Party politics hasn't been the only issue, but it's certainly been a major contributor. What we've failed to do is study this issue objectively, and it's something that really needs to be done ASAP. It's been difficult to do so because of legislation put in place to block that and to block funding that supports it. It's a situation that's outlined fairly well in this article: What's Missing From the Gun Debate
Once upon a time, the NRA used to be a reputable American institution. They were about firearm safety, and about protecting rights. This is no longer the case. Please understand that I grew up in a rural hunting culture, and watching the decline of the NRA was like watching a trusted friend become a murdering psychopath. I mention this only for context. Without a doubt, somebody is reading this and assuming "brainwashed libt***". Sorry, no. I'm not going to fit into any of the neat little boxes you've been told to believe in, so don't bother trying. I'm just not very suggestible. But try to look at this objectively, if you can. The latest propaganda put out by the NRA isn't just alarmingly Orwellian and irresponsible. It's dangerous, outright lies directed at people who are less discerning about what they will believe, and inclined to act on the misinformation provided. The NRA knows EXACTLY what they are doing. On the upside, as their message has gone more and more off the rails, their membership has dropped. Last year I looked into the specific numbers (and I encourage you to do the same. It's a much better use of time than arguing with what you don't want to hear!) and the percentage of Americans who owned guns was somewhere around 40%. Of those folks, only about 5% were NRA members. This may have changed since last year (check it out! I will share non-partisan links if you find them!) Money HAS to be an issue here. And here is a big ol' question for ya: How does a lobby that represents such a small fraction of our population have more power over our government than the people who elected that government? And why aren't we losing our collective sh** over that? Because we should be!
I wouldn't be me if I didn't try to breakdown some of the proposals I've heard on social media. In the ban guns category, the most popular suggestion is to ban "assault rifles". I won't personally go into detail, but I will share this Wiki page with you: Federal Assault Weapons Ban As with anything I post, if you don't trust the source, don't bother arguing with me about it. Do your own research. Learn some things. One of the unfortunate things about semi-automatic weapons (besides their obvious kill efficiency) is the ease in which they can be converted to automatic (which is illegal). They were designed to be easy to convert, and conversion supplies/kits/instructions are legal and readily available. This isn't by accident or oversight. IMHO, this needs to be addressed NOW, at the very least. I have friends who love their semis and are responsible with them. I've said I don't have a problem with these folks having them. But right now ANYONE can have them, right down to the dude arguing with the carrots in the grocery store (to be fair, that could be me on any given day as well, lol). That's not okay. The other popular suggestion is to ban guns entirely. That is a non-starter, what with the whole 2nd amendment and all. (Having said that, I wish people showed equal concern for the other amendments. Just sayin'.) And see above re: values and priorities of large groups of people.
Popular on the more guns side of the argument is the idea of armed guards at schools. The problems with that are many: There was an armed guard present at our most recent mass shooting, and that didn't stop it. In fact, there are armed guards at banks that still get robbed, in malls where items are still stolen and violence still occurs, and we've had presidents shot and/or killed SURROUNDED by highly trained, armed protectors. Personally, another issue for me is the normalizing of violence. This is a just me, opinion thing here, but I don't want to live in a culture that surrounds it's children with guns, or needs to. In my opinion, for a developed country, that is a HUGE fail. In the same category is arming teachers. I don't know who YOUR teachers were, but none of mine was Rambo. (I'm trying to imagine my gentle, elderly humanities teacher drawing down on an angry teenager with a semi-automatic. Yeah, not so much). Most of my mother's teachers were nuns. They could be scary, but seriously? Here's the biggest problem with that though: TEACHERS don't want that. You are asking them to be willing to commit suicide as part of their job description. We already have enough trouble finding and keeping good teachers, this expectation might just eliminate the profession altogether. We have made education so low on the priority list that we already have trouble funding schools, even to the point of providing basic supplies for the students. But now we suddenly have funds for tactical training and weapons? Um, huh?
Okay, here's the bit where I get personal. I don't want more guns. We have a huge issue with gun-related violence in this country, to the point we are uniquely violent within the developed world and getting more so. It's shameful. Having said that, I understand that it isn't just a gun problem. It IS a gun problem in that access is essentially unlimited. But there are other contributing factors, too, and I believe that we can't put all of our focus on one, single thing. We need to be willing to look at all the issues, and we need to study the issues in real time. In my fantasy world, lobbies no longer get to use money to influence policies. Our government is clearly a sh** show, let's DEAL with that. Taking away the financial influence would be a productive step in the right direction. We need to keep tabs on the folks who stockpile weapons. I don't mean 'Uncle Joe Hunter" with his cabinet full of hunting rifles. I happen to think a lot of 'Uncle Joe'. He's a decent guy, a good friend and neighbor, and he just wants to go hunting with his friends come November. I'm talking about the angry, paranoid guy who thinks his lack of impulse control and his anger management issues make him AWESOME. This guy won't take responsibility for his own behavior. He's an entitled, giant toddler who thinks everybody better tip toe around him, or else. And he loves to collect weapons and brag. THIS guy needs to not have guns. We have to find a fair and logical way to make sure of that, while leaving 'Uncle Joe' to do his thing. I don't have the answers here, really. I'm just a heartsick person who can't take any more of this sh**. I just know that the only way we are going to fix this and have a country worth living in is to want to solve the problem, and to want that more than we want to "win".