Which came first – the shooter or the gun?
That was the interesting and provocative conclusion of the Jan. 11 Op-Ed column by Ray Schuster.
Mr. Schuster’s assumption is that firearms unilaterally kill people. The fallacy here is that a person has to consciously obtain the weapon, buy ammunition, load it and then point it at someone and pull the trigger.
In the cases of Columbine, Sandy Hook, the Aurora, Colo., theater – pick one – the criminal first had to satisfy a need, however insane, in attacking and killing others. Let’s assume that same person, sane or not, wanted to take as many lives as he/she could to satisfy a very sick and misguided need.
Let’s say guns are not available, they have been banned from the face of the earth. How could this taking of lives be accomplished?
How about filling a couple of bottles with gasoline or methanol, stick rags in the tops, smuggle them into the theater or school, light the wicks and toss them into the room.
The effect would be just as heinous as the harm done with an AR15 or a shotgun or any other weapon. So, do we ban bottles, gasoline, shotguns, knives? Where would it end?
The problem is not the weapon, it’s the person using the weapon, that’s what needs to be addressed. The laws we already have on the books are not being utilized and enforced throughout the country. In the case of Sandy Hook, the shooter did not buy the guns, he stole them from his mother. The point being, more controls on sane and law abiding gun owners is not going to prevent a recurrence of Sandy Hook.
California has some of the most stringent gun ownership laws in the country and tough requirements to obtain a concealed carry permit. Neither have reduced gun violence. Bad people will get guns if they want them. Smokers will get cigarettes, if they want them. Druggies will get drugs, if they want them.
The NRA’s idea of arming teachers is not all that outlandish. We use armed guards to protect our politicians and our money, why not our greatest treasure, our children?
I need not remind the reader of the 2nd Amendment. It’s very clear in its meaning, ”A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Our forefathers had very specific reasons for writing this amendment and those reasons haven’t changed. The types of arms were not specified and the assault weapon of that day was a flintlock which most households owned. It just happens that the assault weapon of the 21st-century is the AR15 or AK47.
The taxing of cigarettes, the banning of alcohol, the criminalizing of illegal drug use haven’t stopped their use. What makes anyone think the banning of guns will stop people for getting them and doing harm with them?
Perhaps there’s some merit in issuing carry permits to sane and responsible people. Maybe, just maybe, a massacre can be prevented by a sane person with a legal weapon, who is trained and mature enough use it.
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R.W. Piazza is a resident of Sonoma.