Tyler Tyack, Columnist
Five people. Five innocent people had their lives cut short on Friday in Burlington Washington. Why? Gun violence.
I want to make my thoughts clear; I DO NOT fault any of the law abiding gun owners for these mass shootings. The citizens who have followed the laws and rules regarding firearms are not to blame for the acts of the few, yet increasingly more common, mass killers. They are incorrectly grouped with these malicious people because they have chosen to exercise their Second Amendment Right.
Yet here we are again. Another shooting, more lives ended senselessly. Guns are getting into the hands of the wrong people, and it would seem that any attempt to curb this is always considered “too drastic.” Some common sense ideas, like prohibiting firearms purchases by people on the Federal No-Fly list, are branded as attempts by the government to infringe on our Constitutional Rights. Why? How is this happening? I understand that it is a right to bare arms, but we need to know WHO has guns and why they need them.
I do cringe at how the media portrays gun violence. The term “assault weapon” is clearly overused. Everything is an assault weapon now it would seem. And the media always demonizes gun owners for being stubborn anarchists who want to use their weapons against the government. While I’m sure that there are some crazies that are hunkered down in their basement fallout shelters with the above intention, we know that vast majority of gun owners have no ill-will in their purchase of a firearm.
Now here is where I make a controversial suggestion; gun owners, give up some of your rights willingly. The government doesn’t want to take your guns, they could not and would not anyway. I know that you are not the stubborn right-wingers that the media portrays you as, but in order to tell the world that, you need to go over and above the reasonable response. Do you really need a 50 round magazine? And do you really need to buy ammunition buy the case? My suggestion is one of compromise; you keep your guns, but no one gets to create an arsenal in their garage.
There should be a set limit on how many guns you can own in the future. This way, if you already have your arsenal in place, the Government won’t come knocking at your door to take your property. People with firearms and, hopefully, the required permits should undergo a psychiatric evaluation when it comes time for renewal. This should be free of charge,as it is for the Government’s well-being, and not the fault of the average gun owner. Finally, there needs to be a reasonable annual purchasing limit on ammunition. There should certainly be some alarm bells going of if someone is purchasing 50,000 rounds of ammunition, unless it is a certified person or organization. These points need further elaboration, and that is a job for all of us. We need to have a talk about guns, one that doesn’t include the anti-gun left and the radical right figureheads at the center of the stage.
Please, I implore you to take politics out of this debate. Clearly the wrong people are getting guns, and that needs to be stopped. Yes, it IS your right to have as big a magazine as you want for your firearm, and yes it IS your right to purchase large amounts of ammunition, but I ask you now; if you could save the lives of five people in Washington, or 49 people in Orlando, or five officers in Dallas by surrendering some of those rights, would you? I know that you did nothing wrong, but does that mean you shouldn’t make sacrifices? After all, we have no malicious intentions when we get on an airplane, yet we still cannot bring toenail clippers or tweezers on a flight. Isn’t that a right we had once too?
I am of course referring to the US response to the September Eleventh terrorist attacks in 2001. On that day, 2,996 people were murdered on our own soil, and that number is still growing. However, in 2012 alone, 8,897 people were killed by firearms, as recorded by the FBI. And that number is only calculated from homicides, not suicides or accidents. Now if we can’t bring sharp objects on a plane because of the tragedies of 9/11, why are we still able to buy weapons that have contributed to nearly three times as many deaths in one year alone?
I’m not saying that all guns should be banned, but instead that we all have the ability to make this country safer by voluntarily waiving some of our rights. As I said before, if you had the opportunity to save a life by giving up one of your rights, would you?