Outdoors Column: Gun Control

Any gun violence is too much and the problem seems to be getting worse. I feel there are several reasons for this, foremost being, lack of mental health services. It is safe to say, anybody that would start shooting people at random is crazy. Usually, people around them know when a person has mental health problems. Many times, these problems are not reported and if they are, usually nothing is done about it because of privacy laws. I know it is easier for a guy in Russia to access my credit card than it is for my son to get the results of my cholesterol screening. If a doctor sees a patient that he feels is a danger to himself or others, there should be facilities and treatment available immediately, with or without the patient’s consent.


When some nut case decides to go on a random shooting spree, the first thing many people do is call for more gun control. To me, this makes no sense at all. The shooter in Philadelphia was banned for life from having guns. He had been convicted multiple times of illegal possession of a weapon as a felon and was released back into society to prey on the public. Several mass shooters were known to be a danger to themselves or the public. Nothing was done about the obvious warning signs.


We have all kinds of guns laws on the books. The problem is criminals do not necessarily follow the laws. The strictest gun laws in the United States are in Chicago. One of the highest rates of gun violence is also in Chicago. This should tell people something. Perhaps enforcement of the current laws and severe penalties for breaking them would do better than making more laws that will be ignored by the criminals and judges.


Many of the current crop of presidential contenders are advocating government confiscation of all guns, or “assault” type weapons, or guns that hold too many rounds of ammunition, or any number of other things they would define as dangerous. It is not the gun that is dangerous. These are also the people that have armed bodyguards a few feet away. It is good for them to be protected by guns, but not the little people they want to represent.


I know some people will drink and drive. Some people will be killed by drunk drivers. Do we ban cars because some people are not responsible? There is no difference. My ability to drive a car should not be affected by other’s criminal action any more than my right to own a gun should be infringed because some people are criminals.


I have no problem with responsible adults owning and carrying weapons of their choice. I feel more safe knowing there are armed individuals around. Most mass shootings occur in “gun free zones.” If some crazed individual wants to create the maximum amount of carnage, they are not going to shoot up a police station. Everyone there has a gun. They are going to go to a school, a church, or another “gun free zone” where they will meet the least amount of resistance. Some of these institutions have seen the folly of stating publicly they are unprotected and have started arming themselves.


I will not lose my second amendment rights because some people do not approve of guns. I do not approve of the way some people use their first amendment rights, but as long what they are saying is legal, I will not try to have their rights taken away. I expect the same in return.