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Guns Don't Kill People, People with Guns Kill People

Updated on December 14, 2012
Matt Barber claims that Planned Parenthood is to blame for the Colorado Killings
Matt Barber claims that Planned Parenthood is to blame for the Colorado Killings

The Tragedy in Colorado

In the wake of the horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado where 12 people were killed and over 50 people were injured for the crime of seeing a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, Americans are again discussing gun policy. It seems Americans only discuss gun policy after some horrific shooting occurs and then after a few days go back to talking about what is really important, i.e., American Idol and Snookie. Neither Presidential candidate has spoken about gun control on the campaign trial. When asked about guns, Republican nominee Mitt Romney said single mothers were to blame for much of the gun violence in the United States.

But many conservatives and specifically the National Gun Association take every terrible mass shooting to scream from the rooftops about gun rights and the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. Already, the Westboro Baptist Church, the God Hates America people, have stated they are going to picket the funerals of those killed in Colorado. One of their local leaders, Margie Phelps, has already sent tweets thanking God for the shooter. Another good conservative, Pastor Rick Warren, has blamed the shooting on the teaching of evolution claiming that "When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it." Yet another conservative leader, Matt Barber, founder of Liberty Counsel, a non-profit public interest law firm that defends "Christian religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family," blames Planned Parenthood, "turning our back on God" and America's abortion "culture of death" for the theater killings.

While the NRA can't be blamed for acts of madness, they should be held accountable for making sure that madness is armed.
While the NRA can't be blamed for acts of madness, they should be held accountable for making sure that madness is armed.

Guns Don't Kill People

At the very least the NRA, conservative groups and good hearted gun owners will state that Guns Don't Kill people. And they are right. It is too easy to simply blame guns. The guy who fired an automatic weapon into a crowded movie theatre killed and injured those people. And the criminal justice system should take care of him. He is to blame. He should be held accountable.

But what the NRA and the conservative right seems to ignore is that when these tragic events happen, the person who committed the crime always has a gun. These events hardly ever involve an ax. They hardly ever involve a knife. They hardly ever involve bombs. They almost always involve some high power automatic weapon that most soldiers who love to have with them in a foxhole. While the NRA and these conservative leaders should not be blamed for acts of madness, they should be held accountable for ensuring that the madness showed up armed.

Pundits and Politicians are not to blame for the Colorado shooting (this guy is) but they should be accountable for creating a culture where these guys get guns so easily to defend against the threats that pundits and politicians claim exist.
Pundits and Politicians are not to blame for the Colorado shooting (this guy is) but they should be accountable for creating a culture where these guys get guns so easily to defend against the threats that pundits and politicians claim exist.


When evil acts like the one committed in Colorado occur pundits of every type try to point and blame. Conservatives blame liberals, liberals blame conservatives. In the end, no one is held accountable except in some instances the person who actually committed the act. That is good. But what about the culture that allows someone to get his hands on a weapon that should only be used in war? Until the moment the shooter in Colorado pulled the trigger, most likely, no crime had been committed. And who is to blame for the mindset that led to the killings?

Rush Limbaugh claimed the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises is anti-Romney propaganda masterminded by the President Obama and the liberal media. In short, Limbaugh claimed that the villain in the movie was a mockery of Mitt Romney. Nobody can blame Rush for the shooting. But Limbaugh and other conservative pundits, religious leaders and even political leaders often make outlandish accusations about conspiracy theories. Despite what they say, none of these people want to be held accountable for the fact that many of their listeners might actually believe what they say thus creating a culture where people believe that everything that the current administration is doing is an attack on their way of life. After all, Michele Bachmann is currently alleging that anyone with a tan that works is government is part of a conspiracy by the Muslin Brotherhood to infiltrate the United States.

And the shooter in Colorado didn't have to work very hard to get his arsenal. He bought the guns at local gun stores. He bought much of the ammunition on the internet. Nothing that he did before shooting up a movie theatre was illegal.

The point of this is that in recent years those who have committed these egregious acts have been right wing people doing so to save their country. From the Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, the Holocaust Museum, these are not liberals committing these acts. It is good god fearing people taking the law into their hands to defend against the attack on their country and way of life that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity told them about. At some point, everyone needs to be held accountable for the culture they create.

Americans really need to decide whether the 2nd Amendment still makes sense.
Americans really need to decide whether the 2nd Amendment still makes sense.

So what is the answer?

