Yet another reason to tighten gun laws

This is a good example of why I advocate much stricter gun laws in this country. A reporter is pursuing a story. A man suddenly confronts her and, whether to threaten her or bolster his own courage, gets a gun from his car and approaches her.

As far as I’m concerned, incidents like this negate the gun lobby’s contention that licensed gun owners have been carefully screened and trained to handle guns responsibly. Licensed or not, this guy was not behaving responsibly. He was not using his gun in self-defense or in defense of others, but simply to intimidate someone. And there are thousands of Americans just like him.

In another recent incident, in Florida, self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Had Zimmerman not been carrying a gun, Martin would be alive today. Another example of someone who might have been carrying a gun legally but in a moment of fear, rage, or impulse, used it irresponsibly.

Cherry picking? Two isolated, atypical incidents? I contend they are no more isolated than those cases cited by the gun lobby where an armed citizen pulls a gun, stops a robbery or shoots a crazed gunman, and saves the day.

There’s no way to predict if or when an individual will become angry, scared, drunk, high, or simply impulsive and in an unthinking moment, reach for the nearest way to make a point. When that way is a gun, tragedies can and do result. Licenses are just pieces of paper, not guarantees against human emotion. Impulse and emotion are transient; death is very, very permanent.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When the problem is too many guns in our society, the solution is not more guns.

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Categories: Election 2012, guns, Law, Society, video content

28 replies

  1. Oh, wow! I would have messed my knickers if that happened to me. Reporter is like, “We’ll go, we’ll go…”
    You know, I used to be so adamant that the vast majority of legal gun owners are not the problem – it’s the illegal gun owners. After all, I came from a home with responsible gun owners and there was never a problem. However, especially after Zimmerman/Trayvon, my opinion is changing. But then I have to wonder what will happen if guns become illegal entirely in the US? Guns will still be here, and more so in the hands criminals. Then the law abiding person becomes a greater chance of being a victim. I just don’t see a good “out” for guns in this country.

    • I, too, grew up with guns (rifles and shotguns). I was given a .22 rifle for my 12th birthday. I would never advocate making guns entirely illegal. Guns for hunting and sport shooting are fine (although there’s no need for people to have assault-style fully automatic weapons). It’s the proliferation of hand guns and “carry” laws that really concerns me — people carrying handguns for no good reason except that they can. Handguns have only one purpose — to kill people — and few average citizens have a legitimate need to walk around every day with the means to kill someone else. This is not the Old West, yet it seems we are steadily reverting to that mentality.

      • Yeah, I agree. I’m not for making guns illegal either. Plus, like I mentioned, it wouldn’t stop the illegal gun trade anyway. I do agree with you that hunting is fine – I love venison and elk and rabbit, etc. I’ve been to a target range. I think you’re right, though, about the carry laws. So many people are too stressed out and just loose their cool. Literally have momentary lapses of sanity, and out pops the gun. Bam.

  2. I agree, PT, that these are not isolated incidents but rather symptoms of the larger problem. There is no delete or escape key to punch after pulling the trigger and the number of wrongful shootings is likely to rise in proportion to stress in society. There has always been stress, but I can’t help thinking it’s getting worse. Maybe it’s because of:

    Unstable gasoline prices.
    Unstable job security.
    Shrinking number of traditional marriages.
    Rising medical costs and shrinking medical insurance coverage.
    Underwater mortgages.
    TSA
    Pink Slime in our hamburger.
    Spread of state-condoned/sponsored gambling.
    Form 1040.
    College loan debt (now greater than all credit-card debt)
    Negative political campaigning.

  3. We must be sharing a brain today.

  4. As usual, I don’t see the problem here unless there’s something we didn’t see on that short video. Was the gun bearer on his property, or on property for which he has some kind of custodial arrangement? If not, then he had no right to do anything to try to get the reporters to leave. As it was, he never pointed the gun at them and from what I could see, I don’t believe he even touched the trigger. If, on the other hand, the reporters were trespassing on property for which the gun bearer was responsible, then everybody reacted logically and reasonably.

    • The gun owner was only a friend (no official capacity) of the home owner, and everyone was in the street at the time of the confrontation. You honestly don’t think there was an implied threat here!? How can angry words and a brandished gun not be threatening? The reporter filed charges; I would have too. According to the reporter’s full report, below, the man has been charged with aggravated assault, a Class D felony.

      • Certainly there was a threat – and not just implied, but a real threat. But with the information you provided about the gun wielder not having any custodial authority, it wasn’t justified. Trespassing however is also illegal.

        • With all due respect, I think you’re trying too hard to find a justification for the gun.

