Reading the paper this morning, I found myself gnashing my teeth together as one of the columnists went on a not-too-sublte attempt to promote tighter gun regulation. To prove her point, she used both anecdotal evidence as well as the column by an anesthesia resident in New York (if I remember correctly) to talk about how no one who has ever been shot ever fully recovers. Her point was that there are always lingering wounds, some physical and some emotional. While she didn’t beat the reader over the head with an anti-gun message, the thrust was there and it started me thinking.
Yes, yes, I know it’s dangerous when I start thinking this early in the morning. It is especially so when it is about a topic I feel passionately about.
So let’s start out with the basic statement that I have no problem with the gun industry, the NRA or anyone who responsibly owns and learns to use any weapon, be it a pistol, rifle or bow or something sharp and pointy. We should have the means at our disposal to protect ourselves. If someone breaks into my house, I should have the right to protect myself if it is not feasible to retreat. If someone is trying to harm my elderly mother, I shouldn’t have to wait for the police to arrive before action is taken. That might be too late.
But let’s face it, this country has already tried the “let’s ban something” route on more than one occasion and has failed miserably. Prohibition is the first example that springs into most people’s minds. The government decided to get into the morality business — or maybe I should say get more into it — and decided liquor wasn’t good for us and banned its production, importation, transportation and sale. What happened was it simply went underground and not that far. Organized crime got into rum running and speakeasies opened. People who would never have thought of breaking the law — hell, of even speeding or jaywalking — started making beer in their bathtubs, etc. The legislation was a failure and a farce and folks gave a wink and a nod to.
In short, it didn’t work. People wanted it and they found a way to get it.
Then there is the so-called war on drugs. The purpose of this was to make it as close to impossible for people to get illegal drugs. What happened was that the user and the low level dealers were prosecuted but the “brains” behind the drug routes and distribution networks were rarely captured, much less prosecuted. Drug use was not curtailed, much less stopped. Again, if someone wants something badly enough, they will find a way to get it.
Do that mean I believe we should sell guns to anyone who wants one? Part of me says hell no and yet another part of me says it doesn’t really matter. If someone wants a gun badly enough, he will get it. However, if I have to say one way or another, I have no problem with running a criminal background check. I do, however, oppose putting someone on some list they don’t know about ala the “no fly” list for nebulous reasons they can’t defend against because, duh, they don’t know about it in the first place.
Nor do I feel it is the business of my doctor or my dentist to ask if I have a gun. It has nothing to do with the strained muscle or yearly check-up I’m there for.
As far as I’m concerned, if you can pass the background check — and that should be limited to have you been convicted of a violent offense — then you should be able to buy a gun. You should then get the training needed to handle it responsibly. Then you, as the resonsible gun owner, should be able to conceal carry.
But this post isn’t about whether we should conceal carry or not. It is about realities and the reality of the situaion is that a ban on guns, any type of gun, won’t work. Human beings are nothing if not adaptive and those who want a gun will find one. All the ban will do is create an even larger black market for guns than already exists. So, instead of trying to take guns out of the hands of those who don’t abuse them, why don’t we look at more effective ways of dealing with those who use guns illegally? How about making it more difficult for them to find a location where they aren’t afraid of being drawn down on by those they want to make victims of? Instead of advertising “this is a gun free zone” — which is nothing more than saying “oh, shoot me now” — note that this location welcomes gun owners? It might not stop every crazy who decides to go out in a blaze of glory but it will make some of them stop and think.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a gun to protect my family with than a cellphone. I guess I could throw the cellphone at the perp and then run like hell but that will, at most, be a temporary distraction. Or I could ask the perp to wait until the police arrived. Yeah, I’m sure that will work. NOT! So, for those of you who have been so loudly advocating a ban on guns, ask yourself these questions:
- How long does it take for your 911 call to be answered?
- How long does it take for the police to respond to your call once the 911 operator has taken the information?
- What are the chances you or your loved ones will have survived unscathed the encounter with the armed burglar or addict looking for money for a fix until the cops arrive?
Now ask yourself one more question: Are you willing to put the lives of your loved ones at risk just because a very small minority of gun owners use their weapons in a manner any sane person would not?
I don’t know about you but I will do whatever it takes to protect my family. I do not want my ability to do so lessened because I can’t get the same weapon legally that the crook can and will get through illegal means.