Thursday, April 11, 2013

With Rights Come Responsibilities

Chicago: Gun-Free Murder
Chicago: Gun-Free Murder (Photo credit: KAZVorpal)
There's a whole lot of Gun Control talk going around.  I have friends on Facebook who have no personal desire to own a gun, and they don't feel anyone else should either.  They share and forward anti-gun slogans and articles and are quick to share every single time a crazy person shoots someone.  They scream, "Something must be done!" and "Guns kill!" and they really don't care that the vast majority of gun owners would never ever shoot anyone.

Of course, I also have friends who just as adamantly defend their gun rights.  Most of the time, the gun rights advocates make more sense to me because it really doesn't make sense to take something away from decent law-abiding people just because a few crazies and criminals have used them in bad ways.  If that held true, we'd have to take knives, hammers, baseball bats, cars, cell phones, and any number of things away from everyone because there are people who use them incorrectly and hurt and even kill other people.

Now, does that mean people should be allowed to own guns (or any of those other things that can be used to hurt, maim or kill) should not have to accept that the right to own a gun also comes with responsibility?  As all rights should.  No.  With rights come responsibilities.  That's just the way it is.  Unfortunately we live in a world that increasingly screams for rights and privileges, while trying to avoid the responsibilities that go along with those rights.   What if people voluntarily took responsibility for their own actions and their own possessions?  Think of the laws that wouldn't have to be passed.  Smokers wouldn't have to be told not to smoke in public places or within a certain distance of entrances to businesses.  People wouldn't have to be told not to text and drive.  Or drink and drive.  Or, well, I'm sure you can come up with your own examples.

Unfortunately that's not the way things work.  Responsible gun owners may always lock their guns away in biometric safes, use trigger guards, and take whatever other safety precautions necessary to insure their guns are not used by someone who may use them to commit a crime or to kill someone, and responsible gun sellers may run background checks and do everything within their power to be sure they do not sell guns to people who have no business having guns.  Unfortunately, there are too many people who are simply concerned about their 'rights' and not that concerned about the responsibilities that come with those rights.  And that's when laws have to be passed - laws that spell out the responsibilities that come with those rights. 

Just ask the smokers.  No-one took their cigarettes away; they just had to be told where it wasn't acceptable to smoke.  Or the texters.  They still have cell phones; they just had to be told it wasn't acceptable to use them for texting while driving.  These things should have been common sense, but when people can't figure these things out for themselves and be responsible, then somebody has to tell them.  I guess it's like warning labels - normal people know better than to do practically everything that is on those warning labels, but obviously somebody doesn't - otherwise how would they have even know what to warn against?

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