I own a gun, in fact, several. I use them for hunting. I don’t shoot humans, but some people do, as evidenced in that horrific school massacre in Connecticut.
I’m not suggesting a law banning gun ownership, which wouldn’t pass and, according to the Supreme Court, would be unconstitutional. But the court’s Second Amendment ruling wasn’t so rigid that it outlawed all ways of keeping firearms out of the wrong hands. We need to make sure guns and ammunition aren’t where psychopaths or careless people can easily get at them.
(Why did you buy that pistol when your chances of ever using it in self-defense were less than the likelihood that you’d shoot yourself in the foot? Or shoot your teenager coming in late some night?)
I worry about people who own guns but don’t really know what they’re for. I’ll mention a couple of examples from my own life, one where I could have been killed and one where I might have shot someone.
The first occurred when I was 7 or 8 years old and visiting a kid across the street. He crawled up in a cabinet and brought down his father’s pistol. I don’t remember whether he pointed it at me and pulled the trigger, but he might have. Obviously it wasn’t loaded or I wouldn’t be writing this.
The other incident was when I was a teenager. I was up north with some people who stopped at the cottage of a man they knew, a retired Chicago policeman who had a collection of small arms he may have confiscated from criminals. One of the weapons was curious. It was round, with a barrel protruding from one side. It was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, with the barrel sticking out between your fingers. When you squeezed it, it fired. You could walk up to an unsuspecting person, squeeze the weapon and bang!, he was dead.
I was handling the gun when someone told me it was loaded. Why a man who’d spent his career dealing with violence would leave a loaded weapon lying around is beyond me.
We have organizations in this country like the National Rifle Association dedicated in their opposition to gun control laws, and they try to encourage responsible gun ownership. They should be working even harder to discourage mass gun ownership because it can put deadly weapons in the hands of irresponsible people. This may mean they should (gasp) support intelligent gun control laws. It would only partially solve the problem, but a partial solution is better than none. For one thing, who really needs an assault weapon?
The suggestion has been made that if the Connecticut teachers had been armed they could have prevented the classroom tragedy. But how many first-grade teachers are likely to pack a pistol in case a killer shows up?
A bunch of innocent school kids would be alive today if deadly weapons hadn’t been available to a troubled youth. Those school kids could have been yours.