Every major shooting in a public place (a school, a street corner, a bar, a movie theater) makes me genuinely worry about being out and in the world, at least for a little while. I’ve never shot and will never carry a gun, but there are millions, literally millions, of Americans who own guns, lawfully, and always present the threat of using them, thanks not just to concealed-carry laws but laws that allow assault weapons for personal use.
Those concealed-carriers do, on occasion, stop murder from occurring via self-defense killing, but I do not feel safer because of them. I qualify for a concealed-carry license in Florida on every term except training (take the handy quiz?), and I don’t want one; what is to prevent me from lawfully obtaining a handgun and a concealed-carry license and misusing it in public with tragic results? The deterrence provided by the possible presence of other concealed-carry licensees? Is there any way we can train concealed-carry users to make them more effective with guns without possibly training people who will eventually misuse them?
The idea that handguns are dangerous and exist on many hips is scary; that guns that are more commonly considered assault weapons exist, are legal to own, and get into public in the hands of people who will shoot them at other humans is terrifying. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004, and efforts to reinstate it, from both sides of the aisle, have failed, but there was no definition of “assault weapon” in the bill, leaving things pretty open for interpretation. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold both had shotguns at Columbine; James Holmes had a rifle in Aurora; Jared Lee Loughner had just a semiautomatic handgun. The idea that any gun is categorically not an assault weapon probably wouldn’t make as much sense to a parent or child of a slain person.
The chances of being killed in a massacre are still very slim, and the U.S. is not nearly the world’s worst nation for fatal gun crime. But there is a fear that rises in my throat every time I see a gun, or hear someone talking about concealed-carry laws. When hoping that those guns will be used properly, all I have to go on, truly, is faith. And that faith gets shaken more often than it gets restored.
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- nohalfwaycrooks said: The restoration of faith should come every time you make it home safely.
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