20 November 2006

Another Interesting Conundrum...

I saw a post at Just4therecord (blog) about guns....(damn fine commentary as well as the links), and after reading and posting THERE, it got me to thinking more about this growing concern with many Americans. I agree with much of what Andy discusses, as well as those who responded. But dare we open so many cans containing so many worms?

Do we (in America) have TOO MANY guns...or just NOT ENOUGH guns in the PROPER hands? Are we, as a nation relying too much on guns to settle problems?
Personally, I think we are, and I speak solely about HERE, in the U.S. of A. On the global arena, wars STILL need to be fought with guns (wouldn't it be nice to play a game of CHESS instead?) and those who are trained to use them. But on our streets, which in many cases are becoming something akin to "O.K. corrals", we're seeing just too damn many guns being used for ALL the wrong reasons. Cities with tighter gun control STILL have gun-related homicides. On the other hand, cities or counties with things such as OPEN-CARRY laws are actually seeing a drop in gun-related crimes across the board. Granted, neither venue is changing by (dramatically) DOUBLE digits, but both sides of the "argument" warrant our attention.

Time was young boys loved playing with toy guns...now they play with REAL guns. They commit robberies with reckless abandon, and shoot each other, as well as classmates, teachers, storeowners, or whoever strikes their fancy. And many of them think no more of that than when these boys of an earlier time "shot" a playmate (who promptly got up and ran home when mom called for dinner). These kids have no apparent concept of the FINALITY of REAL gunplay, as well the obvious results. Dispensing ordinance from any firearm is like speaking words...once they're out of the barrel, you can't take 'em back...same with what you say to someone. You can never take back words spoken in anger, grief, or whatever other emotion you may feel. That alone should compel many to weigh their actions accordingly.

Therefore, do I feel that we should have stricter bans on firearms?

Hell, NO!

What we DO NEED is better enforcement of laws that keep guns out of the wrong hands...stricter, more severe (and mandatory) punishment for gun CRIMES...and harsh penalties for gun dealers that are involved with illegal gun trafficking. But for God's sake, leave the law-abiding gun owners ALONE. They are NOT the ones committing the crimes. They are NOT the ones breaking the laws. Cripes, aside from most collectors, gun enthusiasts don't engage in much more than time at the local range, unless they shoot competitively at some level.

Owning a gun (and knowing it's proper use) is just like having a car. BOTH come with the exact same RESPONSIBILITIES and CONSEQUENCES attached to them. Use them correctly...no problem. Use them incorrectly, and....well, you know the rest. The only difference is the SIZE of the items, but that in NO way detracts from the SCOPE of the responsibility you incur when you decide to use one OR the other. When you buy any gun, you ASSUME the responsibility that goes with it...same is true whenever you get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Whether it's 3000 lbs of metal, rubber and plastic or a 120 grain FMJ bullet weighing an ounce...BOTH can be (and often are) DEADLY under the right conditions in the wrong hands. Should we take this analogy further, we could state that a GUNS don't kill people...PEOPLE kill people. Same is true with cars and trucks. The vehicle doesn't kill a soul...it's the person at the wheel of one vehicle that (through whatever action) perpetrates a series of events that have only one result, namely death or injury. Guns kill people like flies cause garbage..how's that for another take on it?

But does any of that automatically quantify giving the right to law-enforcement agencies to trade up for more lethal weapons which, if not properly employed, can result in even more harm to innocent civilians (or other officers), as well as damage to property? I would say that (provisionally speaking) whatever it takes for any law-enforcement agency to "get the job done" is OK with me. I'd much rather have a police department, properly outfitted with the best gear available and highly trained personnel protecting ME than to have the perps get all the "toys" for THEIR amusement. Anything less, and you're looking at an anarchistic state of affairs. All these criteria MUST be totally dependant upon those officers utilizing these weapons discreetly...and THEY must be held accountable to the letter of the law themselves when they are not used in that manner.

There is so much more that cries out for serious debate, and neither time nor space will allow it here (for now anyway). As a long time gun enthusiast, I cannot help but be biased against tighter "gun" control, especially when I can see that SO MUCH MORE must be done in the realm of "people" control...(and I'm not talking about Big Brother, either....). We have to get a handle on those aspects of human nature that CAUSE the problems in the first place. We have to address the flaws in both the judicial and penal systems and get those fixed. One analogy would be like whether the rancher needs to FIX THE GATE...or breaks all his cattles' legs so they won't escape from the corral WITH the broken gate in the first place. You can plainly see WHICH OPTION is the preferred of the two.

Would I own a gun for anything other than personal safety? Sure, I just like to shoot and although having it for home defense is a definite *plus* in MY neighborhood (actually a requirement if you choose to remain here...and remain alive, safe, and sane), but even if I lived in say...Whispering Meadows, I'd still go to the range and knock off a few boxes now and then. There is always a satisfaction that comes with any type of proficiency.

What we need to do is determine the BEST way to keep EVERYONE safe...and it's SURE AS HELL not by taking guns from the RIGHT people. You do it by denying guns to the WRONG people, by any and all means possible.

It CAN be done... but the question still remains: "WILL it be done"?


bobett said...

Your analogies and insight are well thought out. I think you hit the nail on the head and that is, "to many guns are in the wrong hands". I do not have an answer for that.

However, I think training and safety is very important to teach gun owners of any age.

I'm not aware, if there is now a pre-requiste to learn training and gun safety before getting your permit for any legal gun. I would hope guns would follow the same principles entilitled to anyone getting a driver's permit and licence for a car. It seems

B.G. (Semper Paratus) said...

Safety training for firearms is optioned state by state (or agency dependent on type of service). It's not "required" here...but I would recommend it if one plans for home defense.

Indiana does NOT "require" training before securing a permit either to own, fire or carry. The only proficiency is that which YOU achieve at a local range.

That would account for all the rounds expended during gangsta shootouts....(poor marksmanship i.e. no training). "Point and shoot" is ONLY good for photography...not gunplay.

Conversely, that also explains why kids raised on farms decades earlier went on to become marksmen....(proper training by DAD at home)...they were shooting before they went to school!

And that's why I have a BB pistol CQB "range" in my basement-(15 feet maximum distance).