Guns Do, In Fact, Kill People

Let’s not deny it’s our right to own them. And let’s not pretend they’re for anything other than taking life.

By Josh Kruger
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 15 | Posted Jun. 4, 2014

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I first learned to shoot a gun when I was about ten years old. My father, a Marine and a Vietnam War veteran, took me up to the rolling mountains near the New York-Pennsylvania border to practice. Before, during, and after the lesson, he seriously and eloquently explained why: He and many others had fought for the American way of life, including the right to bear arms. As I was about to embark on adolescence and transition into manhood, it was time, he said, I learned how to be an American.

I remember the recoil of the 9mm pistol hurting my little boy hands; I much preferred the .22 rifle, resting comfortably in my tiny shoulder and making a hissing pop each time I gently squeezed the trigger. The initial experience was not exhilarating, and it wasn’t awesomely powerful.

This is likely why gun fetishists—not enthusiasts, fetishists—disturb me greatly.

Up there near Bloomsburg, Pa., 20 years ago, my dad taught me that violence was a last resort: There was nothing fun about it, and it wasn’t something to be joked about. Violence and death are scary, disturbing things. Good guys prevent it, bad guys spread it, and it’s up to responsible Americans to keep the bad guys in check, he’d say.

As my father had hoped, it was disturbing to me. I received his transmission loud and clear: Guns aren’t cool and they aren’t just a hobby. They’re a tool with one primary purpose: to kill or maim another living thing.

“If you point a gun at someone,” my dad solemnly told me, “you’ve indicated you’re willing to kill them. So, unless you are ready to end someone’s life, do not point a gun at them, ever.” He taught me this in addition to a lot of other standard gun safety protocols: No matter what, if someone gives you a gun, drop the magazine and check the chamber, for instance. “It doesn’t matter if they say it’s not loaded,” he explained, “It is your responsibility to check for yourself.”

Above all else, he said, respect the awesome power contained in these little machines. They are for killing and, by extension, preventing killing by threatening killing.

Freedoms are worthless
unless they’re regularly, and sometimes provocatively, exercised. One of the strongest freedoms that exists in the United States is the right to bear arms. Guaranteed under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the right to bear arms has expanded from just the “well-regulated militia” in the original text to include private handgun ownership, too.

Interestingly enough, I heard nothing about “liberal activist judges” when the Supreme Court expanded Second Amendment rights last decade; I guess we only complain about “judicial fiats” when they work against conservative sensibilities. Anyway, gun rights have always been here and have recently expanded and been reasserted. More to the point: Contrary to the sentiments of my liberal friends against gun rights, the Second Amendment is as American as apple pie or Judge Judy. Short of a constitutional amendment, there’s literally nothing anyone can do to infringe on private gun ownership.

Nor should they, either.

It’s my right to own a Glock. If you disagree with this, fine: Amend the Constitution. If you don’t think you can do that, then maybe you should figure out ways to mitigate gun deaths like, you know, magazine limits or actual enforcement of gun laws and rigorous background checks.

On the other side of the debate, organizations like the NRA previously focused on gun safety but are now apparently one big gun industry advertorial, scream about rights being curtailed disingenuously. This irritates the fuck out of most responsibly-armed Americans, who, by and large, and this should say something, despise the NRA.

The U.S. government has no power whatsoever to take away your guns outside of a total collapse of the U.S. system or constitutional amendment. Anyone today who believes that the “gubment” is about to confiscate their guns by disregarding the Constitution is being ignorant—willfully or otherwise—to the way laws are made. Sorry, Tea Partiers: If you’re determined to see yourselves as Patrick Henry, you really need to stop acting like Elmer Fudd. Because guess what: Those who tell you the government can or will take away your guns are liars with lies coming out of their lying mouths. They’re ignoring the gun rights expansion under Washington DC v. Heller, decided last decade by those “activist judges” on the Roberts Court.

Those who aren’t lunatics or felons have a right to own guns. Curiously, some people think even lunatics and felons should own guns. To those people, I say: You’re likely a lunatic or a felon. And, the Supreme Court has ruled prior to Heller that the government does in fact have a right to curtail access to guns with background checks, limits on frequency of purchase, and other similar measures.

Outside of these measures, though? Nope.

It is no coincidence that the right of American citizens to own guns comes immediately following the First Amendment. While gun ownership is certainly not more important than speech or assembly, it’s obviously important enough to emphasize even before the right to a fair trial.

Then again, the founders weren’t exactly ready to think about spree shootings with old time-y muskets.

And they weren’t necessarily prepared for an entire generation of people who fetishize, instead of fear, violence.

These are the facts:
Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths. In states with “stand your ground” laws like the one George Zimmerman hid behind like the little racist pussy he is, gun deaths and injuries increase. Where there is more access to guns, and where guns are sold-prolifically, there is more pain, death, and misery.

These things are not matters of opinion. They are not in dispute. They are facts.

The question before us is how much American pain, misery, and death are we willing to tolerate so that Elmer Fudd can feel better about, I don’t know, not being able to sexually please his wife. Where is the line between personal freedom and public safety? This is the debate we must have. This is the discussion we must have.

The NRA and like-minded shills don’t speak for me, and polls show they don’t speak for the silent majority of responsible gun owners who feel no need to openly carry an AK-47 into Chipotle. Rational, compassionate, empathetic, freedom-loving Americans are not threatened by trigger locks, magazine limits or background checks. We are not threatened by sensible gun measures, and we so desperately want an end to this carnage we see every day with each new tragedy befalling the nation.

Until some people, and I mean gun rights fetishists, calm the fuck down, we’re going to keep screaming at each other and losing sight of the facts. And we’re going to endure more pain, death, and misery as a result.

