The National Rifle Association (NRA) believes that anyone should be able to go to a gun show and purchase almost any kind of gun. So considering that, I thought to myself, who might be in need of a gun?
The first group of people that came to mind were those who might need some form of defense to protect themselves from being attacked. In my community that often happens to be transgender individuals. Now, considering the support and endorsement the NRA gives assault weapons, I've decided what is needed is an army of transgendered men and women with AK-47s.
The NRA has made it clear that the road to better safety can be paved only with individuals with guns. It's a sort of old black and white western movie plot. Instead of John Wayne, imagine an army of transgender people patrolling the streets of Philadelphia with their AK-47s, killing the bad guys wearing the black hats in a saloon shoot-out. Although today, the bad guys in black hats might be bankers and Wall Street-types stealing all of our 401k's.
Do you find my idea illogical? Maybe, but consider what Wayne LaPierre, the president of the NRA, has stated in defense of guns. In trying to find a scapegoat, he believes that the current crop of gun violence is caused by violent video games and Hollywood action films.
That is just plain silly. Those same Hollywood films and video games are more popular in other countries than in the United States, and guess what? They have less gun violence than we do.
Case in point: Japan has almost zero gun violence. Why? Because gun laws are very stringent there. It’s almost impossible to procure a gun. Yes, Japan is half a world away and a totally different culture. But let’s look at our neighbor to the north, Canada.
In 2009, Canada had a total of 173 people killed by gun violence. That's not one city, that's the whole country. That number is below American cities just over the bridge, and far less than the 400 or 500 we’re used to seeing in major cities.
Nobody is calling for a complete ban on guns. Sensible people know there are hunters and sports enthusiasts among others who already have guns and handle them and treat them with the respect they require.
What we are talking about are how guns used by criminals, and how those criminals are able to get them. The suggestion is that they get them at the infamous place known as the unregulated gun show. Nobody is saying we should shut down the gun shows, but what sensible people are saying is it shouldn't be like the Wild West where anything goes and any criminals can buy almost any type of gun.
Sensible people want a person buying a gun to be checked out, and checked out by law enforcement since most times it's law enforcement that have to deal with the repercussions from gun violence, putting themselves in harm's way.
Finally I wanted to get a comment on my idea of AK-47s for transgender people, but if you try calling for information on any of the NRA's programs, positions, all you get is a recording that says something like “Due to the attack on our second amendment rights call volume and waiting time are up...blah, blah, blah.” I hung up after a ten-minute wait which brought me to this thought. If the NRA, as the New York Times reported on Dec. 21, has a 300-million-dollar budget and can't handle the call volume at their own office, how can they advise us on guns, when they can’t even handle something as simple as a telephone?
Mark Segal is one of Philadelphia's most awarded opinion writers and has been recognized by the National Newspaper Association, Pennsylvania News-media Association, Suburban Newspapers of America and the Society of Professional Journalists, among others. He can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PhilaGayNews.