Friday, June 27, 2008

A Gun Does Not Just "Go off."

I stole this from Carrie, who probably won't appreciate my rant in her comments, so I'll post my own view of these news stories here.

First from the Chicago Tribune:

[Three-year-old] Julius Rogers … died Wednesday afternoon when a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun that he was playing with went off in his home on the 1300 block of East Cass Street in Joliet. The boy's mother, Jannice Barefield, was in the kitchen fixing lunch when she heard a pop, Helms said. Barefield rushed into the living room and found her only child lying on the floor with a gunshot wound in the head. She carried the boy out of the house, screaming and asking neighbors for help, Helms said. One of them drove her to nearby Silver Cross Hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead.

The sad part about stories like this is that it is the adult who left the weapon with a round chambered who is at fault. No 3-yr-old on the planet can charge a .45 automatic on their own. (To charge means to bring a round up from the magazine into the firing chamber). That takes more than a little arm strength to do.

Guns are not bad. All handguns in homes with small children are NOT ticking time bombs. Store the weapons properly (out of the reach of children comes to mind...locked in a safe or lockbox), teach children to respect them properly (all weapons are to be treated as always loaded, do not point it at anything you do not wish to destroy, know your target and what is beyond it, and finger off the trigger unless intending to fire) know where your child is and what they are doing, and don't keep an automatic chambered.

When children die due to inattentive or ignorant adults, it is sad. It is not the fault of guns. Guns are not evil; they are mechanical things. Children drown in backyard pools with frightening regularity, yet those are not banned. People die in car accidents hourly, yet we still strap in and rocket down the highway.

Gun manufacture and gun ownership by law-abiding citizens is not the problem. A very few ignoramuses make the news and make the rest of us look bad and feed the fears and prejudices of those who would give our government more power than they ought to have. When the government takes away the right to be armed for self-defense, the crime rate goes up. Look at Chicago--they banned guns and just look at the shining example of their lack of crime. Lookie--no guns, no murder! What? Oh, that didn't work? Oh dear...

Then from the Washington Post:

Thirty-two years after enacting the nation's toughest restrictions on firearms ownership, the D.C. government suddenly faces a new reality, forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to draft regulations that will permit city residents to keep weapons, including handguns, readily available in their homes.

About damn time.