Dear firearm owner. Thank you for reading.
First off, we will assume that you have good intentions. You own a firearm or many firearms because:
1) you hunt animals to provide your family with animal protein,
2) you are skilled and proficient with the use of these weapons and you go to firing ranges in the same way that golfers go to driving ranges,
3) you inherited these firearms from family members and you treasure the memories associated with these objects,
4) you are steeped in an ethnic and historical tradition of owning firearms to protect yourself and your family,
5) you are a US citizen who believes in second amendment rights,
6) you have voluntarily registered your firearm with a regulatory organization. Should your weapon(s) be stolen, you would report the theft to the police, and
7) you consciously remove bullets from the weapon; you lock the weapon and its ammunition in separate, secure containers to ensure the safety of your loved ones.
So far, so good. You seem to be a responsible human being, acutely aware that your firearms have the potential to be used to kill people or to commit a crime.
Now here's the challenge.
While there are firearm owners who willingly observe any of the above, there are organizations - well funded by weapons manufacturers - who lobby the US government to prevent it from regulating the possession or use of firearms in any way.
This allows irresponsible, dangerous, murderous, mentally unstable people to acquire firearms without any provisions for tracking or monitoring the arsenals they may be gathering.
This means if somebody reports murderous threats that an ex-partner, ex-employee, ex-associate has uttered against them, police have few or no records to verify if this individual has the means to carry them out.
In an odd twist recently, it appears mothers against Open Carry and the powerful NRA are moving towards a showdown; will the Second amendment triumph over motherhood?
And when people start openly carrying firearms in some US states under the guise of wanting to defend themselves against imagined or possible threats, we have to ask themselves:
Will this individual shoot us? We have no way of knowing if an individual holding a firearm is a responsible owner or someone about to deliberately commit murder.
Are we overreacting?
In 2010, guns took the lives of 31,076 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour.
73,505 Americans were treated in hospital emergency departments for non-fatal gunshot wounds in 2010.
Firearms were the third-leading cause of injury-related deaths nationwide in 2010, following poisoning and motor vehicle accidents.
Between 1955 and 1975, the Vietnam War killed over 58,000 American soldiers – less than the number of civilians killed with guns in the US in an average two-year period.
In the first seven years of the US-Iraq War, over 4,400 American soldiers were killed. Almost as many civilians are killed with guns in the US, however, every seven weeks.
You, the responsible firearm owner may think you don’t know anyone who would actually shoot and kill somebody or allow their firearms exploited this way but consider the sheer number of deaths from shootings that occur every year.
Fortunately, you’re a responsible firearm owner. We’ve established that. Now that you’re aware that there’s a problem, you are going to go out of your way to fix it, correct?
This does NOTHING to fix the problem, nor to indicate any goodwill and collaboration in preventing future mass shootings. Who exactly, funds the Canadian National Firearms Association? And how much did the weapons manufacturing industry pay Harper's Reform-Conservative-Evangelical party to destroy the long-gun registry?
The current state of firearms control in Canada, here.
Much gratitude to Shrödinger's Rapist, a brilliant blogpost that first developed this analogy with regard to a reasonable reticence that women may have when trusting men.