Do we really need to own guns?

Please read the entire article before losing your marbles. Thanks.

FLORIDA, July 27, 2012 — Following the Aurora shooting, the subject of gun control has returned to our national dialogue.

Earlier this week, I wrote about my plan for firearms safety. The article itself was quite popular in terms of readership, but not so much when it came to reader commentary.

What I proposed was quite simple; that a thirty day waiting period for firearm sales be mandated by the government.

During this time, law enforcement officials would conduct a series of comprehensive background checks on all purchasers. If nothing negative were to turn up, then an individual could retrieve his or her gun after it has been registered at the nearest police precinct.

While this policy does answer questions about quality control insofar as firearm owners are concerned, it does not even begin to address a much larger question.

Why should civilians own guns in the first place?

Many have been wondering about this, and are actively searching for solid answers. Said search has been taking place since long before any of us knew who James E. Holmes was. I have heard everyone from white collar professionals to the bluest of blue collar farmhands ask why people ought to own guns, and often pondered this myself.

I believe in the Second Amendment. I think every American citizen has the inalienable right to bear arms, chiefly for the purposes of self-defense and legal hunting.

However, I am not blind to the fact that more than a few have chosen to turn what should be an ownership of necessity into an almost romantic hobby.

These days, it is not hard to find people who collect M-16s, AK-47s, Mac-10s, and much more in the same way that others of us drool at Aston Martins or finely tailored suits. Obsessing over fast cars and Italian threads is one thing, but Uzis are quite another.

In short, is it too much to ask that only decent people own firearms, and even then for the right reasons? I certainly hope not; any nation that calls itself a first world one deserves nothing less.    

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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