At some point we need to come to the realization that our nation is not divided into two groups of people — gun owners and gun control advocates — no matter how much the media, interest groups and just the regular person on Facebook tries to portray it that way.
Because, quite simply, we can’t be that way. Neither from either side want to hear the other speak. Each assume certain things about the other, and it obstructs productive dialogue from ever taking place.
If we really want progress to occur, then we need to understand where we all come from. Only then can it lead to an understanding that there are some things that everybody wants. There is a middle ground.
But that will never come to the forefront if we choose to only see this issue as black and white.
The eradication of guns will never happen. Nor should it. It’s not only a constitutional right, but the majority of gun owners are honest, law abiding people.
But there are too many loopholes in America’s gun control laws that can be fixed to prevent a certain amount of people from obtaining guns, while not causing too much of an inconvenience for responsible gun owners.
But from all I’ve read in the aftermath of Wednesday’s San Bernardino shootings, what struck me most were three alarming details, which I will present to you and let speak for itself.
- 40% of gun owners never receive a background check
People who buy a gun from a licensed seller are required by federal law to undergo a background check. That check occurs instantly, using a system that cross-references various state and federal databases. For the most part, it prevents criminals, drug abusers and the mentally ill from buying guns.
The problem is those who buy guns privately from unlicensed sellers, typically at gun shows, do not go through such checks. And that amount to four of every 10 gun owners.
- People on the FBI’s terrorism watch list can legally buy guns
Indeed, between 2004 and 2014, more than 2,000 terror suspects purchased guns legally in the United States.
Senators have attempted to close this loophole, but the powerful National Rifle Association and its Republican allies have blocked it from ever coming to fruition. Although, there was a bill introduced this year that is trying to address it.
It should be noted, though, that there are some 700,000 people on the FBI list, many of whom are just family members of people suspected to be involved in terrorist activity.
- More guns were sold on Black Friday than any day in history
If you think people are being turned off from guns by these repeated mass shootings, think again.
The FBI processed more than 185,000 background checks for gun sales on Nov. 27, more than any other day on record. And that number doesn’t include all those who purchased guns from unlicensed sellers.
If anything, when talk of gun control laws come into the spotlight, people appear to rush out to buy guns out of fear that it will soon become harder to do so. Also, some people respond to mass shootings with the belief that possessing a gun is the best way to protect themselves.
But again, nothing will be accomplished by pointing fingers, placing blame or lumping people into two broad categories.
I think if everyone, gun owners and gun control advocates, Republicans and Democrats, sat down at the table together and had a proactive discussion, we’d realize that there is some common interests that we can agree to act on in order to keep people safe.
At least, we have to hope for that.