Sunday, October 4, 2015

So, what if gaining access to firearms and abortions was the same?

Now, before anyone vilifies me, please know that this is neither a pro- nor anti-abortion message. This is a critique of gun control, or lack there of.

So, let's set up a scene in which I want to procure a firearm, but I must jump through the hoops of a woman in Wisconsin who wants to obtain an abortion.

I realise that I need a firearm. It has been less than 20 weeks since I've felt threatened, so I am in the clear there. In Wisconsin, there are only four stores that sell firearms. One is in Madison (south central). One is in Appleton (north-ish east). And, two are in Milwaukee (south east). I don't live in any of these cities, so I have to find transportation to them. On Highway 100, I notice a bunch of people on the side of the road with signs depicting grotesque images of bullet ridden bodies--massacres, suicides, mercy killings. All of them read, "Guns Kill Children" or "Your mother chose not to have a gun." I'm uneasy about it, but I know that for my own protection, I need to have a gun. I have my reasons for needing a gun, and these people cannot possibly imagine what it is like to make this decision. I continue into the city.

When, I get to the store, I am warmly greeted by the shop keeper. I look around, and there are so many other things I can buy. But, I came here for a firearm. As I walk into a private alcove, the shop keeper comes over and asks me what she can help me with. I tell her directly that I need a firearm. I may go into explaining why. I may not.

By law, she tells me, I have to go see a state-directed counselor. In this meeting, she warns, I will most likely be shown pictures and messages about how guns are sometimes used to kill things--people or animals. 

I find the counselor, and he warns me of my firearm's potential. If I am not careful, my child could stumble upon my gun and think it is a toy and shoot themselves or someone else. I need to be cautious. This is one of the most important decisions of my life, and will effect everything that I do for the rest of it. It affects me, of course. But, it also affects every one who will come in contact with it. I am solely responsible for this firearm.

I thank my counselor for speaking with me, but I really, really need a firearm. I, now, have to wait twenty four hours from this moment before I can purchase a firearm. I live close to the city, so I go back home and wait. I think about my firearm--how it will be both terrifying and a relief to have or even terrifying and awful to have. Everyone needs firearms for different reasons.

The following day, I have to travel back to the store. My hands are a little sweaty. "Okay," I say to the shop keeper. "I am ready for my firearm." I choose one that is suitable for what I need. "That one.  I...I want that one."

"Okay," she says. She takes it down from the wall and takes a picture of it. She uses a red felt tipped pen to explain to me all of the different parts of my gun. "This is a safety--it prevents an accidental discharge. Oh, and this is the barrel. This is where the bullet comes out. And, this...this right here, this is the trigger. This is what you pull to fire it."

"I would like my firearm now," I say.

"Okay," says the woman.

My insurance won't cover me for purchasing this firearm, unless it is for a reason they deem appropriate. And, public funding only covers people who need firearms for specific purposes, like hunting or living on a farm. Unsurprisingly, my reason does not fall under these categories. I pay for my firearm because regardless of what my insurance company says, this gun is necessary for my emotional or physical well-being. I leave the store feeling like I've won a battle in a losing war.

Now, when people hear about my firearm they have all kinds of reactions. People shame me or empower me for it--often without listening to anything else I have to say on the matter. It will always be a part of who I am, but I am certainly not defined by it.

End scene.
(Restrictions on Abortion, State Facts about Abortion: Wisconsin)

Could you imagine if law makers put their heads together long enough to police fire arms the same way in which they police women's bodies? If a gun owner had to go to a psychologist to discuss why he or she wanted a gun? And, the reason had to fall under a specific category or else you can't have one? Handguns have specifically one purpose: to kill humans. And, there is absolutely no need that a civilian, or even police forces, need automatic or semi-automatic weapons. Hunting rifles are difficult to conceal and can be locked away in armories when it isn't hunting season. It is ridiculous that people are clinging to the 230 year old 2nd Amendment "right to bear arms."  The Constitution had some pretty abhorrent original text. We can change the amendments. Amend is literally in the name (adapted from Jim Jefferies).

Mass murder in the United States has become common place, routine. Wake up, America. You're embarrassing yourself.