As you know if you’ve read my “New Wild West” column, I feel strongly about the state of guns in the U.S., though I’m still divided personally. I see nations like Japan, where the gun laws are much stricter and they suffer far fewer gun deaths than the U.S., but I was raised in a fiercely gun-happy state.
Recently, Wal-Mart made a stand for gun control; or at least, it may seem that way based on the fact that they’ve stopped selling certain ammunitions, as well as all handguns, especially if the ammunition could be used in military-style weapons.
Now, do I think this will make a difference? No, probably not.
Not selling ammunition just circumvents the blame of whose bullets were in the mass shooter’s gun, but it doesn’t take out the clip.
Not to throw stones at the corporation, but a few letters to the White House and some dropped sales aren’t going to change things. A part of me wants to be understanding, and say they’re trying their best.
Then again, it’s a multi-billion dollar company and the biggest grocery store in the U.S. They can do more.
Without a doubt, there needs to be two fundamental changes in the U.S. for guns to be less of a threat, and that’s to realize that guns are not the threat. Guns present a capability, but they aren’t all-purpose and they aren’t autonomous.
Let me set the scene for you. Two people are sitting in a truck, driver's seat and passenger seat. The person in the driver’s seat has the intent to kill the passenger. Which do you think is more dangerous, an AR-15 in the backseat or a pistol under his driver's side?
It’s undoubtedly the pistol. Ease of use, space, whatever the reason, that gun is more capable than the other, despite the other being a more powerful weapon.
During a home invasion, is a shotgun best or an assault rifle? When being attacked by a wild animal, is a shotgun best or a handgun? The reason I bring up these examples is that guns can be dangerous in almost any sense, so we either take away all of them or none of them.
One effectively is impossible and I don’t agree with, and the other is ignoring the problems we face. It’s not the gun, it’s the person. Before we ever banned assault rifles, we should have gotten more thorough background checks. Before we banned bump stocks, we should have had gun safety training mandatory before purchase.
There is a deeper, more intrinsic problem that we face. No amount of gun banning will help it, because depending on the circumstance, a pistol is just as dangerous as an assault rifle. They both kill. Our job is to stop putting them in the hands of killers.
So a part of me wants to applaud Wal-Mart for trying, but intent only gets you so far. It’s not going to help what happens here, it just changes who supplies the bullets. Sell handguns, Wal-Mart, just make it only possible with a lengthy background check, a gun safety class, and a physical and mental capability check-up.
If this was to set an example, set a good one.