Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Gun Safety: Common Sense, Not Politics

© Charles D. Hayes   

I’ve been a gun owner since I got a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas in 1948 at age five. I still have it. My grandfather laid out all of the ways in which the use of guns required common sense. Since then I’ve served in the Marine Corps and as a police officer.

In February of 2015 I caught a burglar in my home and held him at gunpoint until a state trooper arrived. The burglar pointed a pistol at me. I had a shotgun and convinced him to drop his. He was a second or two away from dying before he put the gun down. In all of my years with firearms I’ve never shot anyone accidently or on purpose.

The current social uproar over gun rights is endemic of the overall political divide facing the country. Common sense has been abandoned strictly on identity based political grounds. In other words, this is not an example of reasoning, it’s a manner of relating as in my group has a stake in this, so we must win at all costs. Not to be confused by facts.

The irony in the rhetoric is breathtaking. Surely a Christian God would deem it a moral blasphemy and an outrage to forbid women and children refuges shelter from possible physical harm on the chance that some might someday pose a terrorist threat, but then cry foul by asking that those purchasing a firearm must be checked against a no-fly terrorist list. Think about the utter insanity of such a dogmatic position as it exposes levels of hypocrisy that are off the charts of any objective standard of human decency, religious morality aside.

Taking the position that no laws are effective in keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and that more people having guns is a deterrent to violence is a complete abandonment of common sense. And don’t offer me a quote from John R. Lott Jr’s book More Guns Less Crime because his data has been thoroughly debunked and discredited.

Think hard about what the politicization of gun safety has done to pervert logic. The more people swim, the fewer drownings, the more people drive, the fewer the accidents, and the more children there are who play with matches, the fewer the burns. The more marriages, the fewer the divorces. The more people with guns, the fewer the shootings. This is insanity on steroids and it has no business being a political issue.

We require driver’s licenses to keep bad drivers off the road and it is ludicrous not to take reasonable measures to keep guns out of the hands of lunatics. Granted not having a valid driver’s license doesn’t stop some offenders from driving, but it does deter enough to make a statistical difference in traffic fatalities due to DUIs.

From my experience, there is a grain of truth in the notion that a person is less likely to pull out a handgun and start shooting people if they believe there is a good chance they will themselves be shot. But this pales in comparison to the likelihood that if more people are armed that minor conflicts will result in an increase in the use of firearms and you only have to witness a few examples of road rage to fully appreciate this reality.

I understand and I sympathize with those who have affection for firearms, but take a walk through your town or visit your local Walmart and tell me you think it would be a good idea that everyone you meet should be armed, some of whom you must admit are not capable of playing with a full deck.

My point is that common sense gun regulations have been made nearly impossible for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the reality of public safety, but everything to do with partisan politics, as if us vs. them is the only thing that matters and that if “they win we lose.” Moreover, this divisiveness is purposefully spurred on by the firearms industry, the very people who profit from the paranoia. No wonder there is an ammunition shortage nationwide.

Arguing that common sense firearms regulations have no positive effect at all on human behavior is patently absurd and the only basis to deny the statistical evidence that regulations do have a positive effect is political posturing that’s completely out of touch with reality. An extrapolation of such ideology would suggest that because some people are lawbreakers we don’t need any laws at all about anything because after all, some people won’t obey. This is nonsense!

Our nation is founded on the premise that most people are law abiding citizens which most people are and this is why it is possible to have a government and a civil society in the first place. Gun safety requires a slug of sanity and some double barreled reasoning with politics set aside.
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