Jay Parini: Let’s get rid of guns in this country, once and for all

CNN – by Jay Parini

How many more lives have to be ruined by guns before we finally take them away? And how often do we have to listen to crazy people (including members of the Supreme Court) telling us that the Second Amendment grants every American citizen the right to carry a weapon?

I’m tired of hearing about this “well-regulated militia” that is so necessary for American freedom.  

Jay Parini OK, if you want a “well-regulated” militia, get some strong regulations in place. I don’t myself mind if, in addition to the police and the military, there are some self-appointed militias in old-fashioned breeches carrying muskets — that’s the sort of firearm our Founding Fathers knew about. But let’s regulate them.

I suspect that the framers of the Bill of Rights have long since rolled over in their graves. They never meant that ordinary citizens, including crackpots, should be able to buy weapons meant for battlefields. The only people who should be carrying military-style weapons are soldiers and police officers.

And Donald Trump is dead wrong: Teachers should not carry weapons.

I’ve been teaching full-time for 41 years at small colleges, and I can’t imagine what it would mean for me or my colleagues to be armed with handguns or rifles instead of books and a thorough knowledge of our chosen disciplines. In my view, an educational institution is the last place on Earth where anyone should ever dream of having a weapon on hand just in case a madman turns up.

Do we really want our campuses turned into armed camps?

Colleges and classrooms should be havens of tranquility, places where thoughtful discussions occur, where students work together with their teachers to acquire knowledge of the arts and sciences. A campus should be peaceful and peace-loving, and they should be places where arguments are made and defended rationally, with evidence.

The fact that Christopher Harper-Mercer was legally able to acquire so many guns was decried by his own father, Ian Mercer. “How was he able to compile that kind of arsenal?” he wondered aloud, decrying our lack of gun laws. Good for him to say that! It’s been the same problem again and again:madmen get their hands on dangerous weapons. And, too often, they do so legally.

Let me dream for a moment: I would much prefer to live in a country where only hunters who pass appropriately strict tests for mental competence and a knowledge of gun safety can still acquire rifles that are appropriate for hunting. Handguns and assault rifles would be banned, period.

And no, guns do not make you safer, as countless studies have shown. A household with guns is a dozen times more likely to have someone in that house killed by an intruder.

It’s also obvious that handgun ownership, in particular, wildly increases the chances that somebody will die from suicide by using that gun. It’s harder to kill yourself with a knife or razor blade, as studies have shown again and again. And more police officers are killed in areas where there are more weapons around. The facts are not up for grabs here.

There is no safety in gun ownership. Only threat.

So let’s get rid of guns in this country, once and for all, making it a felony to possess a handgun or assault rifle. Over a period of years, illegal guns will gradually disappear. Guns don’t kill people, as they say. People who acquire guns — legally or illegally — do. And we should make it extremely difficult for them to get their hands on these weapons.


15 thoughts on “Jay Parini: Let’s get rid of guns in this country, once and for all

  1. Big words for a little rat. Why don’t you grow a pair and come try and take them? It’s very simple…we , the freemen, have more guns and we are willing to use them. How many of the government lackeys are willing to die to betray their nation? Not enough and never will be.

  2. My front door welcomes you , please come yourself ( i know you wont be armed ) and try to take away what is rightfully mine

    I will view it as theft as I have paid for every weapon I own , make sure you wear your balls !

  3. Great delusional post from a person who feels safe, warm and cuddly in the confines of academia, but who doesn’t have a clue about real life. He is wrapped in a perfect world (for him) where his only threat comes from a book he might be reading that scares him. His solution is to immediately call for the banning and destruction of scary (in his opinion) books. He neglects to mention that more people have met their deaths from the barrel of a police officers gun under the guise of law than from any mass shootings by a mentally disturbed individual. He blames the object, rather than the individual.
    I strongly suggest that he move to a country where gun ownership is forbidden, to live out his dream filled utopia of a gun free society. China, North Korea, England, etc., and leave the rest of us who are gun owners alone. We do not need another milk-toast person telling us how to live in our own country. Don’t like it here, don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass on your way out the door!

  4. American Nationals: Let’s get rid of Jay Parini and any other Communist bastards in this country, once and for all!

  5. Rarely have I seen so much ignorance and idiocy packed into a single essay.

    I don’t have nearly enough time to address this deluge of stupidity point-by-point, but let’s consider that old chestnut about how the Founders “never imagined firearms beyond muskets.” Sure, those were the primary small arms of the time — for civilians AND military forces. The Founders wanted civilians to have the same weapons as soldiers for a reason. They wanted “every terrible instrument of the soldier” to remain in the hands of the people. Today that means assault rifles, AP rounds, and all kinds of other stuff.

    With the development of bioweapons and nukes, I can accept that true weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction — if they must exist — should be “public property” rather than privately owned. But any public servants entrusted to the care of such weapons should be kept on a VERY short leash by the public — just like all government personnel should be.

    Anyway, Parini: GFY.

    1. A word to the Communist JEWS….TRY IT! This isn’t 1917 Russia and we will never forget the +60 million that the Jews starved and murdered and millions of others that the Jews had sent to gulags in Siberia.

  6. This little commie sewer rat is advocating the elimination of my God-given right to defend myself, my family and my country?
    This reprehensible creature deserves a good tar-and-feathering; and a nice bumpy ride on a rail to the port of egress from our free land to one more suitable for a craven pisswilly such as he.

  7. For those that do not like our freedoms, here in the US of A, please leave us alone & move to a country that agrees with your twisted views.

  8. With guns we are citizens
    Without them we are subjects.
    Yes, this is a sound bite, but test assured it makes more sense than anything the writer of the article put to paper. There is one thing in particular that really frosts my toes. The argument that the founders never intended for us to have the modern firearms and that those of us who own them should ” be wearing breaches and using muskets” . This BS attack on the 2nd amendment deserves a big fat raspberry. Ttthhhpppt.
    If you want to eviscerate the constitution one amendment at a time, what’s next? Writers such as the author can only use a quill and ink? Only the Fed. can partake in trade? I’m really certain that the founders never dreamt of abortion or the current state of pornography. I could go on and on but I think the point is made.

    1. There is no argument when it comes to the fact that it is our birthright to be better armed than our military, as affirmed by Tench Coxe, who actually participated in putting the 2nd Article in our people’s Bill of Rights, to be attached to the Constitution as the ruling authority over our government that serves us and pays homage to our Bill of Rights.

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