I am not going to change your mind about guns

Matthew Wallace | Staff Writer

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

This is not an article in which I try to convince you about the merits of stricter gun laws. This is not the space in which I appeal to your rational side by repeating facts and statistics about how much more likely you are to get shot by your own gun than to successfully defend your home. This is not to tell you military-style guns have no place in our modern society, when all you need is to place an online order for parts to change a hunting rifle into an assault rifle (which, by the way, is not what everyone thinks it is). No, I cannot get anyone to change their minds about guns. For the Second Amendment’s most fervent supporters, mentioning anything about making it harder for people to purchase a firearm is like insulting their religion; it is an attack on what they hold most dear and what they will defend their beliefs against until the day they die.

But what can change your mind? Will high school kids getting killed by guns work? No, Columbine didn’t do it. We got a documentary, though.

What about college students—people looking to begin their own lives after leaving home for the first time? I thought not: Virginia Tech didn’t have enough impact to change the law.

Go pray for a better world, you say? Sorry, Dylann Roof made sure to let black people know that attacking churches was not something to be left in the 1960s.

How about we all just go see a movie to take our minds off of how terrible the world has gotten? Well, even “Batman” couldn’t save us that time, in Aurora, Colo.

People will tell you these things “just happen” and that there is nothing we can do about it. Mass shootings are the price of freedom—or so all the news pundits tell me. The United States Constitution guarantees people the right to bear arms, they say. And apparently you do not have to be a “well-regulated militia” to find it necessary to ensure the security of a free state.

This is America: We’re supposed to have the ability to interpret and change one of our founding documents when we find that the opinions of rich white men in the late 1700s no longer suit our evolving society. Like, for example, ending slavery, even though it was only about half of them who agreed to the whole “freeing” bit. But hey, women got the right to vote, so that’s cool. Although, it did take more than 100 years after the country’s founding.

But better late than never, right? Except, what about that time the country banned alcohol because of the dangers it causes to the human body and society? Prohibition didn’t even make it 15 years, but at least we got something done. I guess a nice cold beer does make the institutional racism and oppression go down easier. Like a spoonful of sugar, but for America.

No, none of that will change your mind.

Would 20 babies do it though? Well, not actual babies, but they were first graders, young kids. Just enjoying a nice December day at school, thinking about how to get better at writing their names and getting excited to show off how well they could read. Remember when you were a 6-year-old? Fun times, right? Good thing no one—expressing their Second Amendment right— decided to make that your last day.

But even that didn’t change your mind.

So, what will change your mind? Will it be when you hear those all-too-familiar-sounding pops out of nowhere? When you freeze in panic because you don’t know which way to go? When that handgun you keep with you all the time is useless because there are terrified people running everywhere to find safety, and you have no clue where the shots are actually coming from? When all you can think about is making it home safe to tell those close to you how much you love them? When all you can smell is a hot, metallic scent that will forever burn into your memory? When you feel the terror of being completely unsafe in a country you proclaim to love so much? Or when you realize your beloved Second Amendment has forever destroyed countless families’ lives with the squeeze of a finger?

No, that won’t change your mind either.

  • Val Ryland

    1. Well-regulated is well-regulated as in a watch, i.e., “finely tuned”. The purpose of the second amendment is to provide a means for the citizens to defend against a tyrannical government (which was precisely how this country was founded, after all); only an intellectual infant would believe that the second amendment authorizes the government to _regulate_ the rights of the citizens to defend themselves.

    2. Liberals: Donald Trump is the antichrist.
    Also liberals: People shouldn’t have the right to defend themselves against Donald Trump.

    Baffling.

  • Robert Breidenbach

    I would expect an article/opinion piece from a student at this institution of higher learning to be informed and well-reasoned. This insult-laden tripe is beneath the standard of Wash. U. The writer was more concerned with setting up straw men and engaging in stereotypes/insults than in learning about why the Constitution says what it says about the right to keep and bear arms or the history of Supreme Court jurisprudence on the 2nd Amendment. Color me unimpressed, and indeed unconvinced. In that respect, the writer is correct – he is not going to change my mind as public policy should not be based upon heated emotions, but on rational thought. Our college campuses are awash in the former and devoid of the latter.

  • Paul Felder

    Wow. What a condescending article. I think you probably managed to convince more people to oppose gun control. How about you try to tell 2nd amendment supporters how to get murderers and mass shooters to follow gun control laws or any law at all. Also, good choice mentioning failed prohibition of alcohol while advocating for the prohibition of guns.