In light of President Obama’s recent expansion of background checks via his executive order and his State of the Union address, this gun owner thought he’d put together a wish list related to gun issues in this country, coupled with a reality check.
It’s likely something in this column will aggravate and accommodate people on both sides of this multi-layered issue — for they are matters of conscience, community and fears passed down for generations – even as we continue to lead all of the (wild) Western World in gun violence.
I wish …
I wish that we were not a society that revels in our own violent history of killing, conquest and subjugation, mostly with guns, but we are.
I wish that our appetite for violence did not drive virtually all our media consumption from sports to video games to television to movies and books, but it does.
I wish that, as in England, guns could be limited almost exclusively to sporting instruments, but with some 300 million from AK-47s to derringers already in the hands of the general populous, we can’t – though we certainly can, and should follow President Ronald Reagan’s advice and ban future sales of assault weapons to civilians.
I wish that monsters who gather guns for the purpose of committing mass murder or even the taking a single life had one purple eye and one red eye, so that we could identify them and keep guns out of their hands, but they don’t. Still, we can support reasonable measures, like expanded background checks and an extended waiting period, when necessary, for purchasers, as President Obama has recommended.
I wish these traveling gun shows were banned entirely, but they won’t be – at least not in most places.
I wish open-carry was banned in all 50 states, but it won’t be — as long as Texas, for better or worse, remains part of the Union.
I wish concealed carry was legal in all 50 states and permits were easier to get (perhaps at the same time as getting a driver’s license), but such changes will take time. Anti-gun activists can kick about it all they want, but short of a constitution amendment, there is a clear right to keep and to bear arms.
I wish we would eliminate these ridiculous “gun free” zones (except INSIDE schools and certain government and court buildings), but that will be like pulling teeth from an angry she-wolf who thinks she is doing something to protect her young, but she isn’t.
I wish we didn’t need guns in our society for defense of self, family, home and business, but we do. Unless you are one of the very few families with a truly secure “safe room”, there is no substitute for a .357 revolver to protect yourself and your family during the minutes it takes even a very good police department to arrive after a 9-1-1 call.
I wish there was a requirement that gun-owners must keep all weapons and ammunition in a gun safe or otherwise secured at all times (except for a “nightstand defense weapon”), but there won’t be any time soon.
I wish that the U.S. Congress was not wholly owned by National Rifle Association, but it is.
I wish that we lived in a society that cared as much about the wounds and deaths inflicted regularly, almost daily, by guns on inner-city children and teens as we do about the occasional mass shooting in a suburban school, but we don’t – and aren’t likely to any time soon.
I wish we would stop talking about the cheap and easy way to protect our schools by arming teachers, who are just not emotionally prepared to handle a moment of extreme and violent crisis, but many won’t.
I wish, instead, we would talk about moving or creating police substations in ALL of our schools; thus, putting the right people in the right place to handle an active shooter and teaching children from an early age to see police officers as protectors and positive members of their community, instead of drive-by occupiers as they are seen in many neighborhoods, but we won’t.
I wish there was a way other than a heavily armed citizenry to ensure that neither tyrants nor foreign aggressors ever rule our nation, but in the final analysis, there isn’t.
Louis Hillary Park is an Ole Miss journalism alum who spent some 30 years in the newspaper business in Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. He now is involved in web site development and social media marketing. His first novel, Wolf’s Run, came out in 2010 and is available at Amazon.com; his second novel, Hard News, is scheduled for release in fall 2016. He resides in Palm Beach County, Florida with his wife, Joyce. He can be reached at LOUIS_PARK@pba.edu.