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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Carnage

I'm still sorting out all of my feelings on the Virginia Tech massacre. I haven't really addressed it here because everyone is covering it, and I have an almost compulsory tendency to buck the trend. However, after three full days of coverage and viewpoints from all sides on talk radio, I have a few points to make and several facts to share with you:

First up, where do I fit into this discussion. I'm not sure myself, but here's the bio - I'm a progressive Democrat, and a gun owner. My view is that gun ownership is NOT a constitutional right (Read the ENTIRE second amendment), but rather a privilege afforded to us, much like a driver's license. I believe you have the right to own handguns, hunting rifles, etc. if you pass a background check and have no obvious red flags that would preclude your safe ownership of a firearm. I further believe that a gun safety/training program should be mandated as a condition of being granted a permit to own and/or carry a firearm. I also believe that a "waiting period" or "cooling off period" is probably a good idea; it prevents "crimes of passion".

I feel that this should not be one of those "state's rights" issues that conservatives love to tout as the answer to all that is evil with government. Allowing the individual states to enact and administer their own gun laws has been, in my opinion, disastrous. Every state has a different mindset on gun laws, from extremely liberal (Like Virginia) to very strict (New York). Don't like the gun laws in your state? Were you deemed an unsafe person to own a handgun? Just drive to another state where there are few or no restrictions, and circumvent your state's laws. This obviously does not serve the public interest and safety.

Gun legislation should be uniform, common-sense, and uniform in every state. Therefore it should be a federally mandated issue, with all gun owners subject to the same standards and scrutiny whatever their state of residency. Law enforcement already shares a ton of information across state lines and agencies, why not share a common database for background check information, and administer it federally? We already have a department of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms and a federal bureau of investigation. Put these people in charge of this and bring some standard oversight to who should or shouldn't be trusted with a gun.

Let's say that the above scenario is already in place, what sort of restrictions should be in place? I really don't have a problem with hunting rifles and shotguns. I am not a hunter; I would likely have trouble pulling the trigger if an innocent animal were centered in my sights. But I am also a carnivore, and as such, realize where my steak comes from. And my turkey, and chicken, and venison. And I couldn't care less if you like to hunt, as long as it's for sport and you eat the animal or use it's hide. If you're killing just to kill, I have a problem.

I also understand and agree with your right to carry a concealed handgun for personal protection, as long as you pass a background check, pass a safety course, and are found to be mentally sound enough to responsibly do so. If you wish to choose a semi-automatic pistol, that should be your choice. But I see absolutely no reason for extended clips for these guns, nor any good reason for full automatic weapons. These are military weapons that cannot be justified for personal use. Are you defending yourself from an attacking herd of deer?

Let's say that America has been invaded (unlikely), and foreign troops are in our streets. Are you going to go all "Rambo" and burst out of your house to eliminate them all at once? Right. . .they'll mow you down before you get half of them. But a nation of law-abiding citizens, a well-armed militia if you will, would follow the example set by our revolutionary forefathers - we'd hide in the shadows and pick them off one at a time with our sidearms and rifles as we silently text'd each other with our successes and plans. At least that's my view of the spirit of America. . .

That's my rant on the issue, and a clarification of my views. My hardware? I own two rifles, a Winchester .22 and a 120 year-old musket, both family heirlooms. And two pistols, a S&M.44 mag - long barrel, and a Walther PPK 9mm. I don't carry anymore; although I once did due to my work. I keep all but the Walther under lock and key, as I have small children. And I keep it and my clips separated, but close. I refuse to keep a loaded gun at the ready; I love my kids too much, and kids tend to find things which you think are hidden.

I'll finish up with a few facts that I have heard over the last few days that took me by surprise:

- There are roughly 30,000 deaths from firearms in the U.S. every year; 18,000 are from suicides. You're depressed, you have a gun, easy out. You're depressed. don't have a gun, you probably won't stab yourself to death.

- The chances that a handgun kept in the home will be used against it's owner by a perp, 9 out of 10. An invader will be on full sensory alert; will YOU when awakened by his presence, have time to react?

- A caller to a talk radio program that I listen to claimed that you have a three-second window to respond to an attacker if you are carrying. Do you think that fast in a critical situation? Does your "fight or flight" reaction allow such a rapid response?

Some of these points may cause me to rethink my former views on this subject. The best deterrents to invasion of your home seem to be lots of lights, a lack of obstructions (shrubs, etc) for a perp to hide behind, a dog (real or audio), and a good alarm system. I won't tell you which ones I currently use, but, good luck!

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11 Comments:

Blogger Anon-Paranoid said...

john...
I find nothing wrong in any of your paragraphs. They are all common sense beliefs that any member of the NRA should support, but don't.

I have never owned a weapon of any kind, but have been seriously thinking of obtaining one due to the crime rate and acts of home invasion which have exploded recently.

And another thought is when the police bust into a wrong address will you end up being killed by them while your trying to protect yourself and your family.

Even the police today go too far when stopping anyone to question. To even question why your being stopped can get you maced and arrested. I had a relative whom retired after 30 years on the force and I believe even he would say now if he were still alive that I'm right.

