Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Time to take gun ownership seriously

When you want to drive, you have to train and get a license before they let you do it.

When you want to do a job that can become dangerous, you have to train and prove you know how to do it before they let you do it. The list of careers requiring training and a license is long but the list of jobs using lethal weapons include the military and law enforcement. So why don't we make sure no one gets a gun permit without training and having to renew it?

(Correction on the following. A Facebook reader informed me this conversation was about the mall shooting and not Aurora. See video below.)

I heard someone representing the NRA talk about the Clackamas Mall. Man says he had shooter in his sights, but chose safety over firing. He said the gunman was confronted by a person with a handgun and that is when gunman shot himself, ending the carnage. The handgun owner did not fire a shot. While there are plenty of ways to digest this information, it is clear that just because the handgun owner had a weapon, he was not able to pull the trigger no matter what was going on. It is one thing to have a gun, another to know how to use it, but too many are just assuming the person with the gun will be able to pull the trigger on another person.

During the talk on guns, others said if Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung had been armed, she could have shot the gunman. (Not posting his name) That wouldn't have solved anything. She was not in her office when this all took place, yet we do know she was courageous enough to use her own body to lunge at the gunman. People want to assume she would have been able to pull the trigger on someone else.

I believe there should be a process to be able to have guns that goes far beyond passing a background check. They should have to be able to prove they know how to use them and secure them. They should have to pass a test before they get a license. They should have to renew the license regularly. The shooter's Mom went to the gun range to shoot and brought her son with her. Why did she have to have assault weapons? Why weren't they secure so her son couldn't get his hands on them? If they were secure is that why he killed his Mom? Too many questions on this that need to be discussed. What if she only had handguns? Would any of this happened?

I have not heard one single reason as to why a person would need an assault weapon. The key word is "need" and not "want" to have them. There are parts of this country where law enforcement cannot respond quickly and citizens want to make sure they can protect their homes and families should the worst thing happen. Some want to hunt. None of them have to have assault weapons.

The other issue being talked about are personal weapons owned by servicemen and women. Some think if they just take away guns, then they won't commit suicide. The means is not as important as the reason. The other factor in this debate is there is a rule that prevents commanders from asking about personal weapons. Again, when we're talking about suicides, they need to talk about what the reason is and not focus on the means in which they plan on doing it.

While this mass murder captured the national news, it was not the only deadly event during the weekend.