Time for Common Sense

Bridge to understandingI’m not going to mince words here. I’m someone who’s straight with my opinions and don’t waste time with hyperbole. If you’re someone that truly has an open mind, please read on.

== GUN CONTROL REALITY 101 ==

I’ve been a firearms owner and 2nd amendment advocate for over 40 years. I was trained to use a rifle over 50 years ago. I enlisted in the Marine Corps when I was 18 at the height of the Viet Nam war. I became more proficient in using small arms from that point on. Guns of any type are not my first thought for self-defense. In the period of time I’ve been involved with private gun ownership, I’ve never fired a weapon in self-defense. Why is that? The answer is simple, despite all that you read on the news, the need is seldom and I avoid situations that might warrant it. I’ve been prepared to use most small arms by regular firing but the need has never arisen and I hope I never will be required to use one in self-defense. I have however, needed to swim to aid others, so if that’s not a skill you possess and you’re healthy, I recommend that along with first aid training before firearms.

Now here are my thoughts on people who demonstrate the right to bear arms by carrying your weapon out in the open. Don’t do it. If you want to carry, go through the necessary steps within your community to obtain a personal concealed carry permit. Don’t amplify the problem by doing the equivalent of someone who comes up to your face and shouts at you because they feel they have a right to free speech. Use your rights wisely and expect there are going to be people who actually oppose private firearms.  Just don’t go out in public carrying firearms and increase tension in the community. Yes, there are people who actually don’t want you to have a firearm that will take advantage of a tense situation and increase the level of debate by open carry, just as those who go to conservative meetings and are actual opposition and carry inflammatory posters or say things to discredit the organization, because they aren’t a legitimate member.

Ask yourself the honest questions, do my actions help other people or am I just trying to get a message out into the public about something I feel passionate? Passion is one thing, common sense is another. Do you feel comfortable if you were walking in a mall or sitting at a restaurant with your family and a group of police officers came in with semi-automatic rifles, even if they wear it on a sling over their shoulder? Most thinking people would be concerned something bad was going to happen. It’s only natural, people have a built-in awareness level of danger and I see no value in tampering with that because if there is a nut case going to fire upon people, I want them to react in a way that preserves their safety, not be callous and casual if they see a weapon.

If you know veterans from WWII or Korea as I have, none of them would want to go out into the public and brandish a gun. This is part of what we call common sense. They would think, and rightly so, that anyone that does is either, demented, a thug or punk. It’s not because they’re afraid, it’s because they use their brain for something other than a hat rack. I ask you if you read this, use your mind to realize that carrying firearms around in public as a demonstration of the second amendment is more likely to turn independent thinkers into people who will use their influence and vote against what you would prefer them to do. Those that strongly oppose firearms aren’t going to be charmed into agreeing with you either.

Now let’s cut through the bias about background checks. Anyone that wishes to buy a firearm legally, goes through a background check in all 50 states. The so-called loop-hole isn’t really a loophole. In truth, anyone that wishes to sell a firearm as a private party to another private party can do so legally in many, but not all cities, in the United States. Those cities which enacted laws to regulate this in hopes of reducing violence haven’t been successful because anyone that desires to use a gun for a holdup or killing certainly isn’t going to be concerned about another firearm restriction. As a matter of obvious fact, make all guns illegal and the result is an emboldened criminal element. They know that only police will oppose them and there aren’t enough law enforcement officers. Even if the country wanted to hire a lot more police, the results wouldn’t be something we want to live under. Wealthy people still receive favoritism within restrictive communities as they have armed security personnel. The average citizen doesn’t have that protection. Police officers will be there after the crime but not perform protective service, that’s your responsibility.

What can we do to reduce gun violence, which by the way has been on a serious decline? We can enforce the background check laws. Yes, there are people who apply and get turned down for a firearm. They know they can’t buy one through legal channels so if they’re really desirous of buying one, they will find a way. Look at all the drug laws and yet that never stopped anyone. Those who apply and get turned down have already violated the law. Law enforcement seldom (less than 5%), go after the person who applied. Expand the background check to cover prior mental patients by tying in the records for those who have had serious mental problems. Even though the background check asks questions, there has to be a way of electronically checking a database.

Despite all the laws and emotion you can bring to the debate, there will always be violent or criminal based people. Every city/state which have enacted tougher laws, have seen a rise in violence. You can’t just create another regulation or law and say, we fixed that problem. That’s naïve. We need to understand the bigger problem is in those who are broken and are on the fringe of a society that often has let them down, and usually that began in the home with people who weren’t committed as a family. Let’s not make the problem worse by making normal citizens criminals because they believe in protecting themselves.

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