Despite having used it more times than I can count, I’m getting sick of the term “responsible gun owner.” It’s not that I don’t think most gun owners are responsible or anything, it’s how the term keeps being thrown around by people who don’t understand most of us.
Like, for example, those who write op-eds telling us what such folks want and with titles like, “Responsible gun owners want measures to help keep people safe.”
Oh, but maybe the text isn’t that bad? Maybe it’s accurate and reasonable?
I’m a pediatrician and I own a gun.
That may surprise you. I own a handgun because I grew up with guns. My dad had a shotgun mounted in his truck and he hunted and provided food for his family. He emphasized gun safety, carefully supervised us children when we hunted with him and taught us how to shoot. My great-grandfather kept a gun in the house as a means of protection, and my husband and I uphold that safeguard in our home today. I even have a license to carry a concealed gun in Florida.
I was taught how to properly handle guns, and I understand their power. I also know all too well the risks of children finding firearms, so my pistol is kept in a secure place.
So, this is prefaced with the “I’m a gun owner” bit, so you just know what follows is going to be comedy gold, and it doesn’t disappoint.
I also support sensible gun measures to keep guns out of the hands of those who absolutely should not have them. I am not alone. A 2021 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 92% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans support background checks for private gun sales.
Except most such polls are using self-described political affiliations and I’ve known way too many people who claim to be Republicans but who support literally everything the Democratic Party backs to take any such numbers at face value.
Further, we know historically that while poll numbers show broad support for universal background checks, when the rubber meets the road, that support evaporates more times than not. That’s because support for some vague notion of other people needing to go through an FFL is one thing, but being told you have to do so to sell a gun to a guy you’ve known since high school is a different matter entirely.
But just what does the author support? I mean there are people who own guns and oppose most gun control laws who support something like universal background checks, right? So maybe she’s one of those where that’s the line.
These are important steps, but we can do more. Law-abiding, responsible gun owners like me and others I know want federal firearm measures that keep people safe, including:
- Comprehensive background checks for anyone buying a gun
- Mandatory firearm safety training and licensing process
- Raising the age of gun ownership in all situations to 21, the same as the legal drinking age
- A ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines
- Funding for more research on gun violence to inform evidence-based reduction strategies and effective legislation
She acknowledges that these wouldn’t stop mass shootings, of course, but they might stop some “would-be gunman” or something.
And this is what she believes “responsible gun owners” support?
Are you kidding me, lady?
Mandatory safety training and licensing for gun ownership is a non-starter. Such means could be a basis for denying people the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights entirely, and they do in many states.
Then again, she wants a ban on “assault rifles,” which is interesting because actual assault rifles are already banned for all practical purposes.
Of course, we know she was talking about an assault weapon ban, but how is that what responsible gun owners want?
What we really want, something the author here doesn’t get, is we want to be treated like responsible gun owners for a change.
The measures she proposes, that she seems to think we’re supposed to want, aren’t the kind that impacts criminals. They’re not the kind that stops violent crime or disarms the bad guys. They’re nothing more than roadblocks enacted to make it harder for responsible gun owners.
Why would any of us actually want that?
Frankly, the author can pull the “I’m a gun owner but…” bit all she wants, but I honestly don’t care if she has a firearm or not. That doesn’t make her one of us and it doesn’t grant her any gravitas where her opinion should matter more than yours or mine.