Focus on Gun Control Is Misdirected

I am not a fan of guns. In fact, I am scared of them. I would make a terrible gun owner. That’s why I don’t own one. I don’t begrudge (legal) gun owners. My niece’s husband is an avid hunter on his own plot of farm land and took my son out for some winter deer hunting. (My son was decked out in orange and protective gear but did not carry a gun. I should also note that my niece’s husband did not shoot at anything in an effort to be as safe as possible while my son was under his watch. For that, I am grateful.). I do grapple with gun laws and marvel at how guns hold a certain glory among some people. I question our current laws, the state of our society, and the vehement rage that ensues from both sides when the issue of gun control crops up. And I can’t help but wonder why assault weapons are necessary, enjoyable, or legal. The hobbyist sportsmen and women among us do not need such weapons in their arsenal.

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It's an obscene twist it seems that after mass killings like the one in Aurora, Colorado last week, gun owners spin themselves as the victims. There are rants in defense of guns all over the media and blogosphere. My own Facebook feed is full of statistics supporting gun owners and various interpretations of the Second Amendment. We should be bowing our heads for the real victims and their families, not reaching for our beloved weapons and espousing what we woulda shoulda coulda done had we been on the scene. Now is not the time for the “what if” game. Now is not the time for blaming or judging. We should be coming together to mourn the loss of innocent lives at the hands of a sick man whose name needs no further mention. It is worth noting, however, that it is easier to get a gun in this country than sound mental health care. We are up in arms about the wrong issue here, folks.

My paradigm for the horror in Aurora centers on my friend’s experience couple years ago. He was shopping the aisles of Target with his 6-year-old daughter when an armed gun man rampaged through the store. He wrote of his experience, and the scene is chilling. His words move me as a parent more than as a gun control advocate. My first reaction is not how I would have fought back or been a hero. I cannot stop thinking about what I would do if my own young sons were caught in the line of fire. Honestly, I don’t think firing a concealed weapon would have done the job. The darkness, the chaos, the sheer emotion of it all would be crippling. I live in a state that allows concealed weapons ... in parks and in establishments that serve alcohol. Booze and guns are an especially bad combination, regardless where you fall in the gun control debate.

It seems a strange paradox to “fight fire with fire,” something akin to spanking a child for hitting his sibling. I simply cannot wrap my head around it.

But for now, my head and whatever thoughts of gun control are swirling around in it are not important. It is my heart that’s heavy.

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, see Where Do You Stand on the Gun Control Debate?


Image via Francois Polito/Wikimedia

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