There are all kinds of statics that should be screaming at us. The fact that every day 90 some persons die as a result of firearms. Some of these in the commission of crimes. An increasing number are mass shootings of innocent persons. Sadly, a growing number are youngsters dying at their own hands or because of someone else's negligence. We should not have to simply accept the number of children who gain access to a gun and shoot themselves, there little sister, or their mother in the back as she drives down the road because mom kept a loaded handgun in her purse in the back seat of the car.
Yesterday, 5 Dallas police officers were killed by a person or persons using high capacity weapons and another seven were wounded. The two previous days, officers discharged their weapons in two other cities striking and killing black males in tragic shootings. In both instances it said that the two victims were carrying guns. One was pulled by police from the victims pocket after he was shot and killed. The other is said to have advised the officer that he had a permit and had a gun in the glove box. These two incidents will be investigated by the Department of Justice, and I'm certain they the events will be subject to much scrutiny, as well they should be. The one thing that is certain is that they will not be the last.
America has a death rate by guns far and above other civilized societies. It actually exceeds some third world countries that are racked with violence. Our nation has a gun problem. It is made worse because we have become culturally dependent upon guns.Yes, there is really no more accurate way to put it than we as a nation have a fetish for and an addiction to guns.
For the time being let's set aside hunters. For the most part, hunters have a real respect for their firearms. It may sound like a generalization, but hunters are often among the most responsible firearm owners. But things get a little more dicey after that. For years, man gun owners kept guns at home basically for protection in the home setting. While gun ownership has become prolific over the years, there also became growing movement to carry weapons in public. We saw the emergence of concealed carry laws in various states with permits required. This changed to include "open carry" and state after state the legislatures ripe with members whose campaign coffers were filled by the NRA and other gun lobbies were only so happy to oblige and began even kicking away required permits and required training classes.
I could go on with a lengthy account of public shootings just this year, that were not a part of any criminal action but simply a product of irresponsibility, unfortunate accident, negligence or just plain stupidity. I will spare you a complete list, but these are a few off the examples that have actually happened and have been reported on this year:
- Several instances of children from three to six years of age that found a firearm loaded in the floor under the seat of their parents car or in a purse. I a least three incidents that I recall since the first of the year, these children in the process of handling the loaded weapon discharged it and in each instance manager to strike the driver in the back. The makes me wonder how may were discharged that missed hitting someone? It also begs to ask where the loaded guns were in their reach, and why the hell weren't the buckled in car seats?
- A teacher carrying dropped her gun while sitting on a toilet, ricocheting and striking herself in the ankle.
- A Woman who dropped her purse while checking out at the doctor's office and her handgun discharged, bullet traveling through wall and striking another person in an exam room.
- A kid reaching in his dad's jacket pocket and discharging a gun at McDonald's in line striking anther patron.
- Child reaching in mom's purse at Walmart and discharging a loaded handgun killing the mother.
There kinds of things are happening daily. They are a part of that 90 plus gun deaths a year and even more wounded. How safe are you in a public eating establishment with people (well meaning as they may be) all around you with guns?
There are few statics related to gun ownership that do not paint a disparaging picture for gun ownership. Death of women by domestic abusers skyrocket when guns are in the home. An intruder is more likely to use the gun on the homeowner. The incidence of successful defense with a gun in a situation where you are confronted with another armed person is almost a myth.
For the most part, we all seem to be aware of these these things. But our gun culture has a strange historical twist. In the olden days, people strapped their gun on their hip and went about doing their business in public. Have you ever wondered why that stopped? Why instead of that simply being an American continuum, we stopped that practice and states and municipalities enacted laws that put an end to that practice?
In the 1950's the NRA was largely an organization with a membership of mostly hunters. In those days the NRA was actually out front in opposing high power weapons and on record of supporting gun education. But that changed... From those days we saw increased gun ownership and a trend to buying hand guns for protection in the home. Perhaps if that were still the primary use of guns, we would not be in this period of gun death epidemic. The NRA changed and was radicalized and became less an organization for the hunter membership and a lobby to for the gun industry. A significant number of our public officials were willing to sell themselves like whores to the NRA to do their bidding. They have chipped away at most of the laws aimed at making sure that criminals do not have easy access. That most anyone, even persons with mental health histories have easy access to guns. They stripped away regulations about carrying them in public and they have taken us back to the days of the old west.
The gun industry is a $13.5 Billion industry and that industry is all too happy to buy votes in Congress and state general assemblies.
The biggest fear propagated by the NRA is that the government is going to come and confiscate your guns from you. They have been saying President Obama was going t do this for 7 and a half years now. He doesn't have much time left.
Let's be honest. That was never going to happen. But there are serious "responsible laws" that can be enacted to make America safer from Gun violence. Universal Background checks - closing loopholes for gun shows and private sales. Everyone - gets a background check. Persons on Terrorist Watch lists should be restricted. And yes, it is time to role back the massive amount of guns on persons out in public. We don't need millions of guns in the public sector on a daily basis. Of of persons with proper training and registration are going to carry they should be required to carry special liability insurance to cover against loss of life of quality of life in an accident. You and your family . should not be at rick by someone who accidentally discharges a gun and kills or seriously injurers to the point that the victim and his/her family has enormous medical bills and loss of income and the person responsible has no viable means on their own to be held liable.
We also need to say no to military style weapons in civil society as well as large capacity ammo drums or clips.
I've heard people say that owning guns is a God given right - and say it with a straight face. I don't recall anything about it in the bible. I have had people tell me that the U.S. Constitution was the word of god. I believe that is a stretch. But to the point of the 2nd Amendment, the federal courts have clearly indicated that this does not preclude the state from making exceptions to ownership rights. Clearly there was a day when governments - federal, state, and local took the position that less guns strapped on a persons waist in public was prudent. We've had a taste of the opposite now and it is a bitter poison.