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Here We Go Again

I hate writing this. I hate that I live in a world where I have to write this. I hate that here I am, the day after yet another mass shooting in this place that I love, having to write this right now. The truth is that I despise using a tragedy for political gain, but voters rightfully are asking where I stand on gun-control legislation in the wake of the events that took place just 90 miles away from our homes. So the question is whether you ignore people until the recent events aren't so raw, or if you just tell people what you're thinking. The real truth though is that I live in the United States of America, where the last week has seen this...

So if I don't write about this now, because I don't like the appearance, what are the chances I'll get a chance to write about it ever, because this country is suffering a public health crisis beyond belief, and it is unlikely that we're ever far enough away from a mass shooting for this topic to be discussed with no emotion, or no one feeling like it's just political grandstanding. First, let's get something out of the way. When I say 'mass shooting' I am using the definition from Gun Violence Archive, which they define as 'four or more persons shot and/or killed, not including the shooter.' That means, this year, as of this tragic incident in Indianapolis, we have had 150 mass shooting events, resulting in 148 dead and 485 wounded. These are the gun violence incidents we, the American public, hear most about, but they are a drop in the bucket when it comes to the gun deaths in this country, which have surpassed more than 12,000 people in America, and we're only 106 days into the year at the time of this writing. This means we're on a pace for more than 450 mass shooting events, with about 450 dead and 1,500 injured in those events, and more than 36,000 Americans dead of gunshots in the country this year. We hear over and over, mostly from politicians who are receiving money from the NRA, that there is nothing that be done about it...which is the normal refrain anytime America is alone. We're the only country with medical bankruptcies, nothing can be done about it. We're the only country with mass shootings, nothing can be done about it. Firearm deaths in America (per 100,000 people) five times as high as they are in France, six times as high as they are in Canada, thirteen times as they are in Germany, and 24 times as high as they are in the United Kingdom. Many other countries have solved this problem, so there is clearly something that can be done. But I was asked if I support common sense gun reform. This term is very generic for me. I could tell you 'yes,' and just move on, or I could tell you exactly what I believe. I believe in universal background checks and waiting periods. Background checks will be completed during the 7 days after you purchase a gun, and you may pick up the purchase on day 8. Every single time you want to purchase another gun, the process will be the same. It doesn't matter if you buy it from a dealer, at a gun show, or from a private party, background checks and waiting periods should be the rule of law. If you already own guns and something happens on your background check to prevent you from purchasing another one, you should be visited to discuss what changed. Did you get arrested for domestic violence and already own a pile of guns, and want to buy another one. I believe a conversation should happen. Did you forget to pay a traffic ticket and end up with a bench warrant, and are now buying a gun? After you clear that bench warrant, a conversation should happen. I'm not saying every one of these conversations ends with the cops asking for your guns, I'm saying a conversation needs to happen. (Yes, I do believe cops should be able to take your guns. If you were arrested for DV, and are buying more guns, I absolutely believe in going to your former partner and asking if there has been contact or threats.) I believe in the registration of every firearm, and if you want to sell your firearm in a private party sale that person must complete the background check, and registration must be transferred in the national database. If you inherit a gun from a family member, registration must be transferred and a background check must be completed. I believe that if you want to own a gun you should be required to carry gun-owner insurance. I can't drive a car without insurance, and I believe gun ownership should be much the same way. Just like car insurance, you could earn discounts; take a gun safety class, prove they are stored in a locked area and inaccessible to thieves or children, regularly qualify on a range with an approved instructor, take shooting courses that simulate real world conditions in 'shoot/don't shoot' simulations. I believe in an assault weapons ban. I also believe we should define that, right here, as to exactly what I believe should not exist in the hands of civilians; a magazine or chain fed weapon, with automatically ejecting brass, a shoulder stock or secondary stabilizing grip, capable of semi-automatic or automatic fire, that holds more than four rounds of ammunition.

Yes. I am saying I believe this photo should be illegal. This is a Glock pistol with a shoulder stock and a front grip added to it. When you do this, I believe you have created a semi-automatic assault weapon. This is a $100 way to give yourself a far more stable platform that, in my mind, serves one purpose, to kill your fellow human beings. At the same time, your 30-06 that grandpa taught you to hunt with has a valid use beyond killing people, and I do not believe they should be removed from all homes. A bolt action rifle, carrying 4+1 rounds is a valid hunting tool, and one that is not used to hunt people. I have become, over the last five years or so, exhausted listening to people tell me that they need their knock-off Kalashnikov to protect them from a tyrannical government. The truth is that if the US decided to become a tyrannical government, and had the backing of the armed forces, your little rifle is a sad way to combat, oh, I don't know...this...

I also believe that any change to gun laws must come with the largest gun buyback program in American history. If people would prefer to cut back on the number of guns they own than comply with new laws, then the government will happily buy those guns.

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