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Guns are the only innocents in America. To be clear, I’m being sarcastic.

Whenever there’s a school shooting, you can count on the shooter being denounced as evil, as monstrous, as out of his mind. But the guns the shooter uses? There are always people who tell us not to blame the guns. Guns aren’t evil. Guns aren’t monstrous. Guns are, in a word, innocent.

It’s all very strange. I think of the children killed in Texas, along with their teachers, as being innocent. I wish we’d have kept them safe. I wish their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness hadn’t been cut down by bullets. But wish in one hand …

We hear a lot of talk about gun rights and gun safety, almost as if guns indeed had rights, almost as if America’s true goal was to keep guns safe.

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America is indeed a country where guns are safe, secure, and free to roam. We have more than 400 million of them, including more than 20 million military-style assault weapons. Congress is not seriously acting to put meaningful restrictions on guns. We’re lucky if we’ll see a “red-flag” law (allowing the confiscation of guns from a person who makes deadly threats before he decides to go on a murderous rampage), or possibly universal background checks. Of course, neither of these will curtail gun purchases and availability, and neither would have stopped the latest shooter in Texas, who purchased his guns legally and apparently showed no clear “red flag” before he attacked a school and killed 19 innocent children.

And there’s that word again. Innocent. We need to focus on child rights and child safety, not gun rights and gun safety. Don’t you think?

I’ve been a gun owner and have shot everything from a pellet rifle and .22 pistol to a .44 magnum Model 29 Smith & Wesson, made famous by Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry.”Model 29 Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum.

I’ve felt the powerful allure of guns. I also have no problem with hunters, target shooters, and all the responsible gun owners we have in America. But when guns are responsible for 45,000 deaths a year in America (data from 2020), and when mass shootings become almost forgettable in their repetition (except in the most heinous cases, like the latest mass murder event in Texas), it’s time to admit that guns are not the innocents here. They are part of the problem, and restrictions to their ownership is part of the solution.

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