Owning Guns in the Name of Safety is Not Safe

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By Tayllor Johnson

Listening to President Obama’s announcement of his executive order on gun control regarding background checks for potential firearm purchases brought me back to my mother’s cautions to “be careful” when I left the house to hang with my friends. I would tell her about the precautions I took to keep myself safe while out in the Wild Wild West of Los Angeles … the faces I made when walking the streets so I did not look lost and vulnerable … my fake phone calls when I felt followed … the small Swiss Army knife in my front pocket in case things got really bad. Proud. Street smart.

My mother taught me well and now she could rest easy. After listening to her warrior daughter’s preparation for the real world, my mother asked a simple, straightforward question: “What are you going to do if someone takes that knife away from you?” I didn’t know how to respond. Many Americans believe that a gun will keep them safe and that Obama wants to remove that sense of safety from them. The reality: You are only as safe with your weapon as you are against that weapon. Since that conversation with my mom, I never felt as secure with a knife on my person. If someone stronger or faster than me got ahold of it, I would be in trouble.

I want those who wish to own guns to answer a few questions:

  • If someone disarms you or takes possession of your firearm, will you know how to protect yourself?
  • What techniques were you taught to remain calm during a traumatic situation to safely use your firearm?
  • How can I trust you to use a gun safely when I don’t trust certain authority figures in my community? Never forget what happened to Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and countless others.

Guns are as complicated as the reasons to use them. To those who seek safety in a gun barrel: You might feel safer but I do not feel safer around you.