I don’t often indulge in thought experiments because I find them pointless, but there’s one I’d like to actually put into action, were I the ruler of ’Merica: Take guns from men and give them to women. Seriously. Think about it for a second … Men have clearly proven that by-and-large, as a group, they can’t handle the responsibility of owning a gun. Think that’s a crazy thing to say? Consider: Men commit 86 percent of all gun deaths in the United States of America, and over 30 thousand Americans die from gun shots every single year. Men commit nearly 100 percent of mass shootings. (Women represent less than a single percent of the perpetrators of shootings that involve three or more victims.)
The victims of those shootings? Many of them are women and children. Every single month 50 American women are shot to death by intimate partners. Obviously, not all of those intimate partners are men, but men constitute the vast majority, and when a gun is present in a situation of domestic violence, it increases the risk the woman will be killed five-fold. Meanwhile, seven children and teens (aged 19 or under) are killed with guns in the U.S. on any average day.
Men commit 86 percent of all gun deaths in the United States of America, and over 30 thousand Americans die from gun shots every single year.
The rest of the shooting victims in this country, of course, are men, more of whom take their own lives with guns than shoot each other. (For real.) The majority of gun deaths in America, more than 21,000 people every year, are suicides. While other forms of suicide (such as overdoses) have a greater than 90 percent failure rate, suicide by gun has a 90 percent success rate. But the majority of those who survive an actual suicide attempt never try again. Suicide, as it turns out, is an impulsive act. Most people who consider suicide spend very little time contemplating it, and if there isn’t a gun readily available, the risk of suicide goes down dramatically. White American men, who are more likely than any of us to own guns, constitute 79 percent of all gun suicides. Meanwhile black American men represent more than half of all firearm homicide deaths.
So taking guns from men and giving them to women is only logical. But in this age of gender fluidity, who exactly counts as a man? I think the rules could be pretty straightforward: If you self-identify and live most days of your life as a man, you don’t get to own a gun. If you’re a transgender woman, or gender-neutral or bisexual, you do get to own a gun, if you so choose. If you’re a woman who lives with a man, then you’ll just have to keep your gun locked up and away from him and the kids.
Hell, if we changed the law, men wouldn’t even have to turn their guns over to the government. They could just hand them over to their wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, coworker or any random woman on the street. Easy peasy.
I don’t know. I’m no Constitutional lawyer, but I’m sure we could figure out a way to make it happen. After all, when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they never meant for “the right for the people to keep and bear arms” to apply to every American. Oh no. They certainly never meant for black Americans to have the absolute right to keep and bear arms, and they probably didn’t really mean for women to have that right, either, regardless of race.
So I say, let’s take guns from men, and maybe a few of them could earn them back, after proving themselves to be responsible, through a series of tests (including psychological ones) and training. And every year or two, they’d have to re-earn that gun license. Guys currently enlisted in the military could keep their government-issued guns but would need to give up personal ones. Male cops, on the other hand, would need to pass psychological tests and prove they can handle their weapons or risk being let go from their jobs. Women could make up the shortage of police officers. (Police reform is something else this country desperately needs, but that’s another subject for another time.)
Taking guns from men would save thousands of American lives every year. As for men’s “right” to own guns, I say women and children have a greater right to live.
*Gun stats from Everytown for Gun Safety, Everytown Research and a USA Today article https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/10/10/men-special-risk-guns-they-love/734961001/.