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N.R.A. (Not Right America)

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I knew I would have to write about what happened in Sandy Hook.  I am from Connecticut, and I worked in Sandy Hook just over this past summer.  I have written a few blogs about gun control.  Also I was a teacher myself, and I even published a novel about a school shooting in 2011.  I will reference links to each work at the end of this article, to show that my position is not a knee jerk reaction, and in fact I still feel the same that I felt before this shooting--that the National Rifle Association still only cares about gun sales, that we need to keep the intention of the 2nd Amendment, but background checks must be conducted in all gun sales, and with now even stricter guidelines.  I decided to wait until the facts of the shooting in Sandy Hook came out, and the NRA made their statement.  Now in the words of Jules Winnfield from Inglewood--please allow me to retort.

The NRA and many other guns owners state the case that guns are a deterrent against "bad people."  In fact to quote NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun."  Now, never mind I find this simplistic labeling of "good guy/bad guy" a childish view when discussing a complex issue--for example George W. Bush speaking about foreign policy--this opinion also ignores the scenario where the bad guy with a gun is suicidal.  What does he care if you end his life, if he is already prepared to end his?  He may not get to carry out his ultimate goal, but you can learn from Kamikaze pilots and the 9/11 attacks, suicidal attackers cannot be deterred.  But yes, they can be stopped.  I mean we cannot deny that the Aurora shooter chose the one movie theater out of seven in his area that was a gun free zone.  

The threat of a gun does deter criminals.  But keeping with this childish viewpoint that all the good guys wear white, we can't assume that all good guys with guns will be responsible with them, have great accuracy and only kill the bad guys.  Conservative pundits like Bill O'Reilly, in speaking about gun control with Bob Costas just a week before the Sandy Hook shooting, he said that if people in the movie theater in Aurora had guns on them they could have taken down the shooter, and stopped the shooter before he took as many lives as he did.  Again this hypothesis is not only childish, but also unrealistic.  

Let's assume Dirty Harry isn't in the theater but instead, a lot of regular Americans are who hear gunshots in a dark movie theater and get nervous.  When a second shooter from the back of the theater attacks the shooter, what is there to tell the rest of the audience that the threat is over and not think that the second shooter is also part of the attack.  Now a third person with a gun, shoots at the second, and then a fourth fires at the third.  Now everyone in the dark theatre is shooting at everyone else, and there is not less carnage but more.  What if we arm every teacher with a gun, but some of them take students cues that wrong way and act irresponsible with the weapon?  Also, students now don't even have to bring a gun into school, but instead just manage to subdue one of the teachers.  Everyone armed is not necessarily a safer scenario.  Don't misunderstand what the NRA is promoting here is not a safer environment, but just a subtle way to drive up gun sales. 

Now some people still say they want to keep guns, but just not certain types of guns.  They want to ban handguns with more than 10 round clips.  They want to ban assault rifles.  Even the president said hunters don't need that type of gun.  And it's true, deer hunters don't need an AR-15 assault rifles--but revolutionaries do.  The true intention of the 2nd amendment is to have the people armed if there was ever the need to rise up against the well regulated militia for the state.  It's not for hunting, it's not for home protection, it's not to keep children safe at school.  We were given the right to bear arms in case we ever needed to rise up against an oppressive government.  This law was written by men who just won their independence from an oppressive government, so this scenario was possible to them.  Anti-gun proponents showed how on the same day when Sandy Hook occurred, in China a man stabbed school children.  Yes, there were no deaths and every parent would rather have that, but the man didn't choose a knife over a gun, he didn't have that option.  Why?  Because he resided in Communist China.  What other country did not have guns?  Nazi Germany.  

If we ever need to rise up against our government, we will need the best weapons we can get our hands on, not the safest.  If we are allowing guns because of the 2nd amendment than we have to allow the types of guns in the spirit of that cause: for the people to be able to fight back.  Fully automatic, extra-large magazines, body armor--that needs to be available to the public, otherwise we have failed in holding to the intention of the second amendment.  So no, I am not for the banning of these certain types of gun.

"But what about what these weapons do when in the hands of a maniac?"  Well yes it's horrible, but that's because it is in the hands of a "maniac".  I do not believe guns kill people, I believe people kill people, like so many gun enthusiasts believe.  However, if you subscribe to this belief, than you must be in favor of more extensive background checks.  Because, once you concede that it is people, and not guns that kill, then as a responsible state we must do everything in our power to prevent guns from getting into the hands of the wrong "people."  This means we cannot allow 40% of gun sales to be made without background checks, like we do in this country.  Gun shows where guns are sold like a flea market without any background check need to be abolished.  And citizens selling guns to other citizens needs to be treated worse than a drug sale, not a legal transaction.  Basically, attaining a cell phone should not require more personal information than a handgun.  Also the ante we require in the checks needs to be upped.  We need a database on the mentally ill.  Everyone who owns a gun should at least have to pass a basic mental illness test.  

Why screen for mental illness?  Because the culprits behind these school shootings, this innocent waste of public life are people who are mentally ill.  These are exactly the people who should not have guns in their hands, and we need to take every measure to prevent it.  Employers do background checks just to see if they should hire someone for a job like washing dishes, we can't make this mandatory for the purchase of an object that can take away so many lives in the matter of moments?  And a gun can do that in the wrong hands--gun enthusiasts, you cannot deny that--so we must do everything to prevent this scenario.

This is a compromise between the pro-gun and anti-gun factions, and this country was created on compromises.  We lost our way when we started to believe to never change our point of view, never give anything to the other side; and this is why now we are about to walk over a fiscal cliff, and our congress is as effective as a stringless guitar.  We need to compromise on this issue, that is how you properly end a debate, both sides give and both sides wins.  We need to allow any type of gun to be purchased by responsible Americans, anti-gun people.  It is their 2nd Amendment right, a right to be able to rise up against the government if need be.  We lose all our power if we secede this right.  But, we can't allow anyone to own a gun, gun enthusiasts.  Just because you are responsible does not mean everyone is, and we need to be able to determine who is and who isn't, and prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands, because they are powerful weapons.  

That is why they are valuable, dangerous, and also effective.  We can't put guns in everyone's hands--that is not safer, but we need to keep the spirit of the Second Amendment alive, but not put at risk the populace with a gun in the hands of the wrong person.  That is why I think simply tightening down on background checks, but allowing any type of gun to be sold to responsible people is a just compromise.  I don't see why either side would be against this compromise unless they only care about promoting their agenda and not what is best for this country.  Anti-gunners, guns will not fall into the wrong hands, and gun enthusiasts you can own any gun you want as long as you are responsible.  The 2nd Amendment right is not infringed, and the state can feel a little safer.  But again what do I know.  I have only written about this topic before"

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Drew D'Amato is the author of the novels Social Studies and Bloodlines. He also has a masters degree in history, and has taught at the high school and college levels. When not writing he spends his time getting himself into trouble.
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