I took my two young girls to watch an early, child-friendly fireworks show in downtown Pittsburgh this evening – a lovely affair that was punctuated by a question from my six-year-old daughter:
"Abba, can we buy firecrackers?"
"Why not?" she pressed.
"Because they're dangerous," I responded, the smoke still visible from the display we'd just witnessed, "and most people don't know how to handle them safely."
She absorbed the answer, considered its logic and nodded. "Okay. That makes sense."
The truth is, in Pennsylvania, I can theoretically buy bottle rockets and cherry bombs and any other consumer firework I desire, so long as I obtain a display permit from my local municipality. Meaning: if the city approves me as a display location for the community.
In other words: it's illegal for me to own them without a difficult-to-obtain permit.
An assault rifle, on the other hand? Hell, I can buy that online or in any store with nothing more than a driver's license. No permit required.
And so, what am I to say to my daughter if (or, rather, when) she asks whether or not I can buy a military-grade assault weapon?
Seriously, what do I say? Because the Second Amendment says so? Because the right to form a regulated militia means weapons of war for everyone? Because shut up freedom?
The logic fails.
When it comes to guns, it always has. And unless we change, it always will.