Chris Jepson: Gun rights vs. reproductive rights

With so many weapons "in circulation" is it any wonder that guns are readily employed in criminal acts?

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  • | 11:24 a.m. April 4, 2013
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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I consider the Second Amendment crowd’s argument on gun control specious. There are approximately 90 guns for every 100 residents. It is a percentage almost three times higher than most industrialized Western nations. I am not so interested in comparing America’s rates of gun related deaths to third-world nations located in Latin America or the Middle East. How is such information relevant to how we live in America today?

The ready availability of weapons in America does, in my opinion, impact suicide rates, crimes of passion and the escalation of violence from say, a fistfight to a life-threatening confrontation. With so many weapons “in circulation” is it any wonder that guns are readily employed in criminal acts?

If I were a “wishing” man, I would wish that America had not gone down an historical path with so many weapons in circulation. I would not glorify the man-on-horseback Clint Eastwood-type avenging-angel, meting out immediate justice at the end of a gun barrel. Citizen gun ownership isn’t what insures our democracy.

As we understand our founding fathers’ intent, we quite logically would conclude that they did not envision an America with 30,000 annual gun deaths. Gun deaths are predicted to surpass traffic accident deaths by 2015.

So what do we do today about gun violence? A substantial number of Americans oppose any restrictions on gun control. Many of America’s elected officials will not support gun legislation—of any type. And even if you outlawed 30-round magazines, the demented will simply employ 10 round clips with expeditious efficiency. Assault rifles (their easy availability) are questionable weapons for an urbanized America, but I do not expect their curtailment.

Mandatory background checks are about all “we” can hope for from the U.S. Congress. And that remains pretty iffy.

I once read, years ago, that there are a minimum of 50 serial killers “operating” in America at any given time. Add another 100 million citizens and I imagine that number has substantially increased. The same goes for the wackos who commit the tragedies associated with the recent slaughters in Aurora, Colo., and the Connecticut elementary school. There are a lot of deranged Americans — your neighbor, a distant uncle, perhaps — ticking time bombs simmering along until sufficiently aggrieved and off they go, murdering innocence. I do not think background checks will appreciably sift-out the mentally disturbed. Or keep them from securing weapons.

With fewer guns, we might have fewer tragedies (suicides, crimes of passion, domestic disputes, etc.) but we are not going to have fewer guns are we? There will be no legislation requiring anyone to surrender a weapon they now possess. That is not going to happen. Simply recall Charlton Heston’s “From my cold, dead hands!” There are people in the American woodwork just waiting for such an apocalyptic event (Make My Day! — A national order to surrender firearms would do just that).

We know how strongly you guys (Second Amendment supporters) feel about your guns, well, the gals quite reasonably feel that way about their bodies. Imagine that. Logically, if you oppose gun control, you’d oppose any infringement of a woman’s reproductive rights. If you want the government out of your holster, how about keeping the government out of your daughter’s uterus?

America has made gun ownership an inviolable right — something obscenely sacred — but would make a woman controlling her own body a criminal. Is that irony, hypocrisy or just a tragedy?


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