Thirty seconds. Nine people killed, 27 injured. Thirty seconds is all it took with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and a high capacity magazine to wreak that kind of havoc in Dayton, Ohio, last weekend. Local police took the suspect down in record time. But still.
How long before this happens in Memphis? When could it be "our turn"? It is a terrible thought, but isn't that on everyone's mind right now?
- Kbiros | Dreamstime.com
We are going to have to stand up and say "enough is enough." And it isn't going to be easy. No single solution is going to wipe out all of this violence. But something — anything — needs to be done. I honestly thought Sandy Hook would do it. Then I thought maybe Vegas would surely knock some common sense into our elected leaders. But no.
It is time for our government to institute real change, and it is going to take ordinary citizens like all of us to force the change. Our voices do indeed matter. It doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, and it has nothing to do with your "platform." These are people's lives in the balance, and tomorrow, it might be your kid.
We have to take an honest look in the mirror and realize that no other country in the Western civilized world has the massive amount of issues with gun deaths as our own country. Over 30,000 dead each year! The statistics overwhelmingly point to a serious issue, yet Americans' undying love of our gun culture somehow overrules common sense when it comes to keeping the public safe.
People talk about our "freedom" that we have in the U.S. And we do have a lot of freedom. Maybe too much sometimes? I'm sorry, but there are just some folks who should never have the opportunity to own a lethal weapon — especially something that can kill nine people in 30 seconds.
As a former cop in the military and, for a while, in civilian life, I can state without a doubt that these types of weapons should not be in the hands of civilians.
And I am here to say that no, folks, Democrats do not want to "take your guns away." What Democrats and, in fact, about 70 percent of the country's voting public want, according to a recent poll, are sensible gun laws, including:
• Comprehensive background checks
• Psych evals
• Red flag laws
• Ban high-capacity magazines
• Assault-style weapons ban or strict regulation
These are all sensible, reasonable ideas that will help cut down the carnage. And if not an outright ban on these high-capacity, rapid-firing weapons, why not do it just like the military? Require people to store them in an armory at a gun range, and they can check them out when they want to target shoot. This is what we did in the military. Not one of us took home our M-16s. It should be no different, if not more strict, in civilian life.
Let me put it this way. We have to take a test to drive a car, which can be lethal but rarely kills nine people in 30 seconds. And if you can't pass a written or practical test, guess what? You don't get to drive on public roads. Sensible firearm regulation should be the same, just as it is in so many countries around the world who have strong gun regulations and very little gun crime.
My next statement will no doubt piss a few people off — maybe more than a few — but it is true: The Second Amendment was written during a time when our country was brand-new, and the founding fathers sought to arm a "well-regulated militia" (i.e. a military unit) to ensure that the checks and balances that were put in place would stand and that no foreign powers could easily come and overthrow our fledgling nation.
The times have changed. It's been 250 years. The Second Amendment should be amended, or other laws should be put in place around it. I am a responsible gun owner, and I am more than happy to take any test you throw at me. If you aren't willing to take and pass a test or to undergo a simple background check, you don't deserve to own a lethal weapon.
The right to live peacefully in our country, without fear of getting mowed down by someone with a gun, supersedes the Second Amendment.
Zach Bair is CEO of Music Technology Company VNUE, a Mid-South recording artist, and owner of two live music venues in Memphis.