|Kept you waiting, huh?|
I love guns. That much should be obvious; people typically don't write blogs about shooters without taking a serious interest in their real-world equivalents. I've been fascinated by the things ever since I was a kid. Like everyone else who hasn't been under a rock since mid-December, my news feed has been lit up daily about the events at Sandy Hook Elementary and the immediate political impact it has had on the United States. Now, I know where I stand - I like guns, and to me, the Second Amendment is very clear cut in its protections of civilian firearm ownership, especially in the historical context of the Bill of Rights. The D.C. v. Heller case, and later, McDonald v. Chicago established that yes, the Second Amendment protects individual firearm ownership (i.e., it's not about the National Guard), and that weapons considered "in common use" were specifically protected by the Second Amendment.
And yet, here we are, with Sen. Diane Feinstein and the Obama administration attempting to strip away firearms they've deemed "assault weapons" (despite having no difference in function to traditional semiautomatic firearms) and "high capacity clips" (i.e., standard capacity magazines). Vice President Biden fully admits that none of these proposed regulations are likely to stop mass shootings, yet they plan to move forward with them anyway. This is despite the fact that the real effect will likely be an increased likelihood of death for any law abiding citizen faced with multiple attackers when seconds count - a crazed gunman facing no resistance has plenty of time to reload 10-round magazines, but if I'm facing multiple attackers with just my FNP-9, I want all 16+1 rounds of 9mm in my weapon at once. People constantly tell me I'm paranoid for even thinking that's a possibility outside of the ghetto (where I used to live), but it can and does happen, no matter where you live.
|Remember: efficient self-defense is only for the privileged. So sayeth the Brady Campaign.|
It was an accusation that made my blood boil.
Let me give you some background to this - growing up, my parents did not want me anywhere near firearms. I've always had a short temper, yet rarely was ever moved to actual violence with the exception of one short-lived fight in middle school. I was always all bark and no bite, mostly because I a.) didn't want to get into trouble, and b.) have never been physically capable of being a good fighter thanks to being both out of shape and asthmatic growing up. I've made great strides towards fixing the latter issue, but the former has still prevented me from ever resorting to resolving issues with violence, even though I now carry the aforementioned FNP-9 on my hip wherever I'm legally allowed to and keep multiple firearms - including an AR-15 I built in college - in my apartment. Like tens of millions of other sane, gun-owning Americans, I'd prefer not to torment myself by knowing I took another man's life unless it was absolutely necessary.
As a child, my experience with firearms and violence in general was exceptionally limited. Despite having two parents who were active military and later in the Reserves, I never fired a gun nor did anyone in my family own a firearm until I was 19 and well out of my parents' home. Like most kids in the late '90s and early 2000s, I played plenty of video games too, but my parents were exceptionally careful not to let me own things like dart guns for a long time (even getting a slingshot was an affair that resulted in me writing an essay to my parents as to why I wanted and needed one), and violent video games were entirely off the table until I was around 13. While I had fond memories of playing Mortal Kombat and Goldeneye 64 with my uncle, the first time I was allowed to buy an FPS game was when Halo: Combat Evolved came out. It was all downhill from there; next for me came Half-Life, then Counter-Strike, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, and so on.
|More accurate than I'd like to admit.|
|Because I didn't have enough reasons to hate Seventeen magazine.|
I've been playing violent video games since I was 13. I've been shooting since I was 19, and carrying a firearm almost daily since I was 21. I've yet to kill anyone, never drawn my weapon in anger, hell, I haven't even been in a fight in almost a decade. So, can someone please tell me why the government has seen fit to tell me that I'm dangerous and should not be allowed to enjoy what I do, and the one group with the political leverage to oppose them is telling me the same about my other big hobby?
We as a country have far bigger issues to address in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. The most obvious issue is our country's mental health system, in which normal people with issues are too afraid to get help lest they lose control of their lives to the state. There's plenty of other factors - poverty, culture, a disrespect for the lives of others, ignorance of the real dangers our world poses to our lives and our livelihoods, the list goes on.
I think my parents may have been a bit overzealous in their sheltering of me (but who doesn't think that growing up?), but they did instill in me a sense of morals that made me understand the power of the gun and the responsibilities that come with it. The grim consequences of taking someone else's life were made very, very clear, and I approach the subject extremely seriously, as many people like me do. Yet here I am, stuck between a rock and a hard place, desperately lobbying and defending one hobby that's explicitly protected by the Constitution by begrudgingly supporting an organization who apparently didn't get the memo that my other big hobby was already deemed protected by the Constitution as well (and, incidentally, happens to be alienating a huge source of future supporters - i.e., people who got into guns because of Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc. - by attacking it).
I'm angry about this whole situation, and I think I damn well have every right to be. That doesn't make me dangerous to anyone else though, and I hope both the government and the NRA will come to realize that as soon as this thing comes to an end. The other thing I hope they realize? I have a right to vote, and I'm very careful about who I give my money to. It's not what I do with my guns they should be worried about - it's what I do at the ballot box and with my money that they should be concerned with, because I can and will fight them with both.
And I am not alone.