Living in Brooklyn in the early 1990's meant dealing with gun violence.
In Flatbush at night, shots were frequently fired into the air and sent many of my friends diving for cover, even in the relative safety of their own homes. Gunshots broke through windows and splintered doors, and it seems that almost nightly there was news of someone dying in a violent shootout somewhere in the borough. suffice it to say, it wasn't exactly fun. Fast-forward 20-some years: the Second Amendment is touted as one of our most sacred of rights, that the threat of losing the right to bear arms is tantamount to the dissolution of civilization itself.
Take away our guns, and the terrorists win.
Before branding me the liberal that I am, let me say out loud and on the record that yes, I do understand that there is a difference between the guns that were fired on the block back home are different from the guns that everyone else is talking about. Those guns were obtained "illegally" and likely were bought to perpetrate some evil crime or something or another. The guns that the "good" people are talking about make everyone safer; after all, good responsible folk don't go around shooting people randomly, do they?
Living in the Pacific Northwest has been an eye opener to me. New York State's gun laws are restrictive and nearly oppressive, being highly punitive to unlicensed weaponry. Assault weaponry is banned, particularly in New York City, and the emphasis is keeping guns out of the hands of unbalanced people, and off the streets for potential criminal activity. This makes New York State, despite the proliferation of illegal firearms in the State, one of the safest places from the threat of firearms. By contrast, Washington State's culture regarding firearms is a bit different. The laws are more lax, the attitudes are more lax. Should it be surprising, then, that according to the FBI's unified statistics on crime, there are more violent crimes by handgun per capita in Washington State than in New York? It shouldn't be but I bet people are shocked.
Now here's the question I want people to answer for me. I understand why we have the right to bear arms, but why do we have the need to bear arms? The answer I hear most is for protection, which seems kind of absurd to me. I mean, only scared people need protection, and only scared people are likely shoot other people. Why do people need to carry guns outside of the home?
I am, obviously, a big supporter of strict gun control. I've seen too many funerals of too many friends from too many shootouts. I believe the Second Amendment was made in a time of war, where the last thing anyone wanted to do was be unprepared in the event of an invasion by the British. The times have passed, and unless we're waiting for the Revolution to come, we don't need to be armed like that.
I do believe the Federal Government should impose strict gun control laws. I believe that there should be a yearly cap on the amount of firearms and ammunition produced for anything other than military and law enforcement purposes. I believe that the right to carry in public or conceal and carry is ludicrous and should be repealed.
Unless, of course, the Revolution gon' come.