I’ve remained silent on the issue of gun control for some time now.
This is not because I don’t care or don’t have an opinion (I have lots of them) it’s because I see too much emotion, hysteria, knee jerk reactions, use of tragedy to promote a political agenda and unreasonableness on both sides of the issue, and I prefer to wait until a calm, reasonable discussion can be had when topics are this important.
I have opinions that support both sides of the issue, so this post is likely to piss off everyone who has a strong opinion, but such is life.
Most important, I have professional training and experience that may help clear up some misinformation about the use of firearms.
I am a gun owner. My weapons are registered and I have a concealed carry permit.
I am well trained in not only their use, but in the ethical implications of their use because I am a former federal law enforcement officer.
No matter what a lay person sees on television, you do not “shoot someone in the leg to wound/stop them” or brandish a weapon in an attempt to “scare” them. Pulling a gun ALWAYS escalates a situation.
The ONLY reason to pull a weapon is to STOP the threat (here’s a hint, “shoot to stop” is the phrase that replaced “shoot to kill”) because you believe your life or the life of someone in your care is in imminent danger (and you better be able to articulate that in a court of law)
If someone who is amped up on enough adrenaline to need to pull a weapon in the first place tired to hit an arm or a leg, it’s not going to work; the only safe shot to take in order to hit anything is center of mass (go through some professional tactical training if you don’t believe me)
Even if someone could “shoot to wound” you know what happens? The arm or leg will be missed multiple times before it is hit (if it is ever hit) putting everyone else in the area in danger and creating more victims.
If you can not articulate in a court of law why your life or the life of someone else was in immediate danger and lethal force was the only (last) option, then you have no business pulling a gun out of it’s holster.
There is ONE reason to pull a weapon and that is to kill someone.
If someone is not mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to do that, a gun is not for them and will most likely hurt or kill them or someone else who is not the intended target. They should not own, carry nor keep one in their home.
The first day of my law enforcement academy, our RTO asked us a question. “How many of you could take a human life?”
Half of the class either didn’t raise their hands at all or hesitated so long that it was a moot point. Only a handful of the other half, myself included put our hands up without hesitation.
“All of you that hesitated… You’re DEAD… Because the time it took you to decide that, gave someone else the time they needed to kill you.” He chastised.
Why did I not hesitate? Because I’ve seen what humans are capable of doing to one another. As a paramedic and one who had already worked in field law enforcement, I saw things I can’t tell regular people about at all. In addition to the horrendous things I’ve seen done to others, I’ve had people try to kill me.
Yes, given the right circumstances, I am capable of it.
With that said, I’m grateful that in my years working law enforcement, that I never had to un holster my weapon anywhere but on the range (I’ve had my holster unsnapped and had my hand on it however) Thankfully, I have been able to defend myself with a baton and/or my hands.
Despite what those who hate police like to think/espouse no one (barring mental illness/hatred bordering on mental illness) wants to take a human life in that manner. Those I have known who have had to make that choice are forever changed, forever haunted and damaged by the most terrible (and split second) decision one can be required to make.
The first thing that the self proclaimed constitutional scholars throw out there is the second amendment to the constitution.
Let’s take a look at it, shall we?
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed
The words that so many zealots find inconvenient is the part about the “well regulated militia”. This does not appear to give everyone the right to an insane arsenal of assault weapons.
With that said, there are many texts that list the following pre constitution reasons for the right to bear arms (sorry, if it’s not getting graded or paid for, I’m not citing multiple sources on my lunch break… you all know how to use the internet)
• Enabling the people to organize a militia system
• participating in law enforcement;
• deterring tyrannical government;
• repelling invasion;
• suppressing insurrection, allegedly including slave revolts;
• facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
I didn’t see hunting on that list, but I would add it myself.
Sorry folks, but cruelly treated factory farmed meat is much less humane and healthy than hunting.
But in the name of brevity (and to illustrate my point), let’s just say that we have no right to bear arms except as part of a “well organized militia”.
Let’s say that “guns are banned”.
I ask those who want “all guns off the street” how exactly they plan on facilitating that plan of action?
The guns are already out there; the genie is out of the bottle people… and there is no way of getting it back in.
Should the military go door to door and search every home, every car, go through every back alley and dig holes in people’s back yards?
There’s another “pesky” little constitutional issue there; it’s called the 4th amendment which protects us from unreasonable search and seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
As much as I hate to say it, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” it’s true.
Yes, horrific incidents occur when legally purchased guns are stolen/not secured, but in my opinion, the answer to that is education and to enforce the laws that we already have and to close loopholes.
All you’re going to have by pushing for a total gun ban is unarmed innocent people who are easy prey for the criminals, who do not acquire their weaponry through legal channels in the first place and have already shown blatant disregard for the law.
The whole idea of “arming teachers” is ludicrous at best; dangerous and negligent in common practice and criminal at worst.
The fact is, that not everyone is cut out to safely and responsibly carry/handle/use a firearm. Putting them in the hands of people who are not is no solution, it just exacerbates the problem.
I have mixed feelings on gun registration. On one hand, we have to register our cars; on the other, it’s an expensive program, another layer of government and will have no effect on criminals.
I wish I had an “easy” solution for all of this, but I don’t believe there is one.
So here are a few ideas I have floating around in my head.
* Teaching our children to value human life
* Better mental health care for EVERYONE
* Enforce the laws we already have on the books
* Hold people responsible for their weapons/choices
* Stop glorifying “thug life”
I’m sure I’ve pissed everyone on both sides off with this post.
GOOD! That means I’ve made you think.
We have a problem with gun violence in this country. To believe or say otherwise is naive at bests. I won’t bore you with statistics; they are readily available and all show one thing, the United States has a outrageously higher rate of gun violence than any other developed country.
The question at hand is “How do we deal with it?”
We need people to calm the heck down (the hysterical partisan BS I’ve seen from both sides doesn’t do anyone any good), think rationally and work cooperatively together for solutions.