In Light of Ft. Hood, Some Thoughts about Guns

gunJust last month I came home to find police in our yard. They informed me that they had a fugitive in the woods who had escaped following a nearby burglary.  We were thankful for the police protection, but they can’t be everywhere at all times, and may take 20 minutes to show up where we live. I possess a gun that I will use to defend my wife and children when the police can’t make it in time. And if I was living through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans I would want a gun to protect myself.

The United Kingdom, D.C. and Chicago have banned handguns, and yet it is still the primary weapon used to commit homicides and violent crimes perpetrated on good people in these places.  Because you or your children may encounter a gun at some point in your life, I would like to suggest some simple things you and your children can learn about gun safety.

Kids:  There was a study done in 2001 with 64 boys ranging in age from 8-12 where the pediatrician left the child alone in an exam room with video surveillance and a handgun (cleared and checked without ammunition) in a drawer in the room.  75% of the boys found the gun, 66% handled it, an amazing 33% PULLED THE TRIGGER, and only 1 boy who found it immediately left the room to get an adult and report it.  The whole experiment is a testament to the curiosity of children. Teach your kids: Talk to your children about the dangers of handling firearms and clearly instruct them to never, ever touch a gun or allow a friend to touch one without getting an adult involved.  There have been too many injuries from children playing with a gun – don’t let your child be another statistic.  After all, we tell them not to play near the street and not to smoke cigarettes, so why don’t we tell them not to touch a gun?

Gun Owners: WAKE UP and keep your firearms safely locked up 100% of the time.  Quick combination safes and biometric fingerprint safes have become extremely affordable and conveniently sized.  Even if you don’t have children, you may have friends or family that visit and wander through your house without your knowledge and cause damage with an unsecured gun – it’s happened before and there have been bad outcomes.

Know and memorize the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety.

1. Always consider a firearm to be loaded

2. Always keep a firearm pointed in a safe direction (keeping in mind that a bullet can travel several miles once it leaves the barrel).

3. Keep your finger OFF the trigger until you are ready to shoot and

4. Know exactly what your target is and what is behind it before pulling the trigger (keeping in mind the distance ammunition can travel).

Adults That Do Not Own firearms:  Be aware that your children may be playing or spending the night at a friend’s house and the friend’s parents may own firearm(s).  Many gun owners do not let others know that they own a gun for a variety of reasons. Ask about guns in the homes where your children play in a non-judgmental way.  

To Congress: On April 3rd, economist John R. Lott, Jr. commented about his son, a soldier at Ft. Hood, who recently returned from Afghanistan…”Ironically, my son is a concealed handgun permit holder. He can carry a concealed handgun whenever he is off the Fort Hood base so that he can protect himself and others. But on the base he and his fellow soldiers are defenseless.”  The same holds true for schools across our nations and college campuses where tens of thousands of people are contained in a bubble of non-protection that almost cries out for criminals to have their way without fear of reprisal. Let’s change that.

To those who would prefer guns did not exist:  I get that, I really do.  Guns are very powerful and can be very dangerous when handled improperly.  Unfortunately any laws preventing gun sales or ownership will simply keep them out of the hands of good, law-abiding citizens.  Criminals will arm themselves irrespective of the law.  Even if all gun manufacturers were shut down in the United States, firearms and ammunition would quickly make it back (illegally) into the hands of criminals. Our Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment into the Constitution to allow individuals in our nation to defend themselves and our country from attack.

To Perpetrators of Violent Crimes:  “Do Not Trespass — Survivors will be prosecuted!”


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