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I have collected here three smaller arguments that the federal government has decided to lump together under the ATF. Should any of these need elaborated upon further, I may one day write an entire blog on one part of this, but for now this will suffice.
Let’s get firearms out of the way since that will probably bring the most heated debate, especially after I lay out my views on this subject. It is often joked that “If guns kill people, I can blame my pencil for misspelled words.” The not so subtle truth this conveys is that guns do not “go off” on their own. Guns do not load, aim or fire themselves at will. So why are people so quick to blame these inanimate objects for the pain and misery they inflict? Why are knives not illegal, as they can be just as dangerous? Because the majority of people have grown up with knives, and they learn how to properly wield and use these weapons stemming from, either consciously or unconsciously, a fear and respect for that knife. Granted, knives are more ubiquitous and much more commonplace than guns. It is conceivable that someone can live a full life without ever handling a firearm, but they will almost undoubtedly use a knife or cutting tool of some kind. So how do we fix this? My solution is simple, it should be mandatory that every child learn to properly identify, use, and care for a firearm in school. Heck, public schools take 5th graders to sex ed classes, and they all aren't even biologically equipped to fully use those parts yet! I say push back the sex ed 2-3 years, and replace it with one week at a firing range. It may not completely solve the problem, because just as is the case with a knife, if someone is determined to use that tool with malicious intent, there is not much preventing that from happening. But the “accidental” shootings, or even some of the more “senseless” shootings will decrease because that potential user now has a proper fear and respect for that weapon.
A similar argument can be made when it comes to alcohol. Think about this, I’m willing to bet almost EVERY high school student has had access to alcohol. Whether they choose to imbibe or not is a separate issue, but they know someone or somewhere that they can get a drink from at least once. At a party. From a friend. A relative. A stranger. Using a fake ID or just asking or bribing someone for it. Why? It’s mostly because it’s not allowed. It’s a taboo, and therefore becomes an adrenaline rush. It’s not solely about having a drink, it’s about acting out and doing something you’re not supposed to. This is why, as you get older, you are less likely to drink in excess to “get f’d up” and more likely to be more selective with what you drink, where you drink it, and when to stop. So the solution to this seems simple… lower the drinking age. Don’t try to tell me that there are biological reasons to not allow a teenager to drink; there are many countries that have no drinking age at all. Here’s something you may have heard before, but starting out younger brings a fear and respect (I sense a theme here) much sooner. And if you’re scared that kids, while still lacking that respect for alcohol, may be more likely to get behind the wheel of a car I completely agree. That is why the driving age should be raised to 18 or even 20. This, combined with lowering the drinking age to 14, could solve a lot of alcohol-related incidents involving our school age citizens.
Tobacco (and other drugs)
Finally, I come to the tobacco portion of my little diatribe. Now, I wrote tobacco to go along with the ATF theme, and is sounds better, but I am lumping all recreational drugs in here. Since this would be the most likely portion of this blog that may require extended explanations, I will keep my points brief for the time being. So, in no particular order, here are my thoughts on this topic. First, anything you can grow or make in your house should be legal. Drugs that are created in a lab using advanced chemistry and research, such a prescription medications, can be trademarked and therefore illegal to reproduce; but if it can be found naturally in your backyard there is no reason to prevent you from growing, cultivating, and using or selling whatever it is at your leisure. Second, this does not mean I endorse the use of narcotics, and I do not expect people to be allowed to drive or work while under the influence of these mind altering substances. Alcohol is legal now and these actions are not tolerated or expected, so I never understood this argument although I hear it often. Yes, it will happen… people are morons and will try to make some exception or excuse for themselves. “It’s not that far.” “I work better high.” Just be honest, you know you shouldn't do it so don’t do it. Third, just because it’s legal is not an endorsement to do it anywhere. I constantly hear about “smoker’s rights” being infringed upon. Excuse me? What right’s do smokers have? And why do they trump the rights of all non-smokers? Yes, you are allowed to smoke, but you do so by CHOICE! If you smoke in public, near doorways or windows that I may pass by; or even in a closed room that I may also occupy, you have taken away my right to choose not to smoke because I have forced to breathe in your second-hand smoke. So, in closing, I believe that you can drink, smoke, snort, inject anything you wish… so long as it you do so in the privacy of your own home or an established business that allows such behave (such as a bar or private club)