Sunday, December 6, 2015

Gun Safety v. Gun Control

As I updated my legislative tracking list yesterday, I cheered because a few of our Democratic leaders in South Carolina are loading up the House and Senate with gun bills.  But I grimaced every time I entered the preferred term "gun safety" rather than "gun control."

We Dems don't much like to fight.  We operate under the delusion that if we frame what we are doing in more peaceable terms, our opponents will look thoughtful, shrug and then say, "Well, then, I never thought of it that way."

Meanwhile, republican wingnuts (pardon my redundancy), harbor no such concerns about our feelings when they are talking about gun "freedom."  The same holds true when they proudly claim that they are "anti-abortion" as opposed to our gentler "pro-choice."

This is a battle of words, but the words represent how strongly we feel about going to war.  There is a reason that while my car is laden with political bumper stickers, I have passed up the opportunity to advertise my gun control sentiments.  The reason is twofold:  those who disagree are more willing to fight over it, and they are armed.

It is a good thing that we have legislators like Marlon Kimpson in the Senate and Wendell Gilliard in the House that are ready to stand up against the legislators who have drunk the NRA cool-aid that is killing off so many innocent people.  It is going to take not just a slew of bills, but it is going to take courageous co-sponsors, and it is going to take South Carolinians who are willing to yell louder and and yell every day until those bills are passed.

We need to stop worrying about what to call it, and how it will affect gun owners.  We have had enough polls showing that sane gun owners, including NRA members, want gun control.  They want licensing, background checks, waiting periods, and controls on what type of weapons are for sale.  The lunatics that are afraid that Obama is coming after their guns, that yell about Second Amendment rights without a clue about the meaning or history of the Constitution, are not going to be swayed by reasoned, gentler language.  They are bullies, and they are bullies with guns.  The way to stop a bully is through a show of strength and through fearlessness -- and I don't mean bigger bullets.

When someone rants about taking his (or her) gun away, I am tempted to point out that "you are exactly the type of person who should not own a gun."  Fact.  If you have irrational fears and anger issues, you shouldn't have a gun.  The shootings we have been subject to on a daily basis, whether mass shootings, terrorist attacks, gangbangers or paranoid or depressed loners, have gone on too long.  The rage and fear has been stoked by politicians who are bought by the NRA who exists solely for the arms manufacturers.  Lindsey Graham and Lee Bright, and all in their club, bear responsibility for what is going on in this country.  Their constant and unreasoned criticism of our country, their insistence that we are in danger and our national government is not doing anything about it, their targeting groups based on race, sex, sexual orientation, all feed the mob.

We need strong language, fearless language, and a determination not to stop fighting.  So join the lawmakers who have stepped up to fight this fight.  Letters to the editor, calls, emails, talking to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, posting on social media -- the only way to stop a bully with a gun is to take away the gun.

And here is a PS:  we need bills that will carry penalties for individuals whose carelessness has left guns in the wrong hands.  Too many toddlers getting killed playing with their dad's weapon.  Painting toy guns pretty colors isn't going to do it.