Friday, July 27, 2012

How I Ended My Lifelong Love Affair With Guns - Chauncey Hollingsworth - The Atlantic

How I Ended My Lifelong Love Affair With Guns - Chauncey Hollingsworth - The Atlantic

....But the sad fact is that American society can no longer handle the responsibility of private gun ownership. We've lost whatever internal gyroscopes enabled us to monitor ourselves and our conduct. We need stronger legal controls on gun ownership, including not only background checks but mental fitness exams and mandatory training. There should be at least as much required to own a gun as there is to obtain a driver's license. Instead, even people on the government's terrorist watch list are legally able to purchase firearms.

We're living in the time of conceal-and-carry permits, of "stand your ground" laws that put the onus on the dead, not the shooters, to justify their intentions. The NRA has called for guns to be allowed in bars, in churches, in schools. Such proposals would create a paranoid, jumpy free-for-all far deadlier than anything in the Wild West.

We see gun violence - Columbine, gang shootings, this Holmes guy in a movie theatre -- and we buy the rhetoric that we need to defend ourselves - with more guns, of course. We stock up on ammo, get the conceal-and-carry permit, and we complete the process of fulfilling our fears (not our hopes). In other words, we become part of the problem. And now we're standing, guns drawn at ourselves, poised in a standoff that is all too American.

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