By MARK GUNN
Your Voice Contributor
By means of full disclosure, I have to state that I am trained in the use of firearms. I’ve used everything from .45 caliber pistols, automatic weapons like the M-16, M-60 and others in between. I’ve also taken the time to get a Concealed Carry Permit. I don’t like guns, but I do respect them.
While I have a great deal of respect for the majority of gun owners, there are some that just don’t get it. These are the ones who use the Second Amendment in some sick and twisted context and are stupid enough to think that they can hoard enough firepower to actually take on the government.
Throughout this whole debate, I haven’t been able to shake the image of 20 little kids being slaughtered. I also haven’t been able to shake my own experience with gun violence. Being caught in the crossfire of someone who could care less about human life, much less his own, shapes your perspective in a way that you never fully realize until something like the Sandy Hook massacre happens.
It’s safe to say that, other than the military and law enforcement, a majority of gun owners have never had to fire their weapon at anyone. They’ve probably never seen the results of someone being shot either. The sight of a human lying on the ground with blood flowing like lava leaves you shaken to your very core. No amount of movie or video game violence can even come close – and yes, they are a part of the problem. Our kids are becoming desensitized to the kind of violence at Sandy Hook, and parents, along with the entertainment industry, must be held accountable.
People, for the most part, are in favor of some measure of gun control. Mandatory background checks for every weapon purchase, closing the loophole for gun shows and private sales, mental health screenings, a limit to the size of magazines and a return to the 1994 assault weapons ban all make sense in limiting the access to weapons that are only designed to do one
I would require that all weapons be registered and fitted with a GPS microchip. They would then be entered into a national database which would be able to track them, should they be stolen, since a majority of so-called “illegal” guns are stolen from “legal” gun owners. Mandatory testing would be required every six months and owners would have to qualify to keep their weapons. Trigger guards and Safety classes would also be mandatory and would be subject to periodic testing. The bottom line being that greater responsibility must be placed on the part of
the gun owner.
Some would say, “You’re just punishing law-abiding citizens,” but gun owners are putting the rest of us at risk. “Criminals don’t care about gun laws.” No, they don’t. However, if this society is to finally get serious about gun crime, much harsher penalties would be handed out for possession of unregistered weapons and mandatory life or death sentences for crimes in which a gun was used.
Legal gun owners must face sanctions for their carelessness as well. Had Adam Lanza’s mother been more responsible in the way she locked up her firearms, he wouldn’t have had access and Sandy Hook might not have happened. You are more likely to get shot by someone in your own home, or due to a gun owner’s negligence, than you would by a criminal. Just this past week, there were six accidental shooting incidents at gun shows throughout the country.
There are rabid gun owners that somehow see gun control as “taking my guns away.” They also see the Second Amendment as a means to having unfettered access to any kind of weapon made. Somehow, they miss the fact that you can’t legally own a rocket launcher. They also ignore the fact that the Supreme Court has stated that there are limitations to the amendment. They rant and rave like spoiled little brats when you press them on the need for military-style assault weapons. It’s these people who scare me, and who illustrate the need for mandatory mental health screenings.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the NRA and politicians who’ve prostituted themselves for them are playing paranoid gun owners like chumps. Runs on guns and ammo have them laughing all the way to the bank, while we continue to pay the price in blood.
You know what the bitter irony in all this is? If “We The People” don’t get our act together when it comes to guns, that “big, bad, tyrannical, Communist, Socialist” president and the government that these deluded paranoids swear is out to get them just might be forced into existence. Then what? How will your weapons and serious lack of skill fare against those black helicopters you keep imagining? Some would say, “There’s no way the military would fire upon American citizens.” Are you willing to take that chance?
In order to stem the tide of gun violence, it’s going to take a collection of initiatives and, more importantly, people of good will and courage, to carry them out. Those that do not own guns far outnumber those that do. The majority of gun owners are reasonable and see the need to finally tackle this problem. Ask yourself what’s more important. Is it the life of an innocent child, or the need for some yahoo to carry an assault weapon because he’s overcompensating for some
Mark Gunn is a radio personality on WMJM (Magic 101.3) and is celebrating his 10th year in Louisville and 34th in radio. He’s worked in a variety of formats including Top 40, Rock, Urban Contemporary and Country to name a few.
In 1992, as Music Director of KACE – FM in Los Angeles he instituted a policy called “Enjoyability With Responsibility.” It was designed to remove songs whose lyrical content had a negative effect on the Black Community. He received awards from the N.A.A.C.P., N.O.W. (The National Organization For Women) and the California State Senate and a commendation from President Bill Clinton.
Mark Gunn has always been an extremely conscience voice in the community. He sums it up everyday when he goes off the air with this phrase: “If you can’t change the people around you, then change the people around you.”