Gun Violence

So, I have tried to provide some general information concerning gun ownership, carrying a firearm, and using a firearm. All in the hopes to provide some insight for those less familiar with the subject matter. I have purposely avoided writing a personal dissertation on gun violence, its causes, or its cures for two main reasons. First, my opinion on the subject is no more valid, informed, or insightful than that of many experts disposing both sides of this debate. And secondly, being open-minded about the subject of gun violence, I think I could easily argue either side of the debate, if challenged to do so.

However, there are a few main elements of the current rhetoric that I would like to address for clarity purposes. Again, I remind my readers that I have no solutions to offer to this epidemic of violence. I can, though, offer some perspective for both sides, I hope.

There is an outcry for the advancement of new gun laws, and rightfully so. And that could make it more difficult for someone to purchase and use a gun in a mass shooting incident. That is, of course, if they are a law-abiding citizen. But it will not reduce the number of firearms available to criminals or those with criminal intent. By definition, criminals scoff at societal laws and have no intention of adhering to them. Anyone with a criminal record cannot legally purchase a gun now, but the criminals seem to have no problem in getting them if they want. What we need to consider is insuring we pass reasonable gun laws and provide for the ‘no exception’ enforcement of current laws or any new laws that are passed. To think that someone with the intention of hurting a group of people with the use of a firearm will be stymied in getting one by the laws in place, may be a bit naive. However, the right laws with extremely stiff penalties can act as a deterrent. If guns are the problem, then purchasing, owning, carrying, or using one outside what is deemed legal, should be severely punished.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. There is a generalized truth in that statement, but it is very short-sighted. It would be akin to saying, “firetrucks don’t save people, firemen save people”. Firetrucks are just one of the tools available for those people to perform their task well. Assault rifles, for example, are specifically designed to inflict death with great efficiency. Without this tool, mass shooters ability to kill in mass would be reduced. But it would not be eliminated. Even with the banning of high-capacity magazines, a trained shooter can switch magazines in a couple seconds, making the capacity of magazines almost a non-issue. And to think that in a crowded location, a rifle is the ultimate tool for homicidal behavior is also short-sighted. At distances over 50 yards or so, a rifle can be a big advantage, but in close quarters, any one proficient with a handgun can inflict just as much damage to the human body, and just as quickly.

I am all for better background checks, but this will never address the ‘mental illness’ facet that leads to someone choosing mass shooting as some type of statement or resolution to an internal struggle or societal ills. We do need to include this as part of the discussion. How else are we to keep someone who has legally purchased or own a firearm while they are mentally stable, from being the next mass shooter when their wires get crossed upstairs?

To carry in the line of duty in Pennsylvania, one must undergo a physical, a mental evaluation, take college level courses on appropriate use of force, constitutional law, safety, etc., and prove efficiency with the weapon on a live firing range under timed and scored requirements. But this is an expensive process that can run into hundreds of dollars. To make those the requirements for any gun owner would be paramount to a gun owner ‘tax’.

I could go on like this forever, but I think it will serve no purpose. The only way this discussion can move forward to any hopeful resolution resulting in greater safety for our citizenry is to ask both sides to step from behind the pulpit where they preach the specifics of their particular personal views and attempt to look at the larger picture. The inability to see both sides of an equation has never resulted in the correct answer. (that one is for you Jim!)

I am a gun owner. All my guns have been purchased or received meeting all legal requirements. I have been licensed by the federal government, the state government, and my local municipality to own and carry my weapon concealed or openly while on duty or off. I have met every stringent requirement to receive those licensures. I shoot recreationally with friends, including handguns, rifles, and assault-style rifles. I hold a permit issued by the state that allows me to use the shooting ranges on State Game Lands for these purposes and to maintain my proficiency with all of them. You can imagine I may be a bit resistant to the idea that someone could come take that away from me because of the actions of another individual.

But, if as a society, we think its in the best interest of our citizens that those guns be taken away, as a law-abiding citizen I would obviously comply. If you were able to show me that having a firearm was so regulated, controlled, and enforced as to virtually eliminate their possession by every criminal or those with criminal intent, I would likely be happy to do so. But until that happens, I would like to keep mine. I have no desire to end up a victim.

This will be the last in this series for now. I feel like I have done what I can do to move this conversation forward and help our nation return to the safe haven I grew up in. But to be honest with my readers, I am not sure any of the words I have written, or could write in the future, will have any real bearing on the problem. It is my hopes that the smartest leaders and people in our society work to find a resolution, because no matter which side of the issue you fall on, we must agree the killing must stop.

Comments
5 Responses to “Gun Violence”
  1. Jim Borden says:

    like all your other posts on the topic, well done. you mention the “gun tax”; if someone really wants to own a gun because they think there is a benefit to doing so, then they should be willing to pay to get that benefit. It would boil down to a cost-benefit analysis, and you would have to know what goes on each side of that equation 🙂

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Jim, you make another valid point and I appreciate your addition to the conversation. Some would see gun ownership as a constitutional right, much like the right to vote, so the idea of paying for your rights may be a slippery slope. But I think your view holds water in many ways and I always appreciate your input!

  2. jomz says:

    This has been a very informative series of post. Well done.

    I’d have to agree on your point that unless people with intent on using guns for harm is removed from the equation, it would be hard to disallow upright citizens from owning something that might potentially serve to help them in their self-defense.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thank you Jomz. I am glad you liked the series and thank you for your support. There are many valid views on both sides of the discussion and it mostly seems to be a personal choice. But we would all agree that something must be done to curb the random acts of violence we have become way too familiar with.

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