[OPINION] Letter To America From A Liberal Gun Owner

By Sarah Zacharias

I am a liberal gun owner. I can outshoot my husband. For our first date, we ate venison and salad with wild mushrooms. I value my second amendment rights. I respect them as a part of America.

I am also a mom. My six and nine year old sons practice lockdowns at school. They have custom made cubbies to hide in that lock from the inside. I cannot help but wonder, why do we teach our children to be responsible to not get shot instead of teaching our gun owners not to allow children to be shot?

I don’t agree with gun prohibition. I have a gun in my closet and I have no intention of giving it up. Let me just say this, it is time for our conversation on reasonable gun control, and to aid the conversation I have created a list of 8 gun ideologies that have got to go. Let’s dive right in.

1). “But then only criminals will have guns.”

On Dec. 18, an MSNBC commentator on the Martin Bashir Show reported that gun owners are twelve to eighteen times as likely to die of a gunshot wound. So, if only criminals have guns, then only criminals will face that risk.

2). “If it wasn’t a gun, it would be a knife.”

Actually, fate granted us a random study of this on Dec. 14. On the same day that twenty children were shot to death in Newtown, CT there were 22 children stabbed in China. Not one of those children died. Given a choice between a semi automatic weapon and a knife, I pick knife.

3). “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”

Well, let’s look at the NRA’s statistics. In 2008 there were 592 accidental fire arm deaths. That is the equivalent of nearly 23 Newtown Connecticuts. Remember those tears you fought back all day Saturday as you held your kids close? Multiply it 23 times, every year, for all those lost to guns that killed people on accident, for all those times that people didn’t kill people but bullets did.

4). “If only one of the staff members at the elementary school had a gun.”

This is just an offshoot of, “I need a gun for self defense.” There are only about 215 justifiable homicides with fire arms in the US each year, according to FBI statistics. That’s less than half of the 592 that die accidentally.
This means that the 350 million guns in America are more than twice as likely to kill people on accident as they are to be used as tools by people who purposely and justifiably kill someone in an act of self defense. I am not willing to take those odds in an elementary school.

In fact, Lanza’s first victim on Dec. 14 wasn’t just his mom, or his teacher, she was also a gun owner who was murdered by her own son with her own gun.

5). “The right to bear arms is to protect our citizenry from tyranny.”

I have trouble knowing how I ought to address this. Am I to seriously understand that you think that there is a particular point at which it becomes justifiable to take up arms against the United States Government? Even if I could take this as a reasonable argument, I cannot fathom any citizen, or even a group of citizens, who has the firepower to do anything but hurt themselves. How on earth does any gun compare to the military might of the US Armed Forces? Which weapon exactly, do I use to take down an MQ9 Reaper Drone? What handgun do I use to defeat an Active Denial System, you know… those tanks that emit waves of radiation that burn the top layer of your skin off… Which handgun will stop a tyrannical oppressor with one of those?

6). “We need guns for hunting, without them, we won’t eat.”

Let’s add this up.

That makes $1265.00 to procure one deer for your family. If you get a lot of meat from a deer, say 125 pounds then you are paying roughly $9.88 per pound. Don’tcha think you could buy hamburger for cheaper?

7). “It is about mental health, not guns”

Let us assume a certain amount of truth in this. What if mental health troubles ate a common thread in gun violence, especially in cases of mass murder? Does that mean that mental health access and treatment will prevent mass murder? I don’t think so.

Even with easy access, and the availability of a cure we cannot ensure that a person who is sick enough to kill elementary children will seek help. In fact, many of these people are never even known to be sick except in bloody 20/20 hindsight.

8. “Any control at all is a slippery slope to full gun ban.”

This is an absurd argument. I, as a liberal, say the same thing when it is claimed that outlawing third trimester abortions is a slippery slope to complete ban of abortion. We have to be reasonable. We have to work on the actual problem at hand, dead first graders. The problem isn’t going away if we hide behind cop out arguments like the slippery slope. It can only go away if we all sit down, and honestly discuss solutions. Rhetoric, avoidance, blame shifting, faulty logic, and apathy have gotten us where we are today, with two children in caskets and 24 victims left to bury. If we as gun owners want to keep our guns, while ensuring the safety of our children, we must holster our fear of a slippery slope and put safety first no matter what.

(This article was originally published on Dec. 18, 2012 at Liberals Unite, http://samuel-warde.com)

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