Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gun For All And All For Gun?


Yesterday morning, Heidi and I were reading the newspaper together.  We usually split it up.  One gets the A section, the other the Metro.  Then we switch.  In the front section there was a story of a car crash in downtown Columbia where two people were killed going off a bridge.  President Obama limited parts of the NSA spying program.  The jury is out on the health effects of e-cigarettes [Really?  You’d think the jury would be in place before we started marketing the things].    There were other stories of greater and lesser magnitude.

But the story that captured me.  The one that made my eyes well up was under the headline 4-year-old kills cousin with loaded rifle left under bed.  A four-year-old boy was shot by his four-year-old cousin.  A little girl found the loaded rifles under a bed when the kids were playing alone.  It was late afternoon.  She picked it up, aimed it, pulled the trigger.  At the time the story was printed, it was “unclear whether charges will be brought as a result of the shooting.”  The police officer quoted in the story said the killing was, “a tragic, tragic accident.” 

That story happened in Detroit.  But it could have been anywhere in the US.  One of the most disturbing parts of the story is its ordinariness.  Because incidents like this happen all the time. 

• Between 1999 and 2010, 364,483 people were killed by gun violence in the United States.
• 4,818 were children under age 14, and of those, 791 were unintentional.
• The average is about 72 child gun deaths each year.
• In 2010, there were 606 accidental shooting deaths reported in the U.S. Of those, 62 deaths were of children age 14 and younger.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System 



It’s just been a little over a year since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  And just after the incident, there was a flurry of activity to pass some sensible legislation about gun control.  Even some gun rights advocates said that there should be stricter regulations prohibiting the sales of certain weapons.  Almost 1,500 bills have been introduced in almost every state.  Just over 100 of them became law.  But get this, 2/3 of the laws loosened gun restrictions.  Just when you think that a human disaster of the magnitude of Sandy Hook might wake people up to the dangers of those insane types of weapons being available; just when the nation began to consider the possibility of enacting some small changes in the direction of more careful gun laws – the push back was greater.  And as if there weren’t already too many of those weapons out there whose only logical purpose is killing people (no one really believes for a minute that their purpose is for hunting), the sales of those preposterous weapons of mass destruction increased dramatically.

Freedom Group, also known as Remington Outdoor Company, announced this week that its profits have risen by 52 percent in the year after the tragedy, in which 20 school children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were killed with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle made by Remington.
The company expects profits in 2013 to reach $235-240 million, up from $156.5 million in 2012, according to an annual financial report released on the company's website. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/13/sandy-hook-gun-profits_n_4442034.html )

20 children died in the massacre at Sandy Hook.  8 Adults died – including the shooter.  At the vigil in Newtown, days after the shooting, President Obama said, “Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year is somehow the price of freedom?”  Isn’t it ironic that the gun manufacturer that makes the Bushmaster XM15-E2S (the weapon that took away the freedom of 27 people to live their lives) calls itself the FREEDOM GROUP?

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I wrote the above piece a week and a half ago.  I was intending to post it as is but there is more news about guns from SC.   Where do you think would be the absolute worst place for people to be allowed to carry concealed weapons?  How about bars?

The bill, S.308, would allow concealed carry into restaurants and bars, as long as the carrier does not consume alcohol and no sign posted prohibits it.
"I think every American has that right," The Dispensary owner Thomas Viljac says. "I think it's just the right to bear arms.
Viljac says he supports the principle of the bill, which he describes as giving owners the choice to allow guns in their business.


The bill now goes to Governor Nikki Haley.  Chances are that she will not hesitate to sign it into law.  Who knows where the “Gun Rights Advocates” will end?  All this just over a year after Sandy Hook.  The bigger the tragedy, the stronger the pushback.  Americans overwhelmingly want stronger gun controls.  But politicians are afraid of the NRA and the gun lobby.

2013-04-02 NRA support for background checks
Where will it end, when everyone is required to have a gun?  Think that's ridiculous?

Next month, the city council of Nelson, Georgia, will vote on a law that would mandate gun ownership for the town's "safety, security, and general welfare" and for "emergency management." The proposal, modeled on a law in nearby Kennesaw, includes exemptions for felons, the mentally ill, and those who oppose guns. Towns in Idaho and Utah are considering similar laws.

1 comment:

Chris Hass said...

My class and I discussed that article last week. I tried to explain both sides and then asked them if they feel more safe or less safe knowing there are people carrying guns with them for protection. About 3/4 of them said they felt less safe. No one felt it was a good idea to have them where people are drinking. I didn't share my opinion this time around but I agree with the majority. Guns in bars makes no sense other than to try to further political goals/win political battles. Who in there right mind really wants guns in bars?

But wait...the bill also says you can't have them if you'll be drinking or if there's a sign in the window saying no firearms are allowed. Of course, as we hear again and again those who are most dangerous will not follow rules or laws so this does little to protect anyone. This is quite a gun-happy culture we live in and continue to bolster. That people want to protect some gun rights I get. That they want guns everywhere I do not.