When did “Liberal” become a dirty word?

 

I’m going to preface this post by say that I hold liberal views and I always have. I was not brainwashed into thinking this way – my parents are fairly conservative. There have been many political debates in my family while I was growing up, and over the years as an adult.

If you get offended by the fact that I am very liberal, please leave now. I am not interested in a conversation that ends up with me being called “snowflake”, “crybaby libtard”, or anything else along those lines. If you actually want to have an honest, healthy discussion, I’d love to have a friendly debate with you. I am not a person who openly talks about politics very often, as I prefer to stick to topics that make me happy such as crafts, baking, or taking care of my family.

But I can’t stay silent about this anymore. Too many children are being murdered at school (Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland and way too many others). Too many people are being killed just going about their day (Aurora Colorado theatre shooting, the Pulse Nightclub shooting, and the Las Vegas shooting).

This post is about more than just the 2nd Amendment and gun law reform. It’s about shifting our mind-set from protecting large corporations such as gun manufacturers and the NRA, to protecting our children. Enough is enough.

The Right to Bear Arms & Gun Law Reform

This post has been rattling around in my head since the Sandy Hook school shooting, and I have a few questions.
When did the right to bear arms become more important than the lives of our kids? Why are you fighting harder for the right to own something that helps cause injuries and fatalities than fighting to keep your children safe in a place where they’re supposed to be learning?

If you think I’m not from America, you’re totally wrong. I was born and raised in Michigan to parents who were avid hunters. Yes, I grew up with guns in my home, and went hunting with my parents on a few occasions. I grew up in a city where the high school I attended did have metal detectors, there was an armed member of the police force at my school. It didn’t solve the violence, or help break up gangs. I remember one instance of a student grabbing the police officer’s gun out of his holster in the cafeteria. Had the gun been fired, over a hundred students and staff present in the cafeteria at the time would have been put directly into danger.

I was taught how to safely handle guns by my parents. No, I still don’t like guns even though I know that they can be used as a tool to put food on your table.

Attention conservatives:

Most liberals do not want to take away your right to own a gun. We want to make it harder for people to get their hands on a gun that has been manufactured to use large capacity magazines. Liberals want stricter background checks. We want a universal federal law for a raised age limit to 21. If you can’t drink or own a pistol until age 21, why can you legally purchase a rifle at 18? We want to limit the availability of these weapons to anyone with mental health issues (this limits my own right to bear arms, but oddly I’m ok with it).

The focus of gun reform is the AR-15, and here’s why

The reason the AR-15 rifle is the focus of the gun reform debate is because it’s been in the media so much lately for being used in mass shootings. Yes, there are other types of rifles used for hunting that are more powerful than the AR-15, but their magazines or clips hold less than 10 rounds, whereas standard AR-15s and other military style weapons can hold 30, minimum. They can be fitted with higher capacity magazines, which means less reloading and more rounds fired per minute. They can be fitted with bump stocks to make it easier to fire the weapon at a rapid pace. More on bump stocks here.

No one needs the ability to shoot anything at 400 rounds or more per minute.

The Federal Ban

“The former federal ban that was put in place regarding automatic style weapons that was enacted in 1994 by Bill Clinton with a sunset clause expired in 2004 when the ban was not renewed despite overwhelming public support for its renewal.” (1)

Effectiveness of the ban

“Despite these limitations, evidence indicates that the federal ban worked to reduce the use of large capacity magazines in crime. A Washington Post study analyzed data kept by the Virginia State Police and found a clear decline in the percentage of crime guns that were equipped with large capacity ammunition magazines after the federal ban was enacted. The percentage reached a low of 10% in 2004 and then steadily climbed after Congress allowed the ban to expire; by 2010, the percentage was close to 22%.” (2)

I believe that if this ban was put back into place and all illegal semi and automatic style weapons and their accessories were bought back in a dedicated program and destroyed, gun violence would dramatically decrease. That’s not me saying that Americans should have their guns forcefully taken from them. I’m saying the buy back program would be optional.

The “Bad Guy” Debate

One thing I’ve found with every conservative person I’ve talked to about gun control, is all of them seem to think that in the face of danger they’d be able to protect their family with their guns. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to injure yourself with your own gun, your child hurts themselves or someone else with their parents’ guns, or the gun being turned against you in a domestic violence situation. If you want to read the numbers for yourself, you can find them here.

So how do most criminals get their guns?

Well, there are a few different ways that illegal guns come onto the market. There are Straw Purchases and thefts, which are crimes in of themselves. Then there are purchases from retail stores, gun shows, private sales, and gifts. These are legal means of obtaining a weapon that is then used to commit crimes.

How can we stop crimes committed from weapons obtained through straw purchases, and legal purchases from retail stores, gun shows, private sales, and gifts? We change the laws regarding gun ownership, including extremely strict background and mental health checks. We tighten restrictions on retail outlets and gun shows for sales to the general public.

It’s not a perfect solution by any means, but it is a start.

Arming Teachers

Teachers are already underfunded, overworked, underpaid, and stressed to the max. Why would you be interested in allowing these people to carry a weapon in school? Would they be able to look a student that they have likely known for years in the eye, and shoot them should it be necessary?

I’m honestly asking this question, because to me, it seems like an extremely bad idea.

I know the argument right now is “Not all teachers would be armed as they so choose”. If you’ve looked at the news lately, you’d see that an armed teacher in California accidentally fired his weapon during a safety lesson.  A student  was injured when fragments from the bullet hit him in the neck after hitting the ceiling.

On the same day in Virginia, a school resource teacher who is a 5 year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department accidentally discharged his weapon while inside George Washington Middle School. No one was injured during this incident, but someone could have been seriously injured or killed.

Is this the kind of environment you want your child attending every day? Do you want your children’s schools essentially turned into a prison? Because that’s the way this is heading, and that’s not ok with me.

How about instead of arming teachers with guns, you arm them with books and school supplies so they can effectively do their jobs without having to pay out of their own pockets?

March for Our Lives

You know what? I fully support these kids in their right to free speech and their right to a peaceful protest.

Kids are tired of being gunned down in their schools. They are tired of having active shooter drills, and going to school afraid for their lives. I applaud them for standing up to force politicians to listen to what they have to say. These kids are the future, and I am highly impressed with what they have accomplished in just 4 short weeks.

Adults in power positions have given platitudes of thoughts and prayers for far too long after mass shootings. Thoughts and prayers solve absolutely nothing. It’s time for the people in charge to recognize that there are very real issues, and come up with solutions beyond wishing the families of the victims well.

If in the future my child is ready to support a cause like this, I’ll support him 100%. I’ll allow him to use his voice, and I’ll march beside him for social change. Because enough is enough.

So, when did “Liberal” become a dirty word?

When did common sense go out the window? Exactly when did it become acceptable to value guns over the lives of our kids? When did it become acceptable to be part of a greedy society hell bent on only looking out for yourself?

I currently live in a partly socialist country where everyone pays into a system that takes care of everyone else. It may have its flaws, but I know that I won’t go bankrupt if I get sick. I know my son won’t be killed by a rogue shooter at school. If I ever need to go back on benefits due to job loss, I know that they’re available to help me. I’m happy to do my part to pay higher taxes to benefit everyone else. I’m a socialist-minded liberal and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

 

 

Sources:
(1) The Former Federal Ban http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/hardware-ammunition/large-capacity-magazines/
(2) Summary of Federal Law http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/hardware-ammunition/large-capacity-magazines/