In America, all through the 1800s well into the 1900's, it was considered completely normal to have a sidearm on you at all times. Everyone had guns and carried them openly in common daily life.
Most commonly were revolvers like the colt army single action 45. There were also things like the repeater, also 45. Women carried small concealable pocket guns, like little 25 caliber derringer break actions.
Point is, America has always had what one may call "gun culture," and contrary to the portrayals of many wild western Hollywood movies, remained quite civilized and safe for the most part.
The first big gun control measure wasn't until 1935, when the NFA declared fully automatic machine guns illegal to manufacture or import. These guns would still be available, however, all the way until 1970's when the ATF was founded.
Most of the gun control that would be enacted in the US wasn't until the last few decades.
Interestingly, during the entire history of American gun culture, there was never a trend of mass shootings until quite recently.
It started in the late 90's with the trench coat mafia school shooting incident, and has been a problem ever since.
Now, every time one of these tragedies occur, people start freaking out and calling for "more gun control! more gun control! more laws! more regulations! Ban this gun and ban that gun!"
While I get the intention behind it, let's really stop and think about this for a sec. Before we go and hand the government carte blanche to just start arbitrarily naming different common use firearms as "assault weapons" and restricting your right to own them, let's put some thought into whether or not this would even solve anything, or if it wouldn't perhaps make the situation even worse!
People seem to have this faulty belief that mass shootings somehow coincide with the availability of what they consider to be "assault weapons," of which most people cannot define or even know the difference between what distinguishes an "assault weapon" from just a "regular old weapon."
Do YOU know the difference? If you don't, maybe you should sit this one out until you know a bit more about what it is that you are even advocating for.
But I digress...
Most of the so-called "common sense gun control laws" that people are calling for are laws that are already in place on a national level, and have been there for decades.
And so it seems like they don't know what they are even talking about, and just want to take wild swings at some magical legislation that will somehow stop these tragedies from occurring, while not properly understanding the actual cause of the problem to begin with, or weighing the impact that it could have on everyone else who may have need for certain firearms and did nothing wrong.
I could get into a lot about the flawed logic behind this idea that banning guns will somehow stop violence, or how it is dangerous to arbitrarily start using vague and nebulous language like "assault weapons" to form laws that inevitably lead to serious infringements on people's rights, or how banning legal sales could actually lead to more tragedies and unnecessary deaths, but that's a different post.
For now, I just mean to point out what the problem is, and what it isn't.
At risk of sounding cliche, I'll just go straight to it: the guns are not the problem.
As mentioned at the beginning of this rant, America has ALWAYS had guns.
In fact, there are less guns being carried, and more gun laws, restrictions and regulations now than ever in the history of America, yet gun violence remains at a steady increase.
You didn't hear about mass shootings in the 1800's - 1900's when virtually everyone and their mothers would walk around armed.
Until recently, Highschools had rifle drill teams in ROTC, and kids would keep their guns on gun racks in their trucks parked in school parking lots.
There were no "assault weapons bans" or "gun free zones." There were no mandatory background checks or waiting periods. You could go down to walmart and walk out with a bottle of whiskey and a case of ammo with no one so much as raising an eyebrow.
And yet, the term "mass shooting" wasn't even coined until the late 1990's.
So what changed between now and back then?
You cannot honestly tell me that the difference is that we have "more guns," or that guns have become that much more deadly, or that its now easier to access guns, now than it was then, and so that is the reason for an uptick in violence because that just clearly isn't true!
The Semi auto-auto so-called "assault weapon" has been a thing since the early 1900's. The AR-15 was invented in the 1960's, so that's not new either, yet there were no mass shootings with AR-15's on the news every other week in the 1960's, was there?
So clearly, the amount of guns, the type of guns, or anything to do with the guns themselves simply CANNOT be the cause of this modern phenomenon.
So what is the cause?
Some think it's a decline in mental health. I certainly think that this is thinking in the right direction, but not a complete answer.
The honest answer is that no one knows for sure. I think it's to do with a combination of things like an overall decay of culture and societal values, economic hardship, overuse of various psychotropic medications that are used to treat mental conditions that didn't even exist until recently, and perhaps a myriad of other factors.
The point is, it isn't the guns, it's the people. It's the society, the culture, the whole set of circumstances that we find ourselves immersed in.
If we want to figure out what the hell is actually going on with this uptick in crime and violence, we need to be investigating all of these factors and more.
Instead, we have people throwing out half-assed, short sighted buzz-phrases like "enough is enough" and "ban assault weapons," which really means nothing and isn't helpful in anything except further dividing culture and eroding individual liberties in favor of the ever-growing government.
The people who call for this "gun control" mean well, but aren't offering anything helpful. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Let us not be intellectually lazy or dishonest here. What we're dealing with is far deeper than just banning an entire platform of legal weapons because they look scary or reminiscent to the military M4.
To think that this is any kind of real answer that will solve anything without causing other major problems is foolish and naive.
Let's stop that. Don't rush into something stupid and dangerous for the whole country because you are scared and ignorant on the subject, or because some politician came up with a buzzword that sounds good enough in place of a real solution.
Let's not politicize tragedy or divide over differences of opinion on how to solve this as a problem.
Let's not assume criminal intent or blame anyone who is a proponent of gun ownership and 2A rights.
Let's not inadvertently hand the government the power to disarm us all cause we're too scared, lazy, and apathetic to come up with a real solution.
Let's start by addressing the immediate problem directly by allocating funds to place armed guards at schools and other soft targets that are commonly targeted, then come together to figure out the real reason that so many people are becoming so incredibly deranged that they'd even think of committing such atrocities.
Let's start with that, and go from there.