The 2nd Amendment exists. Can't deny it and can't get around it. Until such time as Americans decide that the 2nd Amendment is no longer viable, it governs gun policy in this Country. And it should. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights is the framework of a society that values freedom even if at a cost. When the Constitution was adopted the 2nd Amendment was a necessary right to ensure that the militia was armed in case of invasion, to sustain a society that relied on hunting and to protect against government overreach. But if the Founding Founders knew about the technological advances where guns could kill and injure over 70 people in the matter of seconds, would they still have the same thoughts? And to remind the NRA, the word "regulated" also exists in the 2nd Amendment. Even the Founding Father wanted some form of regulation of gun rights. If the NRA is going to claim the Constitution as the basis of its argument, the least it can do is read the document.

The answer of what role guns play in our society is not easy. There are good law abiding citizens who have guns that should not have their rights infringed upon. They are hunters and people who want to protect their homes and families. But people with guns kill other people. Plain and simple. Yes, not everyone with a gun kills people. But when a large number of people are killed in a theater, a mall, or on a school campus, it is always with guns. As a society, the United States really needs to debate whether unfettered access to military style weapons is truly best


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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thank you for your very thoughtful argument. And you raise some great points. And totally agree, even if me and you don't agree, we can have a good debate over an important issue without getting nasty. Only if our "leaders" could do the same.

      But, we agree on many things. We both see a cultural problem. And I agree with you, this problem does not get solved even if we got rid of every gun. There is something sick in the culture. Could be the media, school, republicans, democrats, the water, who knows. Could be a combination. And until we address that in an honest and respectful manner, not sure anything will work.

      I appreciate you taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 

      4 years ago from California

      You did a good job relating to both sides of the argument. You see why the 2nd Amendment is there, and that there are legitimate reasons for having guns. You also voiced concerns over the types of guns allowed.

      It's a heated topic, no doubt. I would hope that all of us, regardless of sides, would approach the topic respectfully and thoughtfully. I'm not disturbed by the gun violence in this country as much as I am mortified by the violence I see in other humans, period.

      If someone has intentions to hurt other people, I'm not sure there is anything we can do to stop them. Weapons can be created by household objects and a trip to Home Depot.

      What type of sick minded freak walks into a theater and murders people? At that point, that individual is so far gone, there should be no provision for rehabilitation. They have lost their right to be human. Why have we not waged war against violence itself, instead of the tools of violence?

      Even if the guns were taken away, gangs would still murder, parents would still abuse their own children, and sick minded freaks would try to take innocent life. What is disturbing to me is that we have allowed a culture of violence to become an underground economy in this country. Drugs, media, a takeover of the education system, the break down of the family unit, welfare, and many other factors have made us what we are.

      You may counter the above argument by bringing up the accessibility of guns, but one thing I have really been thinking a lot about lately is the idea of what exactly a gun is. It is a spring that causes a pin to hit a chemical. Seriously, what is so scary about that? I have seen people who have never interacted with guns, get freaked out at the mere sight of them, which is totally irrational. Without it loaded, pointed in your direction and a finger on the trigger, it is a really expensive spring.

      Everyone should be taught proper gun safety, regardless of it they intend to own one, because it would make us all safer. If your child came across a gun, would you know what to do to make the situation safe? If you were cleaning out a deceased relative's house and came across a gun, would you know how to make sure it was unloaded? I would say 90% of my acquaintances wouldn't know what to do. I live in an area where guns aren't a huge part of life or tradition, and most people have never interacted with one.

      There was some talk above about assault rifles. There is a federal ban on assault rifles in the U.S. It is illegal, outside of special permitting, to own a rifle with a threaded barrel and is fully automatic. The common citizen cannot go to their local sporting good store and bring home a military rifle. However, you can buy a look alike that is, in essence, no different from any other semi-auto rifle. Some people have mistakenly called an "AR-15" an assault rifle, which it is not. It uses a .223/5.56mm round that is popular in hunting, especially medium sized game like deer.

      Those of us in the great state of California can only have 10 rounds and are required to have a "bullet button" installed, so that it requires a tool to drop the magazine. This makes it difficult to quickly reload. In theory, this would make it harder to have a high body count in a mass shooting. The truth is, is that a well rehearsed marksman could still mass murder with a bolt action rifle. So why do we waste our time arguing 10 rounds vs. 12. Is that really the problem?

      Everyone I know in the gun community takes their ownership responsibility seriously. It would be a shame to take away hunting and sport shooting from those who love it so much. Freedom always comes at a cost. If you don't like the great American experiment of individual responsibility and freedom, there are plenty of other choices of residencies on this planet.

      I really enjoyed reading all of your points of view. I hope that, at the end of the day, we are all friends, and enjoy being on HubPages to comment on each other's work. No judgment, no disrespect. Cheers!

