Love & Guns // On Regulation
Elisha Pidcock offers insight on gun regulation in the United States. Her perspective as a mother and member of the LGBTQIA++ community presents a crucial point of view in response to the Orlando Massacre, advocating for gun ownership in marginalized and targeted communities.
Today, our hearts are still heavy as we relive a nightmare that has swept our nation as a result of sinister people with misguided beliefs, agendas to spread hate. June 12th of this year brought us the world’s worst mass shooting to date and the largest act of terror to hit the United States since 9/11. The world is aghast. The LGBTQIA community is grieving, reeling over the Pulse Nightclub shooting. We thought that an understanding was dawning when Same Sex Marriage was declared legal in America in June of last year. This light has waned as we face the world in fear, once more, that hateful people will make us pay for our identity with blood. In the aftermath of the chaos, US citizens are in an uproar over the pursuit of an answer to growing, terrorist, gun violence that we’re seeing from extremists in the US. Conservative leaning citizens seek to place blame on the Muslim race, while the intensely liberal seek to ban guns entirely. The former is a fearful response to terrorism which is akin to the response that spurned harrowing violations of human life and rights that occurred during The Holocaust and the period of Japanese internment; an unacceptable slope that we must not follow. The latter favours taking away something that many US citizens consider a crucial right: the right to defend oneself and one's family against forces of evil. Elimination does not a solution make, on both counts.
Banning guns seems to some the best solution to the problem. However, many Americans consider a ban to be an encroachment on personal freedom; a trip down another slippery slope that allows “Big Government” to take away our rights. We as a country must seek a compromise to keep us all safe. We need to regulate who is able to own a gun in America. It is a right, but it is also a privilege that some citizens are not of sound mind or intention to possess. More thorough psych evaluations, banning individuals with a history of hate crimes and domestic violence, a “no fly, no buy” list, even the harsher restriction of obtaining a security clearance are proposals that we can enact to protect our citizens while preserving our rights.
I am bisexual and I support gun ownership.I am advocating for Americans, especially LGBTQIA, one of the most targeted minority groups for hate crimes, to defend our right to stay armed. I am a woman with a family to protect; a child that I would take any measure to defend. I am a woman who could easily become the 1 in 5 who are raped in this country. I the mother of a daughter who could become another statistic herself, unless she (when old enough), my husband, or I take action. Whether it’s assault in the street or a home invasion, a handgun is the best prevention because,
"When seconds count...police are minutes away."
Queers are not standing idly by. The LGBT gun rights group, Pink Pistols urges members of the community to embrace the privilege of the right to bear arms as US citizens. The group cites that, “Armed queers don’t get bashed.” Gun-owning-gays agree as they demand not to be disarmed.
Albeit Omar Mateen was Muslim, he is not a representation of honest, hardworking American Muslims. He was a deeply disturbed individual who was cited by his ex-wife as being mentally unstable. He was also under active investigation by the FBI for suspected terrorist ties for ten months. He should not have been allowed to purchase a gun. Dylann Roof was a Christian, white supremacist with a history of mental illness and substance abuse. He should not have been allowed to purchase a gun. Islamophobia overlooks people like Dylann Roof. It demonizes Muslim families like that of Dr. Mohammad Shuayb, an American dentist, who practices his right to the 2nd Amendment as a means to protect himself and his family amid threats they receive for being Muslim. He is a gun owner and an American who has, until recently, refrained from using his conceal carry permit:
“I don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t want anybody to hurt me.”
He says he looks like a “total normal dude.” He’s right. He does look like a “normal dude” because he is, but people take sidelong, terrified glances when they see his daughter, Sarah, wearing her hijab. The irony is, as Sarah says,
“When we talk about these people who are afraid of us, it’s kind of ironic, because we’re the ones afraid.”
They are the ones who are afraid. We must protect them, not condemn them.
Hassan Shibly, the chief executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida (CAIR-FL), is another Muslim American who is fighting for his right to bear arms. In an interview with The Trace he states:
“I do believe that gun ownership is seen as a central part of American identity for a large group of people, and so by excluding Muslims from that, it reinforces the idea of Muslims as the ‘other.’ And that’s a big problem. Owning guns is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution either protects all of us or none of us. Our position is that you can’t let our enemies win by allowing us to divide ourselves as Americans.”
United we stand, divided we fall, isn’t that right?
The Pulse Nightclub shooting has shown us that the LGBTQIA community is still threatened by hate. The Black Lives Matter movement has shown us that police can inflict reactions, bred from fear or prejudice, that don’t allow them to protect all Americans. The Brock Turner case has shown us that rapists do not wait for police to save you. Donald Trump shows us that our leaders can present the threat of tyranny. These are the very reasons for the 2nd Amendment. Our true enemy in America, as a collective, is hate. It is only through becoming a united force that we will ever be able to stand against the forces which seek to dehumanize and terrorize us. We have collectively caused a rift between each other over religion, race, sexuality, political ideology, and social class for too long. We have let our differences implode us as a nation. This is an affront to every US citizen. We must put our differences aside and stand unified, or we will continue to allow these horrific acts to happen to us.