Time and time again, I hear about this mass of reasonable gun owners who are dismayed by events like the one in Wisconsin this Sunday. I hear, endlessly, about the "responsible" gun owners of this country. I have no doubt that they exist. I know a great many of them, some of them friends of mine from Wisconsin itself. They are people of good will with whom I disagree. My question is: Where in the hell are all the "responsible" people today? Where were they two weeks ago? Make no mistake. Without them, this profound problem cannot be solved. If they are the majority — and god knows, I hope that's the case — then why don't they wrest control of their side of the issue, and of the NRA itself, from the crazy mountebanks who are only in it for the buck? I am quite sincere about this, and I'd like any gun owners who read this blog, and especially any members of the NRA, to provide me with an answer. Where are you people?Okay, let's have this conversation. More particularly, let's talk about compromise and gun laws in the United States. Like you, I am dismayed by gun violence, but I'm not sure how to go about stopping it. As a long-serving police officer, I deal with violence every day and I sincerely hope that one day we'll figure out how to stop violence. However, when something like this happens "violence" becomes a synonym for my guns. All the way back to 1968, guns have been blamed for violence and the laws that have been enacted since that time have done nothing to reduce violence and have resulted in a hodge-podge of laws that make no sense to most people. Tiny little jots and tittles in the law have resulted in some unforseen consequences that make no sense to most people.
For example. If I decide to give a gun to my brother, who lives in another state, I must jump through several regulatory hoops at the risk of becoming a felon simply because I give a gift to my brother. This law does nothing to decrease gun violence, yet there it is on the books. Or, you loan a rifle to a friend who takes it to the range. It malfunctions and fires three rounds, yet you're sent to prison for modifying a rifle. It doesn't matter that the rifle was loaned out when it malfunctioned, it doesn't matter that the owner was not even present when the rifle broke. These things happen. Good people are sent to jail because of the unintended consequences of laws that were written to reduce violence.
But, let's have this conversation anyway. In any good discussion, there is room for debate and compromise. Compromise, you remember that? Where one side gives up something and the other side gives up something, and they come to a conclusion that no one really likes, but both sides can live with? Okay, lets talk about compromise. What are you willing to give up to stop violence?
That's the problem. Your side has nothing to bring to the table. Let's start this conversation by resetting the clock to 1968 when there was arguable less gun violence in the US. All gun laws in the US made before 1968 are repealed in their entirety. Everything. Lets start clean and have the conversation. For you see, each compromise since 1968 on gun violence have led to this hodge-podge of laws that put responsible people at peril every time they want to exercise their rights and pursue their hobby. In today's America, gun enthusiasts practice the hobby at peril.
What do you have to bring to the table? And you see, there's the rub. You want to restrict my rights, but you have nothing to give in return. We have compromised and we've lost, every time. I'm willing to be reasonable, but I want to see what you put on the table. What are you willing to give up? Until then, it's not a conversation, a give-and-take. Until you're willing to put something aside, it's tyranny.
There's the problem with this conversation. My guns hurt no one over the weekend. They barked and roared in perfect safety. The sat quietly in my closet, in my house, on my hip and didn't harm a soul. I'm a reasonable man, and I'm appalled at violence. Let's have this conversation. What are you willing to give up?