Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Securing weapons - a grave responsibility

My previous post on gun control is already one of the highest traffic postings. And judging by the few responses and email's that I've gotten (I generally don't post responses) the readership reaction will pretty much fall in line with the general positions on the subject: those who are for stricter controls on guns will hate it, those for gun rights will approve.

What must be remembered is that ownership and operation of any tool that has the potential to harm or kill a person comes with a grave responsibility. To own a weapon is to accept a responsibility to control its use. "Gun control" starts with the person who owns the gun.

The stories of children and and adults who have killed with weapons owned by a parent or friend are cases which could almost certainly have been prevented. There are very affordable and very effective products to secure guns. These include the very good products from GunVault (my personal choice)- who has a great lineup of product to secure hand guns, to more full-sized cabinets. There are other strategies such as locking the bolt of a rifle in a safe and gun locks. (You can buy 3 of them at Amazon for $22.)

The sad reality is that too many people own guns but have not secured them. It's simple: if we have a right, but with that right comes a grave responsibility. I personally favor two things: 1) Require that gun owners must demonstrate that they've handled their tools responsibly and taken care to secure them from wrong or unlawful use, and 2) The courts must hold parents and others responsible where they have not and their tools are used to kill others. No, I don't mean that the police can come knocking on your door and do surprise inspections, but if care was not taken then they must suffer sever penalties. This would send the chilling message that having a cache of guns sitting in the corner is a recipe for a deadly disaster.

We don't allow dynamite to sit around. We don't leave nuclear weapons unsecured. We don't leave the keys in the F-14. We simply do not provide the temptation or access to those who would use them for harm. We also should not leave our tools of protection, of sport, and of historic collectable significance freely available to the chemically induced mood swings of angry teens.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gun control does not solve the problem

I don't hunt. I simply do not like the idea of killing something. Were it necessary to hunt to feed myself and my family, I'd hunt. I do find it fun to shoot but that is not why I am "pro gun". I have a carry permit and carry a gun to protect myself and those around me. It's that simple. It's a dangerous world and there are crazy angry people in it, and I have a right to defend myself. I know how to use it, and I think calmly under pressure. If I find myself in a situation where there is an "active shooter" you can be sure that I'd respond. And I'm not alone - there are thousands like me (like stats?).

The idea of police protection is a myth. The NY Times published a revealing article on the climb in violent crime due to an increase in police response times. They cite a statistic of an increase from 7.5 to 8.4 minutes in the average response time - that's 8.4 minutes until the police show up (14 minutes in Milwaukee, 12-48 minutes in rural Virginia areas! Atlanta took slowest at 11 minutes, 11 seconds in a survey). Start a timer (I'll wait) and see just how long 8.4 minutes is. At the Colorado theater shooting the police showed up in 1.5 minutes. This was too late. Why did no one there defend themselves?

In Detroit, which has suffered from one of the worst economies in the Nation, the police are simply unable to protect the citizens, who have taken to defending themselves. While this is not a good situation, it is a necessary one. When (and where) the police can not defend the population, they must defend themselves and their families. If a person - crazy or not - knows that a location has people who are armed they will choose another location to attempt their crazy killing spree.

We must change our way of thinking. We need to stop this trend of relying on the government to provide and protect us. We are Americans - we have always been self-reliant and courageous. We have always fought hard for what was right and valued our individual rights. Why the people today want to give up their rights for the myth of security is beyond me. But the fact remains, if there were trained, armed people at or near these situations less people would have died. The response time for someone already at the scene is immediate - they are already there and ready to respond.

Gun control is not the answer - it is an ineffective solution to a rare (though admittedly a highly emotional) problem. The recent mall shooter in Oregon used a stolen AR 15. He broke the law twice - once when he stole the weapon and another time when he walked into the mall and began shooting. We have laws in this country about assault and about murder. They're both illegal. Were we to pass a law that makes gun ownership illegal the old mantra kicks in: "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". There is simply no way to prevent the flow of weapons into our large country. See how well our war on drugs [sic] has fared with preventing the flow of illegal chemicals.

I live in a safe area. There isn't much crime in Forsyth County. But I work in Duluth and travel into Atlanta. I feel it my responsibility to be able to defend myself and those around me. I do not have  "cowboy" mentality. I find it very sobering to think that some day I might need to respond with violence. Yet, I believe that all able American's need to be empowered and be held responsible to help make our society a safer place. Arm the citizens and they will be protected.