Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Gun Control versus Responsible Gun Ownership

I was raise in Southern West Virginia where guns were as common as grass.  There was not a high rate of deaths while I was growing up for one reason. Parents took seriously their responsibility for training their children from an early age the correct way to handle a gun and to respect the power of a gun. Mentally ill family members were not allowed around guns. At that time most mentally ill people were locked away in hospitals for the safety of the public and themselves
Still I had an aunt shot and killed by her sister because they were playing with a gun. My aunt left behind an infant daughter who was raised by an older aunt and my grandfather. Sylvia Marie was 25 years old when she died from a gun shot wound to the chest. I was taught how to use a gun at age 10. I was always told never to point a gun at someone unless you planned to kill them and accept the consequences of your actions. 

In the early 1980s president Ronald Reagan closed the mental hospitals in this country promising that community treatment facilities would become common as grass. Well that did not happen and because of it our society has unstable individuals wondering the streets. These individuals are free to buy or steal guns from people who take no responsibility for ownership. There are no consequences for selling a gun to a mentally ill individual who then turns around and kills mass numbers of people. Where there are laws they are simply not enforced. There is no personal liability for people who sell guns to unknown characters at gun shows. It is not like when I was growing up and you knew the person that you were selling a gun to and knew that person’s character.

Automatic guns have no real purpose in this country other than to cause mass casualties. No one would ever hunt with one of those weapons.  It would be un-sportsman like from the beginning. I can understand having cubs that own those types of guns if the public wants the experience of firing one but private ownership is just plain stupid. You are inviting a criminal to break in and steal those types of guns for the express purpose of killing law enforcement agents.  

Now I firmly believe in owning a hand gun for self-defense as long as the owner practices responsible ownership. Which includes being trained how to fire one and how to clean and store a gun in a safe manner. Anyone living in the home of a gun owner should also be trained.  Except for gun collectors no gun owner should have more than five weapons in their own home at any time. Gun collectors should be held to a higher standard of ownership where they are expected to have gun safes and protections to prevent their guns from being taken by criminals. 

As far as gun laws are concerned I believe you should only have laws that the law enforcement agencies are expected to fully enforce. If they don’t enforce them and someone dies because of it then they should have to answer for that failure.  Gun owners should be required to take training and pass an exam both written and practical before they can take a weapon home.

If these rules were instituted, I am reasonable sure we would have fewer mass shootings.  As long as we as a society allow individuals to buy large numbers of semiautomatic and automatic guns and allow gun sellers to sell to anyone without reasonable assurances that their guns will be responsibly care for and used then we are inviting more mass deaths.