I want to say something, but I don’t know what.
A man with an assault rifle murdered 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando. A man with an assault rifle and stuff that could make a bomb was arrested in Los Angeles. People are afraid to go to Gay Pride events.
People say we must ban assault rifles.
People say we must keep a closer watch on Muslims.
People say a lot of stuff.
Violence fueled by hatred is a complex problem. Like all complex problems, simple, one-measure solutions won’t solve violence fueled by hatred.
Banning assault rifles is a start. If you’ve ever purchased a firearm from a gun store or other store selling guns, you know what constitutes gun control in this country. When I bought my rifle, I had to fill out one of these forms. I was required to answer questions such as:
“Are you in the United States illegally?”
“Are you a convicted felon?”
“Have you ever been committed to a mental institution?”
I don’t remember the rest of the stupid questions. The clerk believed me when I checked “No” after each question. The clerk said nothing when I told him that I believed in gun control but this form certainly wasn’t gun control.
Background check before buying a pistol. Sounds good. It’s not. In New York, one needs to have a permit before being able to purchase a handgun. Because of the permit requirement, there’s no background check at the point of sale of a handgun. What’s the background check like? Only a tad sillier than the form in the gun store.
Before I explain the pistol permit process, I need to tell you that my husband has never hit me. I have never hit him. We’re not afraid of each other. I’m a better shot than he is.
A police officer came to our house, asked my husband why he wanted a gun (you better not say for protection if you’re in NY – you want that gun for target shooting). The officer then turned to me and asked me if I was okay with my husband having a handgun. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Who trained this officer? If I were afraid of my husband having a handgun, I certainly wouldn’t tell an officer who was sitting next to my husband when the question was asked. When another police officer came to interview me prior to my getting a pistol permit, I was asked if my husband was okay with me having a handgun. This was at a time when my husband wasn’t home. Because I wanted the pistol permit, I said yes. What I wanted to say was, how do you know I’m not getting this pistol permit so I can buy a pistol and blow the SOB away the next time he hits me?
So much for gun control.
As long as there is a secondary market for firearms, there will be no gun control. I can go to a flea market, garage sale, gun show, and buy any gun I want from a private individual. There is no form with stupid questions. There is no background check. There is cash exchanged for a firearm.
I was a criminal defense attorney for more than 21 years. My clients never had any problem buying guns. One even told me he bought a 9mm handgun because he wanted to shoot rabbits. Boy was he surprised when I told him that was the wrong gun for shooting rabbits. A bullet that size ruins too much meat.
If gun control, as we currently have it, isn’t going to solve the violence problem, what should we do?
We can arm ourselves with something far stronger than assault rifles. We can teach ourselves, our neighbors, our colleagues, our children, our parents, our friends to accept differences between people. To embrace the differences. To honor differences. Every one of us can do something to stop hatred.