A Frank and Honest Discussion About Gun Control [OPINION]
Bad news: 'Feel good' gun control legislation will never keep bad people from doing bad things to innocent people. Never has, never will.
Yes, I am a member of the NRA, and no, I don't always agree with them 100 percent. But I'm sure glad they exist because they are virtually the only lobby group that protects my personal right to "keep and bear arms." The Second Amendment has been upheld by the Supreme Court time after time, providing that the right to keep and bear arms is our right as long as we are law abiding citizens of the United States of America... period. It has nothing to do with the military and nothing to do with police. It is an individual right.
The Second Amendment also doesn't say anything about what kind of weapon you get to own. Nowhere does it specify whether I can own the latest technology in firearms, otherwise the founders would have said something like, "you can have everything except what the military has." They didn't say that. In fact, the founders knew exactly what they were doing when they worded the 'Second' the way they did. It gives us, the citizens, the ability to protect ourselves from not only bad people, but bad government.
The horses are out of the barn and you cannot possibly put them all back in.
The figures and estimates are all over the place, but let's say that there are somewhere between 300 and 400 million privately owned non-military firearms in the US. According to an article on CNN.com, a poll done by Gallup in 2011 revealed that 47 percent of U.S. households have at least one gun. If that percentage holds true, then there are 148 million firearms owners in the U.S. Do you really think that they all will just simply hand over their guns? Really? My guess is that there are millions more firearms and their owners that we don't know of.
Which brings us to a simple but very true conclusion - if guns are banned and the government asks us to turn them in, only law abiding citizens would do that, thereby leaving guns in the hands of who? Criminals and the government. That is not acceptable.
Consider this: the average response time for police is two minutes. A lot of innocent people can be killed in two minutes.
- April 19, 1995 - Timothy McVay killed 168 innocent men, women and children in Oklahoma City.
- May 18, 1927 - Andrew Kehoe, a 55-year-old school board treasurer lost an election and went on a killing spree in Bath Township, Mich. When he was finished, 38 elementary school children and six adults were dead, while 58 more were wounded.
In those two examples above, no 'assault' weapons were used. In fact, no firearms were used at all. Oklahoma City was a horrifically creative use of some kind of fertilizer for crying out loud!
Even if you start going back and looking at the more recent murder sprees like Columbine High School, none of the weapons used in that massacre were classified as an 'assault weapon' under the old ban, yet look at the damage done.
In 1966 Charles Whitman killed 16 people and injured 31 more in Austin with hunting rifles and a shotgun. It's not the guns. The blame always lies with the crazed individual behind it. An 'assault weapons' ban will not, unfortunately, ban crazy people.
Crazy people with intent to do harm is a scary part of the free society we live in, but you have to face the reality that it does exist and it's not something that you can just wish away. You can't bury your head in the sand and pretend the bad people will just simply go away if we try to legislatively get rid of guns either. That won't happen. Therefore, we need people who are willing to arm themselves, train and be ready when the wolves come knocking. That includes teachers, administrators, janitors and, of course, paid and armed security officers. It also includes doctors, lawyers, carpenters, moms and dads, any law abiding citizen in any profession.
I don't demand, want or expect every teacher to be armed. That's just crazy talk. There's only a certain percentage who would be willing to purchase the firearm and go through the training, only a certain number who are ready to accept and bear the responsibility of knowing what has to be done to stop an active shooter quickly.
The main thing is our kids have to be protected. "Feel good gun legislation" won't do that at all, period. Our schools can no longer be labeled as "Gun Free Zones." Doing so places a big flashing neon sign out front that says to a crazy person I can do the most damage here.
A liberal friend of mine said the other day after the mass murder of school children in Connecticut something like; "The NRA won't be happy until we arm the little kids." That is about the most stupid thing I've ever heard anyone say. I had to leave it alone that day, because I already know that liberals can't think logically in emotional situations. Some can't think logically in any situation, but that's another story for another day. Better to save the friendship that day and say nothing in response than destroy the friendship and never have another chance to reason with him in the future.
One thing that I totally agree with NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre about is "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun". Since there is no possible way to rid the world of bad guys with guns, we have to make them think twice about where they're going to try to execute their dastardly plans. The first place I don't want them to think of is my kid's school, or your kid's school!
So let's try to use a little common sense (if there is any of that left in the world) and stop telling the bad guys where it's safest to do their deeds.
- No more 'gun free zones.'
- Armed security in every school.
- No federal money should be involved in this at all. This is a state responsibility.
- All school districts must find this in their budget, make it a priority. I don't care if the football team doesn't get new pads next year, or the band has to put off new uniforms. Our children's security is more important. Make it work.
- Allow teachers and administrators who want to train and carry to do so. Backup for one lone armed security officer is still too far away to rely on that alone.
These are just a few ideas that have been running around in my head since the Connecticut shootings. Maybe there's a better way to do it. You tell me. But if your idea involves the phrase 'get rid of all guns,' please keep it to yourself, that is a fantasy that is simply not possible.