Dear friends who say that calling for better gun laws is like calling for a ban on cars: First of all, cars are not designed to kill people. Deaths arise from accidents. Secondly, car ownership and driving are highly regulated activities including an elaborate licensing system, insurance mandate, penalties and terms for getting licenses revoked. What we are saying, to quote my friend Mike Stafford, is like calling for seat belt laws after a car crash, not banning cars.
Jim Sanches writes, "If they're going to use the car analogy, fine, let's regulate them as well as we do cars then. We mandate seat belts, headlights, the licensing of every car yearly and liability insurance on every car for starters. Not to mention all the rules of the road, traffic lights, stops signs, etc we all must obey even if we've never violated any of them."
Dear friends who say that Newtown is about mental illness and we should only discuss improving healthcare for the mentally ill: This is like saying drinking and driving is about alcoholism and we should only discuss treatment for alcoholism and not discuss how to prevent drinking and driving.
Dear friends who say the problem is the person not the gun: The problem is the person with the gun.
Dear friends who say we need guns to protect ourselves from the government: To beat the US government, you're gonna need bigger and better weapons than guns. Would you be in favor of legalizing civilians owning tanks, bombs, fighter planes, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons?
Dear friends who treat the Constitution as some holy scripture from God and who think they have divined the correct, original, literal, interpretation of it: News Flash! The founding fathers were not psychics who could predict the future. They didn't think of everything. The Constitution doesn't mention online identity theft. Does that mean we shouldn't protect ourselves from it? The genius of the framers of the Constitution is that they wrote a living document that was designed to be amended as we go.
Dear friends who think we need more God in the classroom: Our country is founded on the the principle of the separation of church and state because it is dangerous to mix power and religion. Historically, it's led to tyranny. No, we do not need more religion in classrooms. We need more common sense and respect for the give-and-take of our democratic process. We need to insist on fact-based, civil dialogue.
Dear friends who think we need more guns in the classroom to protect our children: Why stop at arming teachers? Why not arm children? How far will you go in thinking that easy access to guns is the solution to the problem of gun violence in our society? Do you want any regulation at all? Do you want buying assault rifles to be as easy as getting a Slurpee from 7-11? Would you allow children to purchase guns? Do you really think easy access to combat weapons is about personal freedom? Do you really think that's what founding fathers had in mind when they made enormous sacrifices to build America? I'm so baffled and disgusted by this response, I only have questions for you. I can't understand how you're thinking about this.
Dear friends who fear that your guns will be confiscated: NRA seems to enjoy inciting fears among gun owners that guns will be banned and their weapons confiscated. This is just a fear tactic. I don't see anyone on the national stage calling for this, certainly not on Capitol Hill.
There is a big difference between NRA members and NRA leadership by the way. There are ideas for better regulations that the majority of NRA members agree on, but the NRA leadership does not advocate for them or are fiercely opposed to them. For example, the majority of NRA members support closing the gun show loophole, reporting lost and stolen guns, and states sharing records with the National Instant Background Check System.
Instead of encouraging discussion and real information, NRA spreads fear and misinformation. Please listen to what we are actually saying instead of what you fear we are saying.
Annabel is a filmmaker and the founder of the Coffee Party. Her new documentary project is Story of America: A Nation Divided. You can follow her on Twitter @annabelpark and subscribe to her Facebookupdates.