All right, it’s about time that really went into depth on guns. Yes, I’ve already made a video about guns, and you can watch it below. Yes, I have a challenge for donors: raise my total on Crowdpac to $8,000 and I will buy a gun with my personal money and use it to shoot an NRA logo live on video. But I think it’s important that I outline my plan for reducing gun violence.

No Monicas were harmed in the making of this video.

Banning Assault Weapons–the Right Way

No, banning assault weapons will not magically end gun violence. But that’s not the point. The previous 1994 ban on assault weapons proved that a ban really does reduce mass shootings, as this graph shows:

Washington Post Mass Shooting GraphYes, handguns are the most often used weapon for violent crime in America. Yet, that’s not a viable counterpoint because handgun wounds are far easier to recover from. Guns like the AR-15 are designed to irreparably damage flesh. Someone shot with an assault weapon is far less likely to recover. Police also have a much easier time catching someone with a handgun since even another AR-15 may not be enough to take out a shooter with one.

Now, the right-wing fear machine is always quick to point out hypothetical scenarios of armed soldiers coming around and taking everyone’s guns because “liberals hate freedom.” First of all, this is ironically a massive insult to America’s troops. (Then again, Republicans are pro-war, not pro-troops). Second of all, that’s unrealistic. How would someone even find every assault weapon?

I propose letting everyone who obtained such weapons legally but not used them for murder to keep their weapons. However, no one should be allowed to sell them to anyone else. If you already own that weapon, it is yours and yours alone. These guns are made for the military and should not be freely sold to civilians.

While some will want to keep their assault weapons, I also propose offering incentives for those willing to give them up. A government buyback program would allow gun owners to receive a fair amount of money in exchange for getting rid of their assault rifle. This would be entirely voluntary. In my view, it would be the most effective way to get to get military-style weapons off the streets.

Universal Background Checks, Registration, and Waiting Periods

I’m just going to quote Politifact here: “To buy a gun in Florida, buyers must be 18 for a rifle or 21 for a handgun. They do not need a permit and are not fingerprinted. A background check is conducted using demographic data…Florida has no law against bulk gun purchases or sales, according to the Giffords Law Center, a group that pushes for gun safety.”

And now I’m going to quote Emma Gonzolez, survivor from the Parkland shooting: “In February of 2017, one year ago, President Trump repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses.”

Need I say more? Why is it this easy for someone who clearly shouldn’t have a gun to get one? While the overall connection of gun violence to mental health is tenuous, Nicholas Cruz was a member of the “alt-right” (white nationalism) who had previously threatened people with violence and come off as unhinged to others. He was also 19 years old–not even old enough to buy a handgun.

Everyone who buys a gun should be subject to a background check, including fingerprinting. They should also have a to wait a reasonable amount of time. If they can’t wait a week, then they probably plan to use that gun immediately. Lastly, sales at gun shows must also use the same background checks and waiting periods, no exceptions. Yes, I do plan to become a gun owner, and yes, I am perfectly willing to go through this process.

Nicholas Cruz
Oh, so that’s what #MAGA means

Repealing the Dickey Amendment

Never has there been a more appropriately named law in U.S. history. Okay, to be fair, I’m probably missing something more appropriate. Still, only a true Dickey would bar the Centers for Disease Control from researching the effect of gun violence on public health.

Arming Teachers? No.

I can’t believe I even need to comment on this. It’s the most harebrained, cockamamie, idiotic, foolish, ridiculous, asinine, bonkers, irrational, nonsensical, preposterous, stupid, brainless, ludicrous, bat-****, air-headed, and downright nanners idea I’ve ever heard.

I’m a teacher, currently substituting in Duval County’s high schools. Why would I want a firearm anywhere near freshmen? They’re hard enough to manage as it is. What about younger children in middle and elementary school? If one of them gets a hold of the teacher’s gun, which is far too likely, it’s game over. And teachers are not infallible; it’s too likely that one of them will get mad at a misbehaving student and be tempted to use the gun as a threat.

Why is there suddenly money in state and federal budgets for arming teachers? Every time teachers ask for fair pay, funds for classroom materials, current technology, experiential learning opportunities, funds for attending conferences, or full-time college professor jobs, we’re told that there just isn’t enough money. Clearly, that’s BS.

Regulating Video Games? No.

In the wake of gun violence controversies, Donald Trump met with organizations that want to regulate the content of video games. They believe that violent media causes violence.

I’m a gamer. I’ve made no secret of this. The video above contains music from Persona 3 and Sonic CD. While some of my favorite games tend to be innocent ones like Mario or Sonic, I do love plenty of violent games, like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, No More Heroes, and Tomb Raider. Yet have I murdered anyone? No. Do I have any interest in murdering anyone? No.

Violence existed well before video games. Video games are not the cause of violence in real life; research has proved this again and again.

Historically, the leading cause of violence is hate. Nicholas Cruz, Omar Matteen, and Dylan Roof prove this.

“Stand Your Ground” is Legalized Murder

The whole concept of “Stand Your Ground” laws amounts to policies of “shoot first and ask questions later.” In effect, it’s amounted to open season to hunt black people with no consequences.

George Zimmerman stalked Trayvon Martin, racially profiling him as a criminal. Martin broke no laws and likely thought Zimmerman was a pedophile. Zimmerman was still able to claim self-defense thanks to a lack of concrete evidence. The burden of proof instead fell to his victim, who was dead and could not argue his case. And the implementation of “Stand Your Ground” isn’t even consistent:

Stand Your Ground Comparison
I’m seeing a pattern here…

Right here in Jacksonville, state prosecutors refused to press charges against Michael Centanni. He shot Keegan Roberts to death for the crime of… wait for it… letting the wind blow a piece of trash into Centanni’s yard. This is apparently a crime that warrants the death penalty. Centanni has gone on to harass and taunt Roberts’ family. Support Justice4Keegan to hold Centanni accountable for murder.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office didn’t even investigate Maurice Hobbs’ killer. What more could anyone expect from an organization that John Rutherford previously ran?

Preserving the Second Amendment…and the First

Yes, Americans have the right to bear arms, but the NRA is only using the Second Amendment as an excuse. It’s all a money grab for the gun lobby, which includes too many extremely rich manufacturers. Why else would the NRA spend so much on electing Republicans? It’s because they know Republicans will do nothing help stop gun violence. People’s lives don’t matter in the face of big money and profits. For the record, John Rutherford received $1000.

Here’s the actual text of the Second Amendment:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

It specifically refers to a militia–meaning a military organization separate from the federal government–and says that it must be well-regulated. This does not mean that all people must be able to purchase any gun without restrictions. If anything, this warrants revisiting the definition of a militia. In any case, as long as the people can keep and bear arms–within regulations–restrictions do not infringe the Second Amendment.

What this really comes down to is the influence of big money in politics since, somehow, money has become the same as speech. Whoever has the most money gets to determine what the constitution means. That’s why this will be the topic of my next article and video.

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Monica DePaul for U.S. Congress
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