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I agree with you pstraubie. In regards to this argument about how if someone wants a gun they will get it no matter what, I understand the theory. But in recent shootings the guns were legal. Some were delivered by mail. Shouldn't we make it a bit harder to get assault weapons? Just a thought.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      I agree...the one holding the gun is the killer. I believe that we have a right and unforutnatley a need to possess guns. However, I do believe that the ease with which assault weapons can be gotten is defintiely not a deterrent to someone who knows they have evil intent. I always know that no matter how many laws there are those who want those guns are going to be able to find those who are willing to sell them. There is no easy thing we all need to do is be aware, more aware of those who seem to be losing control or getting out of control. That may be one way we can begin to make a difference.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Goose, You are the first to notice the gun ad. Put it there on purpose. Way too easy.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • goosegreen profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice hub. I think your amazon capsule sums up the problem. "Walther CP99 Compact Pistol" for $55. Life is cheap and unfortunately as the human population gets larger you get a larger number of psychopaths. It stands to reason that if you restrict gun sales you reduce the number of armed maniacs. Sure there will always be a black market but the black market is usually the domain of criminals who carry guns for protection and intimidation rather than killing for the sake of it.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Well, I don't know the answer. I personally don't like guns, but I don't think me not liking guns is grounds to taking them away from everyone. My answer is a serious discussion to define the right. I believe the 2nd Amendment needs to be redefined, rewritten for current times. But the hub is about the discussion, not necessarily about guns.

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 

      6 years ago from New Hamphire

      bgpappa, first, it takes some guts to open up such dialogue. (Few people want to 'get involved' or 'ruffle anyone's feathers') and although you didn't actually voice your particular opinion loudly, you express your thoughts and opened a conversation. This type of topic MUST be discussed if we are to hope for some kind of solution. As for not sharing your answers to this problem, I'm not so sure that too many people have an actual answer to such a complicated issue. Also, there are times when we may NOT know what the answers are, we simply know what IS wrong and wish to shine some light on the matter.

      A few more thoughts regarding your hub (I am hopping, after all), You have offered the reader a fair bit of information. This topic could take volumes to write on, so I think that you covered some main points. Perhaps you could go further into the 2nd amendment...offer a more in depth reading list......or even a brief history into the NRA-just thoughts to ponder.

      A few of my own personal thoughts on your hub:

      1-I wish you had chosen not to post Holmes' photo. I understand that we all need and want information, news coverage, etc., but I so often can help think that the notoriety is what they want and at the very least, we should not give it to them.

      2-Who ever told you that an assault weapon is for sport is a liar. Period.

      3-I too, would like to know if you were trying to make a point, texshelters. This topic, as I mentioned, is critically important. Coherent dialogue is necessary.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      And your point is?

    • texshelters profile image


      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      And if I want to kill people, I buy an assault weapon.


    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      You know, I know the violence in video games has scientific viability, but I am not sure I am sold yet. I also don't think censorship is the answer. Parenting works though, I tell my kids no all the time. I monitor their video games, internet access, etc. While we may live in a democracy, my house is a dictatorship. Many parents have no clue.

      But your point is well taken. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Prakash Dighe profile image

      Prakash Dighe 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas, USA

      I strongly believe that more stringent controls need to be in place before an ordinary civilian can acquire high caliber assault weapons. I also believe that excessive violence on video games and on screen needs to be curbed, as this is one factor that can develop personalities like the killer in Colorado.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      You know, I admittedly know very little about guns. But when I hear about how automatic rifles are for sport I think about how much of a deer or a duck would be left when finished and would you actually want to eat a duck with 100 rounds in it. Now even though I personally don't like guns, don't own one myself, I respect the fact other people do like them. So ya, I don't want to infringe on the rights of people who like guns to own them. But military style guns seem a bit too much.

    • daskittlez69 profile image


      6 years ago from midwest

      lol. When I was younger I used to go Deer and Turkey hunting. And I still own a rifle and two shotguns, so I won't argue with you there. If you owned an assault rifle, there wouldn't be too much meat left to eat on a deer.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Fair point daskittlez. In my perfect world, I would rewrite the 2nd amendment. I would make it clear what the right is. As written, and in its historical context, it has to do with the militia, which isn't necessary. So repeal the 2nd Amendment, rewrite it. What is the right? Shot guns and handguns only after background check. No magazines that fire more than 30. I don't want to take guns away from everybody. But I think reasonable minds can agree on the grenade launcher? And automatic assult weapons.

      What are your thoughts?

    • daskittlez69 profile image


      6 years ago from midwest

      bgpappa I would have liked your Hub more of you would have given ways to fix the issue. Or if you would have picked a sitem gave your two cents, etc... You said what other sides argued about but you didn't want to infringe on anybody's rights.


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