It seems that I have a lot of Facebook friends who are gun-owners and/or supporters of gun rights. They are all posting that they "have the right to bear arms", and that "guns don't kill people; people kill people". Technically, they are correct; the Second Amendment guarantees their right to possess weapons, and a gun can't kill anyone without a person loading it and firing it. Fine--we can all agree on that. But in the wake of the terrible school shooting (the latest in a disturbing series of such tragedies), people are calling for stricter gun control.
Consider this: A friend of mine, S, recently moved to a rural area, and she is considering getting a gun for protection. She has two small children, and in the event of an aggressive animal or intruder, there won't be any time for her to weigh her options in protecting herself and her family. If she goes about obtaining a gun legally and uses it responsibly, is it wrong if she chooses to do so? A better option might be a dog, but that leads to the argument that some dogs are dangerous. Good thing S has common sense and isn't rushing into anything. However, if someone lives in a rural area and has reason to worry about wildlife or trespassers, do they need an assault rifle or semi-automatic weapon? No, not unless they are expecting an army of rabid coyotes.
One of my pro-gun friends, M, has posted numerous comments on her wall, and almost each one is met with a counter argument from a friend of hers. Her friend pointed out that the Bill of Rights--and thus the Second Amendment--was written over 200 years ago, when the standard weapon was a musket. He suggests that if people want to own a firearm, then make it a musket. In a serious situation, you would only have one chance, so you better be a good shot. But if you are going to own any firearm, you better be a good shot, right?
On the other hand, a plethora of friends are posting things such as
It's time to face the facts: (1) We as a nation are not going let these senseless killings continue without doing something to prevent them. People, especially parents, are angry and afraid. A mama bear is the most dangerous thing in the wild, after all, and a daddy bear is not something to mess with, either. (OK, enough with the metaphors.) (2) No change in gun laws is going to happen overnight. Even though President Obama shed tears over the deaths of so many children, he will have a fight on his hands to make any real changes when it comes to access to guns.
There is no easy solution, but a good start would be for both sides to agree that the issue is not clear cut, and that there is a lot of gray area. That means, when someone is presenting an opinion different from yours, listen to what they are saying. And if you own a gun, don't shoot them.