Don’t let them confuse the debate. It’s about fucking time the adults had an adult discussion and let the cartoonish, gun-toting morons sit at the kiddy table while we sort this shit out.

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Comments 1 - 15 of 15
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1. Julia said... on Jun 4, 2014 at 02:56PM

“thank you. I don't own a gun nor would I ever. I also don't want to take all your guns away but I do want to be safe. We need more gun owners taking the frontlines in the fight for gun violence prevention. These fights include all the reasonable regulations you mentioned and have nothing to do with wanting to take away all your guns.”

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2. Bob Dobolino said... on Jun 4, 2014 at 03:27PM

“Hey bud, knives, blunt objects and hands kill way more people each year than guns do. Maybe think about that before you try to erase any portion of the bill of rights. I'd suggest getting rid of the 16th amendment, rather than the 2nd amendment.”

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3. Frank Rizzo said... on Jun 4, 2014 at 03:30PM

“And the "facts" you speak of are not cited in your article, regarding higher rates of violence, "where there are more guns". DC and NYC for example have quite a bit of gun violence, yet low rates of gun ownership as it is extremely difficult to possess a firearm "legally" in DC and NYC. Nor are the lives that are saved by "guns" ever mentioned by guys like you.”

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4. Rich said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 12:07PM

“your mother should have soaped your mouth”

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5. desert rose said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 01:01PM

“The problem with your statement that confiscation is not a goal and will never happen in the US is that it has already happened, in California. It has also been threatened in NY state, Conn, and repeatedly by Feinstein.
So arguments like yours come with a serious built in credibility problem.”

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6. Sian said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 01:35PM

“You have some serious factual issues with your article, and the several good points you make are eclipsed by your blind devotion to some of the lies floating about there.

"The U.S. government has no power whatsoever to take away your guns outside of a total collapse of the U.S. system or constitutional amendment."

This can and has happened in California, Louisiana, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.

"Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths."

This is actually true, but only because the majority of gun deaths are suicides and tt's simply ready accessibility to a tool. Violent crime on the other hand is reduced when there are more legal guns.

"In states with “stand your ground” laws like the one George Zimmerman hid behind"

Firstly more states have these statues than do not. Second, SYG had exactly zero to do with the Zimmerman case. There is no opportunity to retreat when you are on your back and having your head pounded into the pavement.”

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7. Sian said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 01:38PM

“"Where is the line between personal freedom and public safety? This is the debate we must have. This is the discussion we must have."

The founding fathers seemed to believe that it was necessary to the security of a free state, and evidence has so far borne this out. What is the point of laws like 1 gun per month or magazine limits when nobody can show exactly how this benefits public safety? At what point are symbolic feel-good laws more important than our consitutional rights?”

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8. james said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 03:47PM

“Any gun control is too much. This is something libtards can not understand. "Shall not be infringed" means just that. The militia is composed up of all citizens of the United States. There is a difference between the militia and the military. Get some real common sense not the "common sense" democraps want to pass off as the norm.”

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9. Anonymous said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 04:15PM

“And you don't speak for me and millions of others.

Guns, in fact, ARE cool. Entirely cool. Individually-empowering cool. Constitutionally protected cool.

And YOU are NOT.”

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10. MrApple said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 04:29PM

“"Guns Do, In Fact, Kill People"
Do matches, in fact, commit arson?
Do pencils, in fact, misspell words?
Do spoons/forks, in fact, make people eat?
Do cars, in fact, drive drunk or speed?
Do hammers, in fact, build homes?

NEVER forget that it is ALWAYS the person holding the tool who is ultimately responsible for how that tool is used.”

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11. BeeK said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 06:05PM

“So guns are NEVER used solely as a deterrent? And they are NEVER used for sporting purposes? And they are NEVER used to non-lethally incapacitate?

Hmmm if guns are only used for taking life, then that makes them the least efficient technology ever devised by human beings. 300 million civilian guns in American...99.9999% of which will never be used to kill someone. What a crappy invention...unless of course you're just grasping at straws.”

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12. Anonymous said... on Jun 6, 2014 at 08:44PM

“My guns must be defective. I've owned them my whole life and all they've ever done is shot up paper targets, bottles, cans, and sometimes old appliances. When should I expect them to start killing on their own?”

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13. Anonymous said... on Jun 7, 2014 at 07:27AM

“"Scatterbrained" would be the polite way to describe this article, I suppose. One thing I must correct you on though: the Constitution does not give us our rights. It guarantees these rights, but only in so far as men obey it. Clearly, we have,of late, a problem with men obeying it. The second thing to correct you on is that gun confiscation is in fact happening in some states as others have pointed out. Quit implying that people who understand these facts are paranoid. It's a ridiculous argument. It's like saying that the Jews who feared the Holocaust were paranoid. No they were not. No we are not. We simply understand the facts.”

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14. textopcat said... on Jun 7, 2014 at 08:27AM

“When someone uses the term "gun violence" they are attempting to mis-lead the conversation. Violence using a gun as a tool can be good (e.g preventing a murder) or bad (e.g. murder). We need to always remember that gun violence or threat of gun violence is used many more times to prevent violent crime and used by criminals. We should always use the term "Criminal Violence" when we actually care about saving lives. Killed by a gun is no different than being killed by a knife, you are dead in either case.”

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15. michael said... on Jun 7, 2014 at 01:26PM

“If places that have high accessibility to guns have high injury and death counts. Why do places like 1) Chicago 2) Detroit 3) Washington DC and finally 4) New Orleans. Have the highest Brady Campaign ratings, and have the toughest gun laws in the US of A, but yet they account for over 90% of all homicides that include firearm use?

Your logic and method of thinking is seriously flawed if you think a chuck of metal and polymer can kill, on it's own accord.”


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