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So, I've lost my first Facebook friend in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting. I've known my (no longer) friend, whom I'll call Mr. Gun-totin', for many years. He has long been a gun rights advocate, and frequently posts on Facebook with pictures of weapons and quotes about liberty and so forth. He has also commented on several occasions about the "tyranny" of the government and his belief that there would be a day when the government would finally come take all our guns. The argument began when I posted the Malcolm Trumbull tweet back to Rupert Murdoch. Mr. Gun-totin' first wanted to argue the difference of automatic vs. semi-automatic weapons, which, aside from completely missing the point, was initially Rupert Murdoch's error so I responded that he should take it up with Mr. Murdoch. I also noted that Murdoch's birth country, Australia, has had zero mass shootings since instituting strict gun control regulations. He posted an NRA video from several years ago that quoted statistics about a rise in Australian crime that were unsourced and out of context. When I pointed that out, with a link that refuted his assertions, he finally posted, "Pass your laws and see how many obey it in America. Make people like me felons, and force us into a violent confrontation over it. I wont thank you for it."

Well, I responded.

As a result of this thread, you unfriended me. This doesn't surprise me. You seem to think you're a real patriot because you would defy any new laws with an aim toward gun safety. I've seen you mention in the past that you have guns because you fear the tyranny of the government, as if you and your assault rifle owning friends would go all Red Dawn when the government decides to take all our guns away, or some scenario which is actually never going to happen (and even if it did, and it was you against the government and all its armaments, you already wouldn't stand a chance). The reason it will never happen is because the government and the armed forces of this nation are comprised of people like you and me, who have all kinds of varying and opposing beliefs. Most of these individuals simply wouldn't participate in such an action. Barack Obama or "the government" could no more likely take action to ban all guns, or take all guns away, than it could to round up all the undocumented immigrants or declare that ice cream was illegal. So to have this discussion we actually have to have it based in reality and not in some wild-eyed conspiracy scenario where the more than 300,000,000 weapons already out there in private hands could somehow both be made illegal and the target of an impossible government plan to seize and destroy them all. If that's still your big fear after twenty children have been slaughtered by a mentally unstable 20 year-old with an assault rifle (with a high capacity clip that has no purpose other than to kill more people), then you have issues and we really don't need to be friends. If you think less laws and more guns is the answer, then you simply haven't been paying attention, because we have less laws and more guns since the Senate failed to renew the assault weapons ban, and the result has been more dead kids. And again, in that case we don't need to be friends, because my fear is that someone in my neighborhood not too unlike you will have had a really bad day or have taken the wrong meds and decide today's the day they become infamous.

At one time, after the days of the Wild West, we got to a point in America where it was undesirable for citizens to carry firearms in public. That was the point: A civil society, a safe society, is one where people DON'T feel the need to carry a gun everywhere; if we've gone beyond that point, as you might argue, then we've already lost. Personally, I think a real patriot would want a society where gun ownership and the safety of our children could be addressed alongside one another, with an acknowledgement that doing nothing about our gun laws -- which is what you appear to advocate -- hasn't worked. It seems to me that while you should have a right to own guns, everyone else should have the right NOT to, and also the right to live in a society where they can send their children to school and not have to worry about a person showing up with an assault rifle and a 100 round magazine; or to walk down the street and not worry that a gun fight could break out like it was Dodge City in the 19th century. But if your interpretation of the words, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," is actually, "the right of the people to keep and bear every kind of weapon and ammunition imaginable, with no constraints whatsoever, shall not be infringed," then you're showing a dangerous inflexibility to a common sense approach to gun safety in a civil society. If the argument is boiled down to the need to have sensible limits on gun ownership vs. no restrictions ever, of any kind, then you're being unreasonable and America as a society needs to have the discussion without people like you involved.

No serious person is talking about abolishing the Second Amendment, or taking away guns, or outlawing the ownership of guns in America. That's a phantom argument that gun rights advocates like to throw out at the beginning of just about every discussion about guns to make their own extreme position seem more reasonable. What proponents of gun safety want is simply to be able to start the discussion in this country without the opposing side going immediately to "THE GOVERNMENT'S COMING TO TAKE OUR GUNS!!! INTERNMENT CAMPS!!! WOLVERINES!!!" So, if you're ever ready to have a rational discussion on where the Second Amendment fits in a civilized 21st century society, send me a message, or hit that 'friend' button -- I'll be open to the discussion. If not, then I'll be having it with other concerned citizens of this country, who want to find a solution that is realistic, has balance, and gets us back on the path to a society where the safety of children is more important than someone's right to own a weapon primarily designed to massacre people.

If any of this resonates with you, please consider liking my Facebook page - Disarm The NRA
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