The Dichotomy of the Gun: Proposed Georgia, Mississippi State Laws Miss Central Point of Gun Debate
One of the fundamental problems in the gun control/gun rights argument is that the central item in the discussion, i.e. the gun, is seen as two completely different things from either side. For those who find themselves on the side of the spectrum that wants guns controlled (or banned outright) the gun is a terrifying death machine that ordinary citizens should not possess. For those on the side of the spectrum who prefers easy access to firearms (or mandatory ownership) the gun is the only real “protection” they trust.
Georgia lawmakers have recently introduced a bill that would essentially protect Georgians from any future federal laws that would “nullify certain federal laws…which attempts to govern firearms manufactured” in Georgia. Democratic State Senator Vincent Fort, who last year tried to pass an assault weapons ban, believes the new law is dangerous. He told CL Atlanta, “it’s unfortunate that this right-wing crowd [is] making these kind of extremist, ideological statements,” rather than focusing on the poor or the economy.
The ideological opposite of this bill is the recent "bullet control" proposal in the Mississippi State Legislature calling for individuals purchasing ammunition to provide personal details such as their name, Driver’s License, and Social Security Number. Law enforcement and government officials wouldn’t be the only people to have access to this information, but the records would be also open to the public.
No two individual laws better embody the central disconnect between the two sides of this argument. For gun control advocates, the idea that the entire state of Georgia would ignore federal laws seems to validate their position that there is no such thing as a “responsible” gun advocate. For those in favor of gun rights, the idea that purchasing some rounds means that the public has access to their personal information seems to validate their belief that the system is stacked against them.
What is difficult to address in legislation or even legislative discussion is the dichotomy of the gun. The thing these two laws have in common is that both come from a view of guns that the other side not only doesn’t share but doesn’t understand. A victim of gun crime wouldn’t see these weapons as protection from predators (human and animal), a way to put food on the table, or harmless sport and vice versa. Until this is addressed, any attempts to either protect gun-owners’ rights or responsibly limit everyone else’s risk will be doomed to fail on the national level.