I am a long-time gun owner. This may come as a surprise to those who know my often outspoken political leanings, but I have been a part of the American firearms culture since I was in elementary school. When I was eight, my grandfather gave me my first real gun. It was a Ruger Mark II 22 caliber LR pistol. Yes, my first gun was a handgun that looked eerily similar to the German Lugers that soldiers carried during World War I. I knew all the rules that transform a deadly weapon into a sporting tool. Just like a car, it’s deadly if misused.
However, despite the National Rifle Association’s insistence that weapons should be as free as cars, the reality shows something very different. When I was 16, I had to have six months of assisted practice, logged driving hours, a written test, and then a driving test in order to have a license to operate a motor vehicle.
On the other hand, the qualifications for owning a firearm in Indiana include only two steps. You need someone to give you a firearm and to not be a felon. That is all it takes. No matter what age you are, or how much experience you have, you are allowed to own the firearm. You do not have to have training. You do not have to go through a gun store’s official channels and background checks. You just have to find someone to give it to you. As I mentioned before, I was a gun owner at the age of eight. Even though my family had the common sense to give me safety training, that was clearly a luxury.
Although I fully support basic Second Amendment rights, there are many instances in which common sense is subverted by the passionate preaching of the NRA. They have created a fear culture with the cries of “the government will take your guns” and riled people into a frenzy that will reject even the most basic common sense regulations.
According to an Oct. 9, article by The Washington Post, 85 percent of gun owners support universal background checks, which would require everyone to have an extensive check before any firearm purchase. The way gun ownership is treated is the equivalent of letting a person who constantly gets DUI’s drive a car because he or she didn’t get it from the car dealership and instead off of Craigslist. It doesn’t make the driver any safer. The NRA couldn’t argue that if cars were illegal that there would still be car accidents because that’s just how people are.
Read the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Let’s keep our right to bear arms, but let’s also make sure that it is well regulated like our founding fathers actually intended.