Wednesday, 25 October 2017 17:59

Opinion: When it’s easier to get a gun than adopt a dog, there’s a problem

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A typical dog adoption application asks more of the applicant than gun ownership requires. A typical dog adoption application asks more of the applicant than gun ownership requires. A.D.O.P.T. dog application screenshot

I’ve been looking to adopt a dog for about two months now, and while I’ve been picky about what type of dog I want to adopt, potential pet owners are subject to a more investigative process than potential gun owners.

I want a dog for multiple reasons. I just bought a home with a fenced yard, so I finally have the space to get the type of dog I want. I’ve always liked big, lap dogs, specifically, those that have come to be called “aggressive breeds” or “bully breeds.” I’ve come to despise those monikers because a dog’s behavior is representative of its owner. So despite having big teeth and a large bite radius, an “aggressive breed” like a Rottweiler is only aggressive if the owner makes it so, just as a gun is only dangerous if the owner makes it so.

Now, if you want to call them “protective breeds,” I’d be fine with that, because that’s what they are -- protective of their owners. That’s just one of the reasons I want a dog. I live in a relatively high crime rate area, especially when it comes to vehicle and home burglaries, but I’d rather have a home security system that acts instead of phoning the police. A dog might not be a better deterrent than those home security stickers people put in their windows, but a home security system doesn’t have a personality, either. I’ll take the personality.

I’ve never owned a gun and have never come across a reason for owning a gun. I grew up shooting BB-guns with my grandfather like most Americans. I even hunted as a child (once) but still never felt a gun to be necessary. The first day I went hunting, I shot a Whitetail doe in the neck while it was running away from me -- the perfect shot for preserving the meat. I was praised by all the old men who accompanied my dad and me, but I wasn’t surprised by my ability. I was the best marksman in my hunter safety course, and yet I still didn’t feel comfortable using a gun. I didn’t think it was fair to the deer. I find bow-hunting more sporting, or even fishing.

I’ve also enjoyed firing handguns for recreation, but that’s not reason enough for me to own a handgun. It certainly wouldn’t be my first choice when it comes to home protection, but it is for too many Americans in my opinion. Stand-your-ground laws have only exacerbated this situation.    

I’ve submitted multiple applications revealing more about myself and my home than is required to get a gun. Some pet adoption agencies even require a home inspection, but getting a gun in this country is as simple as attending a gun show with enough cash in-hand or knowing someone with a gun looking to sell. I asked Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar whether they thought legislation that would make the gun application process mirror the pet adoption process could pass Congress, and only got a vague, email response from Franken.

“We can...address gun violence by closing loopholes in the federal background check system so that guns don't get into the wrong hands, like convicted felons or people with serious mental illness,” the letter read.

The response doesn’t answer my question, of course, but I think members of all political parties can agree that “gun control” should start with controlling who can get guns. The fact we as a society are more concerned about who owns a dog than who owns a gun reveals plenty about the American way. Dogs, like guns, aren’t inherently dangerous. Dog owners and gun owners are dangerous. A dog in the wrong hands can be as dangerous as a gun in the wrong hands. Both can take a life.


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