We need some serious debate on this issue and we need it now. End of speech.

God Bless.

title="comment permalink">April 18, 2007 8:50 PM  
Blogger Carrie Oakey said...

Isn't it funny how you liberals sqwak about "Constitutional rights" when it impedes your right to aid the terrorists by protesting the Greatest President Ever, but when it comes to our God given second amendment rights, suddenly the Constitution is wrong?

title="comment permalink">April 18, 2007 10:22 PM  
Blogger Robert Rouse said...

I cannot treat the Constitution like an ala carte menu, either I take it whole hog or not at all. I support the right to bear arms. But there are common sense limits. Using freedom of speech as an excuse to call a girls basketball team "nappy headed 'ho's" is just as inexcusable as a third grader taking a bazooka to show and tell.

title="comment permalink">April 18, 2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

Oh, I see Carrie has visited you, too. She's a busy girl. Anyway, abut guns - My thinking is that we need a ban on them for a few years until we can prove we can behave in a reasonable manner. Right now things are getting out of control. But, I know the 2nd Amendment was put in place to give citizens an equal footing with a possible military controlled government.

title="comment permalink">April 19, 2007 5:37 AM  
Blogger Marked Hoosier said...

Isn't it funny how you liberals sqwak about "Constitutional rights" when it impedes your right to aid the terrorists by protesting the Greatest President Ever, but when it comes to our God given second amendment rights, suddenly the Constitution is wrong?

OMG... that is the funniest parody of a wingnut I have read today! Whoo boy, I need a laugh!

title="comment permalink">April 19, 2007 10:26 AM  
Blogger Donnie McDaniel said...

Bwahaha!!!! So lets take a look at Carrie.

"I'm just a good Christian girl, trying to make my way in the Jew dominated entertainment industry"

Do I sense a little racism there? Wonder Girl even has her:

# Astrological Sign: Aries
# Zodiac Year: Rabbit


And get this, her fav book is the bible! Then to top it off, the hussy has a pornographic pic of Obama and Clinton! Just to make sure that you understand how republican she is, take a look at this gem!!!!!

"Then we have Barack Osama, we need another one of them colored people in the nation's capitol like we need another Kennedy (excuse my Irish).

Feel free to piss off Carrie. YOU SUCK!

title="comment permalink">April 19, 2007 11:14 AM  
Blogger Blueberry said...

John, I agree with your recommendations on guns. I wish that guns didn't exist, but since we have to live in the real world and they aren't going away, I think there's got to be a strong set of controls at the federal level. Make them hard to get. Make people pass a gun safety class, waiting periods, cooling off periods, all that stuff. It's plain common sense.

title="comment permalink">April 19, 2007 12:02 PM  
Blogger Jeff Pruitt said...

John,

Unlike civil rights issues where "state's rights" is just a euphemism for state sponsored racism, I do believe there is a legitimate case to be made for state-level (perhaps even local) firearm regulation.

Gun ownership laws are (and should) be different in different communities as local officials need the flexibility to deal w/ their individual problems. The federal government does not need to do anything on this issue as the US Constitution is quite complete.

The Constitution allows for (IMO) regulation of firearms but does not allow for the banning of them. That seems like a very reasonable postion. Every community can decide for themselves what level of regulation they need but they cannot deny them to the citizenry altogether...

title="comment permalink">April 19, 2007 1:29 PM  
Blogger Parson said...

The thing is the gun used weren't machine guns or anything crazy. I'm not gun expert, but it seems glock 9mm is pretty easy to get, don't all the rappers have them? I have to step away from the keyboard before I really go off. I'll rant on my blog later on.

title="comment permalink">April 19, 2007 3:42 PM  
Blogger Anon-Paranoid said...

A last comment on this issue. On the MSM I saw the number of the two weapons used in this slaying for 2005.

Between the two weapons there were 398,000 sold. Now that figure was just for those two weapons for all of 2005. That would mean that at least one million of them have been sold since 2005 to date.

How many more need to be sold before we have some sort of verification that the person buying the gun has no mental health problems or will commit an act such as we say Monday?

I'll leave that question to be answered by the smart ones here. Me I don't know nothin.

God Bless.

title="comment permalink">April 19, 2007 9:34 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

AP - There are ALOT of angles on this issue. Maybe this will help open a dialogue.

Carrie - Oakey Dokey. (I'll NOT have what SHE'S having!)

Robert - Agreed. There are shades to every issue.

Mary - That may be taking it too far, but I understand where you're coming from. Then again, look at Canada. . .

Donnie - She's tongue in cheek and always in character. It's not for real. . .I don't think.

Blueberry - Exactly. And good to hear from a Texan! ;)

Jeff - We'll have to talk more about this at our next "roundtable". I'm just looking for some uniformity, the patchwork of laws really bother me.

Parson - Even Closeout Man had a "nine"! ;) Seriously, the issue here is that this guy sent out all the signals, yet he still got a handgun and acted out. The system failed big time.

AP - There's definitely a glut of guns in this country. I'm not sure what the answer is either. . .

title="comment permalink">April 19, 2007 9:47 PM  

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