Rethinking the gun debate
The debate over guns/gun control is something that I have followed for a long time, and often it gets ends up in pointless, circular arguments about what the actual definition of an “assault weapon” is, the role of “mental illness” in shootings, and whether or not magazine capacity limitations would be effective. That is not my intention with this piece. Rather, my hope is to take a fresh look at the gun issue, along the lines what what we as a society really consider rights and privileges.
People who are known to the FBI as potential terrorists and not allowed to fly on commercial airplanes. They are, however, allowed to legally purchase as much weapons and ammunition, because the NRA has successfully argued it would violate that gun ownership is more of a “right” than air travel. Nicholas Cruz, the (at the time) teenager who shot up a high school in Parkland, Florida, was not legally able to purchase a can of beer but legally obtained an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle because we consider gun ownership a “right” but not drinking alcohol. In order to obtain nearly any position of employment, whether in the public or private sector, one typically must do an interview (“evaluation”), pass a criminal background check, take a drug screen, provide two forms of identification, and more. Almost none of this is required to buy guns, though, because somehow we consider gun ownership more of a “right” than being able to earn a living. Finally, in order to drive a car one needs to obtain a driver’s license and register their vehicle. However, none of this is required to get a gun because, supposedly, gun ownership is a “right” while driving is a “privilege”.