Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

I couldn’t help, but pause yesterday during Christmas and remember the families grieving in Newtown as they dealt with their first Christmas without their precious children. As we continue to process the gun control debate in this country there is so much to consider.

My wish is that guns were outlawed altogether. Even I realize that is extreme.  I understand there is a time for compromise.  I continue to debate alternatives that may make our kids and our society safer.

The nation is already discussing the ban on semi-automatic weapons.  I think that is something that we will hopefully see happen.  I think there is also another option that should be considered.

In this country, we have determined that if parents serve alcohol to minors we hold them responsible.  Here is the following language from VA:

Parents may be held responsible if someone, as a result of alcohol use:

  • Gets into a fight and hurts someone.
  • Falls and hurts themselves or someone else.
  • Sexually assaults someone.
  • Damages property.
  • Dies from drinking too much.
  • Injures or kills someone while driving after leaving the party.

You have a civil liability (meaning you can be sued) to pay damages if either a partygoer is hurt or a third person is injured. Virginia law recognizes your liability for negligence if you provide alcohol to a minor who causes injury to another or him/herself. You may also face criminal charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Going off of this line of thinking, if gun owners in this country are “responsible gun owners” like the NRA claims, let’s up the expectations.  If a gun owner’s gun gets in the hands of their children or another person and that gun hurts or kills someone else, the gun owner is responsible and can be charge with the crime as if the gun owner committed the offense.

Let me be clear  – if your gun commits murder, you are charged with murder.

That way a person who feels compelled to own a weapon for “protection” or for sport will have to be seriously dedicated to do so to take the risk.   It may reduce the number of guns in our society, because of potential consequences to the gun owner.

I’m sure Nancy Lanza thought she was a responsible gun owner.

Also, there are no more gun accidents.  If your gun hurts or injures a child, you go to jail.  Again, this is based on the assumption that everyone is a responsible gun owner.

Your blessed 2nd amendment remains intact and it’s a win-win.  Again, if everything is on the table, then I believe this option should be as well.

If we treat alcohol as a deadly weapon and we hold adults who provide it to minors responsible for crimes they don’t necessarily commit, shouldn’t we hold gun owners to the same standard?

I’m asking you NRA.  I hope you are listening.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “URGENT – A Plea to Responsible Gun Owners

  1. Peg says:

    Jim Wright at Stonekettle Junction has had a wonderful series of posts about this issue. I recommend reading all of them. The latest ends with a thought very much like yours:

    If you own a car, you’re responsible for certain things. We make you meet certain minimal requirements, we make you pass a test, we make you buy a license. We penalize you if you don’t use your car correctly, or if you operate it in an unsafe manner, or if you don’t maintain it with the minimum required safety features (or if you don’t use them), or if you modify it beyond acceptable limits. We make you buy insurance. If you drink and drive, you get to go to jail even if you don’t kill anybody. If a kid steals your car because you left it sitting at the curb with the engine running and the doors unlocked and they use your car to commit a crime, you may not be held criminally liable for their actions directly, but your insurance company is going to penalize you – and is allowed to do so BY LAW – and you can be held liable for civil penalties.

    Laws don’t stop vehicular crimes, but they for damned sure give us, society, at least some assurance that the majority of people operating vehicles on our roads meet some minimal qualifications and that there are legal penalties for those that fail to live up to their responsibilities – and those laws give us, society, legal recourse when all else fails.

    We don’t even do that much for gun ownership.

    There is absolutely no reason for me to assume that you’re a responsible gun owner.

    And that’s the problem.

    Because far, far too many Americans aren’t.

    If Adam Lanza’s Mother had secured her guns properly, if she had been required under penalty of law to secure her guns properly, we might not be having this conversation.

    As a gun owner myself, I don’t think that it’s unreasonable or unconstitutional that you should have to legally accept responsibility before you’re allowed to own a gun.

    I don’t think that it’s unconstitutional that you should have to give the rest of us some reasonable assurance that:

    You’re a responsible adult. That you’re not insane or a mental defective, not a felon, and not a child.
    That you actually know what you’re doing, you’ve had some minimal training and a basic understanding of how guns work, where bullets go when you fire them, and how the safety equipment works.
    That you have a basic understanding of the gun laws that pertain to you and your legal obligations.
    That you’re not going to shoot up my kid’s school.
    That you’re not going to allow somebody else to take your weapon and shoot up my kid’s school, or wipe out a movie theater, or shoot my congressman in the head.

    And
    That the law provides me, society, with legal recourse if you fail to live up to those obligations in any way. Period.

    Or you just don’t get to own and operate a dangerous machine.

    We’re not talking about any unreasonable stuff here, we’re barely even talking about the level of legal responsibility required to operate a car in this country.

    If you want to own a gun then here’s where the hammer meets the firing pin: the burden of responsibility should be on you.

    It’s as simple as that.

    If you want to own guns, if you want to sell guns, if you want to make guns, then you and the NRA and the gun industry need to give the rest of us a reasonable legal framework where we can assume that you’re a responsible gun owner.

    Don’t stand in the blood of our dead children and tell us that the laws don’t work.

    If the laws we currently have don’t work, then stop fighting us, roll up your sleeves and help us. Let’s get rid of laws that don’t work and make ones that do.

    I refuse to accept that twenty dead kids are just the price we pay for freedom.

    And you damned well shouldn’t either.”

    I’ve been following your blog for some time, Aimee, nodding my head in agreement over and over again. Reading this latest of yours, so hard on the heels of reading Jim’s entries, has forced me to “unlurk” and publicly shout Hell YES!! Something has to be done….

    1. Thank you Peg. Your words have left me speechless- absolutely amazing and from a gun owner. God bless you and thank you for following. Aimee

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