Gun Ownership and Responsibility

by Jeph Johnson


More people were shot to death in my home state of Oregon last week.

This time it was at a community college in Roseberg, a city I have only visited once but a city I explored and have memories to cherish.


This was the third mass shooting in my state in the last 17 years.

Springfield's Thurston High School fell victim in 1998.


As recently as 2012 shots were fired and killed two innocent and one guilty person at the Clackamas Town Center mall, less than two miles from my home.


Feeling helpless, as I only have one vote and no money to influence politicians or lobbyists, I decided to do what only people in my situation can do these days: I decided to post a meme on Facebook suggesting that owning and shooting guns be taken at least as seriously as driving and owning cars; and therefore regulated better by government agencies and police forces.

  • It proposed a few reasonable ideas:
  • Requiring competency testing before acquiring a gun
  • Requiring "learners permits" for training purposes
  • Requiring insurance in case of accidents as well as liability for misuse
  • Licenses should be revoked when guns are misused or fired under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Convicted felons should not be allowed gun ownership rights
  • We should have periodic renewals of registration
  • There should be documentation of title transfer when a sale is made


...ya know, all the stuff we accept as a society when choosing to drive a motor vehicle.


I know, several of these ideas have been implemented already in different places, and frankly I don't really know or care to know their effectiveness because statistics are unreliable.


When bringing up these suggestions gun rights supporter friends of mine brought up the fact that driving a car is just a privilege, not a "right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution."


Well to that end I have two important thoughts:


1. The first is the obvious one, that cars were not invented when the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was written and therefore no more relevant today than the laws we didn't have back then regarding so many other important rights like females voting and blacks not being enslaved etc.


2. The second is, if it takes a repeal of the 2nd Amendment to get our gun problem solved, I think that would piss off guns rights enthusiasts more than these proposed ideas do. Do you really want to go down that route? I don't. Indeed it would upset me too (and I don't even want to own a gun!).


So gun owners, why not comply with these simple ideas to help ensure we have "responsible gun owners" rather than taking everyone's word for it when they cite that these laws only hurt "responsible gun owners." Umm, no. Driver's tests don't ONLY hurt good drivers.


When I make this comparison, which truly is an "apples to oranges" comparison, gun rights supporters try to argue that even during our shooting spree crisis, fatalities due to car accidents vastly outnumber those due to gunshot wounds.


Well of course they do!


Just as in America dog bites outnumber lion attacks too. That doesn't mean we want everyone buying a pet lion to walk down the street for its morning poo. Yeah, even tame lions need some regulations placed upon them.


Besides, car accidents are more prevalent because tens of thousands of cars are driven everyday, all day, by a huge percentage of the population. Even the most adamant gun aficionado probably doesn't shoot their gun as often as they drive their car!


Also very few car fatalities are caused by the ill intent of the driver.


Sure, some are. In fact, in 1997, just one day after Princess Diana died in an automobile accident, my own cousin was killed by a driver who got drunk and intentionally drove head on into him on the freeway.


Ya know what? When this happened it didn't make me curse that there were too many laws regarding cars!




This isn't a call for gun enthusiasts to start collecting statistics on how many car accidents were intentional either!


Besides, who knows how many mentally unstable people didn't get behind the wheel of an automobile to kill themselves because they found the idea of obtaining a car too difficult and instead (hopefully got help but at least) chose to off themselves a different way that didn't involve the senseless death of others?


The point is, to compare fatality statistics from cars vs. fatality statistics from guns is irrelevant and unimportant to the real point.


Guns are designed to destroy living things. Cars aren't. Still BOTH are dangerous and need regulation. Since a gun's primary purpose is to kill, I believe guns should be regulated AT LEAST as stringently as cars and likely even more so.


Any argument saying "it won't help" is futile because I know this for a fact:

Giving a gun to someone untrained and incompetent is more dangerous than giving a gun to someone trained and competent. I don't need statistics to use those common reasoning skills.

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