What do these two big national arguments have in common?
A lot of people want to stop gay people from getting married because they don’t feel comfortable with gay marriage, even though gay marriage is not causing them any harm.
A lot of people want to decrease the amount of guns in this country – even legal guns of those of people who have never caused any harm – because they don’t feel comfortable with guns.
I’m sure there are a few people out there who want to ban guns AND gay marriage, but in general it seems there is not much overlap between these two groups of, shall we say, “banners”.
The “banees” in both instances (in the second instance I’m referring to the gun owners, not the guns themselves) are justifiably claiming “You are trying to interfere with my rights!”
I feel that we always have to be very careful when letting one group of people tell another group of people what they can have, be, or do. If you feel that you have the right to tell other people how they can live, then you have to understand that you are opening the door for them to get to tell you how YOU can live.
Of course, the undeniable difference between these two debates is this: I don’t believe that any innocent bystander has ever been killed by the discharge of a gay marriage.
Another difference is that gay marriage is an all or nothing debate – you have to allow it or not allow it. The gun control debate is much more complicated, in that there are so many different levels of control being asked for by different people.
I believe that a lot of reasonable people want better enforcement of the gun laws that are already on the books, and consistent application of background checks regardless of where you purchase the weapon. Then there are more extreme people who want certain kinds of weapons completely unavailable, and limits on the availability of ammunition. And then, over here in the corner, we have the people who seriously want to see our country without any guns at all.
I hear a lot of gun rights advocates responding as though all gun control advocates fall into that last category – as if the matter of gun laws is as black-and-white as that of gay marriage laws.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this… I don’t know what the answer is.
I do know that if we banned everything that I could use to kill someone, it would be awfully hard for me to prepare dinner tonight.
I also know that being told I couldn’t marry the consenting adult person that I love would make me even more angry than being told I couldn’t buy the gun I want.
We live in a crazy world.