Let the debate commence!
To begin from a factual basis, this is what Wikipedia says about the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:
This is what I wrote about the most recent Florida School shooting:
“To gun or not to gun,” that is a question!
Full disclosure, my position on this is somewhat biased. I have disclosed this fact before, I have national concealed carry authority. That is because I am a retired law enforcement officer. As long as I complete the required qualifications, maintain a good standing in society, as in, don’t do something stupid, I am authorized to carry in every state. In concept. Those in my position know that there are certain states that may challenge this authority, for reasons that elude me, but be that as it may, that is my status. Because of this privilege, I try to view the issue as a citizen of the country, rather than as a retired officer. I ask myself, self, what would my position be if I did not have my privilege?
I don’t think there has ever been a poll on this subject, but if asked I would guess that most cops are split on the issue. Active cops may hold a different position than the retired officers. Many, maybe even most Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs will argue that all guns in the hands of civilians should be restricted. This may be by conscious, but it also may be by political and social pressure. As managers who may have been selected by an elected official, or voted into office by a citizenry that leans one side or the other on the issue, by not speak from their heart as much as from their standing in office.
And then there is this issue; the difference between open carry and concealed carry. Open carry means that the person is allowed to have the weapon on their person, as long as it is visible to all around them. Concealed carry is obvious, the weapon is hidden on the body, under a shirt, jacket or in some carry device.
Now, the following comment by me will be viewed as a bias statement. But if I am a blogger, I have to be open to what comes with the job. To begin, this is just one of the links referring to this point:
A hero teacher, and be clear, they are all heroes, had the opportunity to open her classroom door and allow children to enter the relative safety of the classroom. My question is this, what if that teacher had been one that had chosen to acquire, receive expert and complete training, and become an authorized designated armed protector of their students. Picture this, she opens the door, armed and ready. She first ensures that the children are directed to the safety of the classroom, and she then turns her attention to the presence of the criminal shooter. At that point, she has an option that she did not have without the weapon. She is now in the “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario. Cops in training are put in the various shoot, don’t shoot situations where they must make a decision about the threat facing them. Are they in an advantageous position that gives them the opportunity to take offensive action, in defense of those threatened, and with their weapon, take on the criminal. If that teacher has a clear shot then maybe, just maybe, the criminal is stopped in his effort to kill more, and more children. If not, perhaps the criminal sees the other gun holder, realizes that he is not free to kill at will, and decides to retreat. Again, possibly sparing more lives as he flees. The fact is, at some point, he decided to end the killing spree and hiding among the other fleeing children, he escaped the location.
If it were my child and my child’s school, would I want an armed and qualified person present, with a gun, trained and authorized to take action? Yes, I would. And yes I did.
My own daughter attended a private school. An excellent school in Southern California. This school never had an incident of gun violence in its long history. That fact was a part of my choice when my daughter began there. I sought out the school’s administration and we discussed the matter of their campus security. Though the school had not had an incident of gun violence, there had been conflicts involving at least one school staff that ended badly. To their credit, they listened to and took my recommendations. The school added cameras at strategic locations, changed door and gate policies making it more difficult for unauthorized persons to enter the campus, and trained teachers on how to best maintain classroom and playground security. They also hired a retired police officer (actually a retired Sheriff…but whatever!) to be present each day, on campus, at select and roving locations, during all the hours that children and teachers are on campus. He was the only gun holder, but one, in my opinion, was better than none.
I do not recommend guns to people that do not have an interest or need. I do not recommend guns to people that are not willing to go through expert gun handling training. And that is how I argue the issue to people. If you choose to own a gun, you should, no, you must be well trained and maintain continuing good training with that gun. A novice with a gun is a dangerous thing. Picture a white belt (novice) Martial Artist. That person can be a dangerous thing to themselves, until such point in time when the novice gains sufficient skills to be designated expert in their martial arts talents.
So far this posting has been focused on the school scenario. But what of the question about guns in the greater American public? Here is what Pew Research group says about that:
The question has to be, what have current affairs taught us about safety and security in America today. We have the Florida School shooting, we have the Las Vegas concert/street shooting, we have several nightclub shootings, we have had more than one church shooting, and we had the park shooting in Washington D.C., in which members of Republican congressional members were playing baseball when attacked by a gunman. The numbers are too large to list here. There seemingly is no filter on the choices and locations for shootings. One shooting, one death, one serious injury are each, too many. When the number of victims goes beyond four, which is where the FBI begins to delineate the event to be a mass shooting, it gets ridiculous. We have far too many shootings in America, no debate there.
We know that today (Tuesday 20 February 2018), as I am writing this, high school children, and presumably their supporting adult parents and possibly teachers, are traveling to Washington D.C. and to the various state government offices around the country and perhaps in your own towns. Their intent is to lobby on the subject of guns. The conversation, the argument, the messages, will likely all be about gun laws and various arguments about “gun control.”
The term “gun control” is a hot-button term and refers to something that is a matter at the center of the dialogue on this and similar subjects related to guns.
That these students are being activist and lobbying as they currently are is not a bad thing. It is an adult thing. It is healthy when done in the organized and mature manner that we have seen so far. The question here is the key. What is their message? What is the best message? Further, a question yet to show up is will their movement be taken over by political and special interests. Will we see partisan political figures and leaders of certain special interest groups, with their own agenda and message, taking the stage and potentially taking over the movement that these democratic students are now leading?
Do we need better laws with respect to guns? Well, that is a shallow question. Do we need better management of gun sales? Yes, responsible and trackable movement in the sales of guns, from any venue or mode, is not unreasonable.
And then there is the designation of the various types of weapons, as in, assault weapons, rifles, handguns, et al. Clarity on what those engaged in the argument, I mean debate, are talking about, should be made clearer. To argue indiscriminately about “guns” without clarifying what you are talking about leads to people presuming you are talking about something you may not be focused on. As in, all weapons. And this is what leads to mass hysteria as gun owning people and constitutionalist see you threatening to take away all guns and violating our constitution. We should not cloud the discussion with ill-defined talk about a type of gun that is incorrectly identified. By that I mean, an AR15 is a rifle, but there are other types of rifles. Discussion of this type of rifle should be made clear so that our decisions on how to manage them is clear and correct.
When the parties to the discussion are selected there should also be reasonable and educated experts on both sides of the table. When talking about the capacity of gun magazines, those monstrous things that hold the ammunition, experts should be able to guide us all through a reasonable differentiation between what is reasonable and what is outrageous.
Lastly, at least for this current conversation, there is the States of the United States. Each state holds it’s own powers of regulation. Not so much to restrict gun ownership, but to manage other aspects of the subject. States can mandate how much time a person should be required to wait before taking active possession of their purchased gun. States could regulate training and training requirements for gun possession. Some of these things might be challenges to our laws, but the conversation can be had on these and other points.
Bottom Line…too many children killed by other people, here in America, and for that matter, anywhere on this planet. That opening statement goes around tags that slow down the process, like “mass” shooting, and “assault weapons,” and how our children can be attacked and killed. Any and every way this can happen is bad and needs to be fixed!
Remember, this can be a constructive discussion, don’t hate or insult. It just is not necessary, and gets us nowhere!