbyists accredit every massacre accomplished with a fire arm to legal gun owners and it’s simply not the picture they paint. I personally know hunters and many gun owners personally and they are loving, law abiding, normal, family oriented, good citizens who take their responsibility VERY seriously. Many times, more than your average citizen with a car. I’m not pro-gun but I’m definitely NOT pro-lynch mob.

    • I agree with you, I too know plenty of gun owners who are responsible, good citizens, in fact, 100% of the gun owners I know are like that. And I’m certainly not advocating a mob mentality. But the problem, in my opinion, is that we can’t count on everyone being being responsible and just as we have limitations to drive a car (tests, licenses, speed limits etc), I believe we need limitations to buy a gun. And sure, in this particular situation he got his gun legally, but it’s the gun culture that is a problem, in my opinion, we don’t think about it twice, we carry them around, drive around with them, we can take them almost everywhere… this creates a sense of complacency towards a deadly and dangerous object. Thanks for your comment!

      • The perpetrator of this incredible crime did not, in fact, get his gun legally as you state; he killed his mother and stole her guns. I am a licensed holder of a concealed-carry permit in the state of Connecticut and I can assure you there are obligations, responsibilities and limitations on gun ownership. Far more than can be mentioned here. This is reasonable. I am part of the gun culture of which you speak and no, sir, we are not the problem. I have been part of this culture since I was 7 years old and I am now 46 years old with 5 children of my own. I have never and will never commit a gun crime. I am not unique among legal gun owners; I am the norm.
        Law-abiding gun owners are no more responsible for this crime than a responsible operator of a motor vehicle is for the actions of someone who gets behind the wheel drunk and kills someone.
        I’m sure you are a good person who would never condemn all members of a religious, ethnic or political group for the actions of one of their members. Please do not label all law-abiding gun owners as the problem due to a person who was not even among their number.
        This is a time for mourning the loss of 27 innocents. This is not a time for playing the blame game.

        Carter Sperry
        Plantsville, CT

      • Thanks Carter for your comment. Truth be told, I’m not playing the blame game, nor am I trying to go against people like you, who have grown up around guns and have a healthy respect for them. I know that most gun owners are perfectly sane, normal, law-abiding people who would never commit a crime, but I’m expressing the opinion of a person who knows and has experienced the American “gun culture” as you say, but has a different perspective from living abroad now. I’m not condemning anyone, I’m not saying that just because you own a gun, or several guns, that you are more likely to commit mass murder than someone who doesn’t own a gun but t don’t believe that it is acceptable for anyone to buy a rifle with a high capacity magazine, nor do I believe that civilians should use military style firearms. Certain things need to be regulated, limited, in my opinion. This is absolutely the time to mourn the 27 lives lost, but it can also be a time to offer solutions to a problem that is ongoing in the US and that only keeps getting worst.
        Thanks again for your comment, and for signing your name.

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