Sunday, December 23, 2012

Guns in America - Part 3

Okay have we lost the capacity for all rational thought?  One of the options being floated around is to arm our teachers.  That allowing our teachers to carry guns in the classroom will prevent future "Sandy Hooks".  On the surface this would appear logical.  But let's look below the surface and think this out, rationally.

Do we really want over-worked, underpaid teachers in schools with guns?  Our children lag so far behind other nations in critical learning skills, that we now want to add fear to their everyday existence.  Teachers spend just as much time baby sitting our children as they do teaching them math, science, reading, etc.  Now we want to add defending them against armed intruders to their list of duties.  I don't think so.

The gun lobby and gun shop owners want to arm everyone.  Some people for religious or other personal beliefs don't want anything to do with a gun.  I have seen some remarks on Facebook and other social media sites that portray these people as victims waiting to happen and deserve what happens to them.  How much farther does this nation need to fall when we under value people because of personal beliefs. Does this not fly in the face of what our founding fathers established this country for?  Have we become a nation so enamoured of our own wants and needs that we cease to care for others?

If we do arm everyone, then we really do not need police or our armed forces or the court system.  We can settle our own disputes, small or large, ourselves, without due process.  Is that the kind of nation we want our children growing up in?  Do we want America becoming another 3rd world nation? 

Once again, I do not oppose responsible gun ownership.  I believe that those individuals who hunt for food or have guns for protection should have them if they want them.  But I also believe that we need to treat them in the same manner we do responsible automobile drivers.  In order to maintain your driver's license you are tested every year or five years to insure that you are still capable of driving a car.  Is that too much to ask of someone who has a loaded gun next door?

I do not have an answer to what to do about guns in America.  I do believe that we must take emotion out of the discussion and think like rational human beings and find common ground.  If we don't then I am not sure that any of us will like the outcome.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Guns in America - Part 2

With the latest tragedy in Connecticut there will be the usual knee-jerk reactions to pass more gun control laws, lock down our schools, etc, etc.  Let's hope that a more thoughtful and realistic path will be chosen. 

 Let's more effectively enforce the laws that are already on the books.  Let's eliminate the sale of the AKs or AR type of weapons on line, at gun shows, in gun shops, anywhere they are now sold.  These weapons should not be readily available for purchase by the man on the street.  They were designed for the military or law enforcement and those should be the only people to legally own them. 

While I believe in the Second Amendment I also believe that not everyone is capable of owning weapons of mass destruction such as the assault rifles.  Since the shooter in Connecticut did not have a criminal background, legally he could purchase his weapon and that portion of the law could not have protected the innocents in that state.  Only prohibiting the ownership and purchase of such weapons will suffice.

The NRA and other gun lobbyists will try to hide behind the Second Amendment.  The gun manufacturers will cry loss of business; as will gun shops.  I ask them only one question:  "What if this had happened in the school your child, grandchild, niece or nephew attended?"

People kill people and they use many weapons.  A gun is just one but it is one that we can to some extent control access to.  Responsible gun owners should have nothing to fear from more stringent enforcement of existing gun laws.  I do not feel a complete ban on all gun sales will solve the problem nor is it necessary.  But I do feel that we must limit access to assault rifles and look very carefully at how many guns one person or one family feels the need to own. 

A gun for each member of the family is over-kill.  But I feel that if you have a gun in your house, everyone should know the proper way to handle it. 

Nothing will bring back the innocent lives taken in Connecticut or Colorado.  But we must act rationally to make our schools, shopping malls and other public places safer.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Guns in America

The Second Amendment allows people to bear arms and to form a militia.  But let's look at the point in time in which this amendment was written.  Armies were predominately volunteer or had vast areas to patrol, organized police forces either didn't exist or were small in size.  Our nation was vast and mostly rural in nature and remained so until the advent of train travel.  It took days or even weeks to get anywhere so in order to have some protection, our founding fathers decided that it was necessary to be able to defend oneself and our neighbors without having to wait on help that might never come or come too late.

Does it apply today?  I feel that anyone who wants to carry a gun and is trained to use it should do so.  I believe that personal use weapons such as handguns, rifles and shotguns should be legal for the average person to own.  Weapons of mass destruction such as AK 47s and such should not.  It should be illegal to sell them in gun shops, on the internet, gun shows or anywhere else.  Their only function is to kill people and a lot of people at one time.  They were designed for the military and that should be the only place they should be used.

I also feel that people who wish to own a gun should be trained and licensed and the training should be ongoing.  People should be tested as to whether or not they can safely use the gun every so often.  This could be done in conjunction with the gun purchase, enrolling in a gun safety class.  Granted criminals don't buy guns legally, they steal them or get them from other sources.  But at least the police would know if a gun is in a home and that the occupant is licensed and capable of firing it safely.

Banning guns in the USA won't work.  Guns are too much a part of our culture and our history.  Some European countries have done it with great success.  But I wonder how much a part of their history was determined by the use of guns, except in the time of war. 

I don't have the answer to the question of guns in America.  Could I use one?  I don't know.  Could I take another human being's life to protect my own or that of a loved one?  I hope I never have to find out.  But I believe in being prepared.