My point is that crime exists, whether we like it or not. It’s not going to magically go away, no matter how many regulations we try to attach to gun ownership. The problem I see with the gun community and the anti-gun community is perception. When we see a horrific gun crime unfold before our eyes everyone is left with feelings of remorse, shock and anger. The anti-gun community sees the criminal with the scary AR-15 and wants to ban all guns; the gun community wants to preserve their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. There’s a disconnect that leaves both sides feeling angry and frustrated by the gun laws in this country. I have a different perspective. The majority of gun owners in America are law abiding citizens. We’re lawyers, doctors, biologists, teachers, contruction workers, retail workers, Conservatives, Liberals, black, white, Asian, young, old, gay, etc, etc. Gun owners in America are just as diverse as the people that live here. We’re not a secret fraternity of 60 year old white guys who live in a bunker in Idaho preparing for the next Civil War. We hunt, we shoot trap and skeet, we shoot paper targets at the range, some open-carry, some conceal-carry, and some are just collectors. The anti-gun people see gun owners through a myopic lense, in that if you own a firearm, you must be nuts, or have delusions of grandeur. If you open-carry or conceal-carry then you're a paranoid coward. These are often times knee-jerk reactions that paint gun owners with very broad strokes. It does a great disservice to those of us that abide by the law. Conversely, some gun owners do the same thing when leveling criticisms at anti-gun folks or even Leftward leaning gun owners like myself, namely, if you're a Democrat you're gun grabber. If you're not a member of the NRA you're anti-gun, if you're not in agreement with every Wayne LaPierre talking point then you're anti-gun, and so on. It's a vicious cycle that gets nowhere. I'm tired of being labeled a Commie Leftist by Conservative gun owners and a Fascist by anti-gun Liberals.
My views on guns have evolved many times over the years. I used to be anti-gun because of my experiences in Japan, then I became indifferent to guns as I got older. I am now a proud gun owner and enthusiast. I like guns because they're fun to shoot, but I also understand the importance of the 2nd Amendment, and as such, value their utility in protecting my family. This is where the anti-gun rhetoric bothers me. The anti-gun community wants to tell me how to protect myself and my family. What am I afraid of? Not much, but life is full of surprises and to quote that tired old saying, “it's better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.” When the government shutdown happened I was prepared for all hell to break loose if the US defaulted on its debts. Think about it. Unemployment going back up, people barely able to scrape by on what little money they have, social programs being shut down left and right. I feared a nationwide riot was going to take place in every major city, which to me meant the potential for danger to come my way. We're a nation of laws but when discontent grows it has a way of rearing its ugly head.
I'm a realist, whereas, my wife is an idealist. She thinks and trusts that everyone has an innate goodness, and while I agree with her to a degree I also believe that even good people do bad things. I also have a hard time putting too much faith in law enforcement to protect me and my family when I need them to. They can't be everywhere at once, so it's either I make the choice to be there for my family in times of danger, or risk losing that which I hold dear. Gun ownership is a choice and I choose not to be a victim.