Last night my town held a meeting with our state representatives and officials from our federal representatives, in order to hear their opinions on the issue of gun violence. I helped to organize the meeting. It was my sincere intention to try and find some common ground between NRA members who are feeling under attack, and those of us who want meaningful change. I believed that “responsible gun owners” should be the ones to lead the way in terms of what needs attention in our current gun laws. However, “responsible gun owner” does not equal “reasonable gun owner.”
Last night we heard from a man who claimed he was worried that if the magazine capacity is lowered to seven rounds, all of his guns — which he told us were firearms and not weapons — would be obsolete. I’m no dummy. The same way gun manufacturers altered assault rifles to make them commercially available under assault weapons bans, they will manufacture clips for this man’s weapons that can hold the regulated seven rounds. For some reason I thought maybe he didn’t know that. For some reason I thought that I might give him some peace of mind if I let him know that his firearm collection, which is no doubt valuable both financially and personally to him, would not be obsolete. So I told him. Turns out he doesn’t care about that at all — that you can already buy magazine clips that are “California compliant” he just doesn’t want to. Then his buddy chimed in that he doesn’t want anything less than sixteen round magazines. I asked why. I genuinely wanted to know what the reasoning was. He said that he does not feel safe. He actually said that he does not feel safe at the mall with less than sixteen rounds loaded into his weapon. You know, just in case.
My ten year old son loved that. He asked me, “Which part of the mall is the most dangerous? Is it Yogen-Fruz?” It is beyond my ability of understanding, of ration and reason, to justify anyone walking around a mall with sixteen rounds loaded into their weapon. For whom are these vigilantes working? Certainly not me. I don’t want them shooting anyone on my behalf. Imagine the scene at the mall in Oregon where a shooter opened fire with an AR-15, if the other shoppers had all been carrying sixteen rounds. How many people would be have been killed by these vigilantes? Lots. This is madness.
I realized last night that — like these people have been telling me — I am ignorant. I am naive. I thought we could have some measure of reasonable debate, a confluence of ideas. That’s not going to happen. The NRA has dug their heels in so strongly against any change to our gun laws that their members aren’t concerned with ration or reason. I simply do not believe anyone is that afraid to go to the mall. I don’t buy it. That’s just a smoke screen.
These people really don’t feel safe without sixteen rounds loaded into their guns at all times. Maybe that’s why they keep screaming about mental health. Maybe it’s a cry for help.