          • Not at all. If you’re called upon to defend yourself or your property, you ought to choose whatever method you think will be both effective and safe. If you believe you’d prevail in hand to hand combat with a home invader or trespasser of some sort, then by all means go for it. I’m too old and slow for that to work.

            • Against a home invader already in your home or actively breaking in, if you fear for your life, okay. Anywhere else, withdraw and call the police. Trespassing and theft are not capital offenses and a gun owner is not judge and jury.

            • I think we can all agree that the chances of any of us being in the situation where it’s necessary to pull a gun on a news crew standing on public ground outside a friends’ home but nowhere near our home are actually fairly slim, but I’m sure having a gun in the truck just in case we happen on such a scene would make some of us more comfortable in our day-to-day affairs. Because you just never know when you’re going to happen on a news crew standing on public ground outside a friends’ home but nowhere near our own home and, boy, when that moment finally happens, you’ll feel better having that gun in your truck so you can defend… something.

              This is a video about how stuff actually never happens to us, but we still live with fear.

            • This would be funny if it weren’t so true. What a shame other people can see this, yet apparently most Americans can’t. Of course, I only draw that conclusion based on what I see in the o-so-objective news. Turn off the TV and it’s a pretty boring life I lead. Maybe I should go buy a gun so I can confront people who knock on my neighbors’ doors. I could be the neighborhood watchlady since I’m the only adult around here during the day. After all, somebody needs to be keeping an eye on all the suspicious characters who walk by on the public sidewalk ….

  5. I don’t own a gun and hope I never feel the need to own one, but I’m not about to jump on any “no guns for anyone” bandwagon. On the other hand, we obviously need a more rational method of dealing with their misuse, as this situation is beginning to be as crazy as the old SNL skit where everyone’s walking around with a nuke strapped to their backs! 😕

    • Nuclear proliferation and the arms race during the Cold War. That’s exactly what I think of with the current gun situation in America. It’s turning into an arms race complete with proliferation and escalation — trying to fight a gun problem with more guns in more places. I don’t know where the current race will end, but it’s got to stop. It’s the same insane M.A.D.

  6. According to Wikipedia, Canada ranks 13th in the world for gun ownership. Most guns available for sale in the United States are available, with the proper licence, in Canada. Automatic weapons are banned. Handguns are the next most regulated, but a handgun with a barrel longer than 4.5 inches is legal with a licence. My uncle owns twelve rifles and shotguns.

    According to Statistics Canada, “a firearm was used against 2.4% of all victims [of violent crime in Canada]” and “[handguns account for] two-thirds of all firearm-related violent crimes each year since 1998.”

    In all of Canada “there were 190 homicides committed with a firearm in 2006, accounting for 31% of the total number of homicides.”

    “The number of homicides committed with a rifle/shotgun fell from 183 victims in 1975 to 36 victims in 2006, representing an 86% decrease…”

    “In 2006, Canada’s firearm-related homicide rate (0.58) was nearly six times lower than the United States (3.40), but about three times higher than the rate in Australia (0.22) and six times higher than the rate in England and Wales (0.10). Firearms accounted for about one-third (31%) of all homicides in Canada, approximately two-thirds (68%) in the U.S., 16% in Australia and 7% in England and Wales.”

    Statistics Canada: Firearms and Violent Crime
    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008002/article/10518-eng.htm

    I think it would also be pertinent to point out that, in Canada, political lobbying is tightly regulated. For example, a Canadian politican can only join a registered (and they all must be registered) lobby group after being out of power for five years.

    Canadian politicians, and their staff, must also make public any and all meetings with lobby groups. So, no secret NRA funded golf tournaments, like the ones that got Florida its “Stand Your Ground” laws.

    Unless the dumbass in the video was protecting himself, or others, as soon as that idiot woke up that morning and decided to carry his handgun openly, he could be arrested and charged under the Firearms Act. But, really, the law and punishment here seems similar to what he was charged with anyway.

    Dept. of Justice Canada: Authorizations to Carry Restricted Firearms and Certain Handguns Regulations
    http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-98-207/index.html

    • My concern about the U.S. is, now that we’ve let the genie (or guns) out of the bottle … can we ever get them back in? I really don’t know, but I’m deeply worried. Nor do I know how we can regain control of our government from the special interests that are corrurpting it. Maybe I just watch too much TV …

      • I’m afraid that there are some things that you just can’t unsee PT. And now that your peepers are working so much better, those mental images will be crystal clear! 😆

      • Thing is, I don’t think the genie matters. Gun ownership isn’t the problem, neither is the number of guns someone owns. Canadians own guns, the Swiss own a crazy amount of guns, we just don’t use them to kill people with… in large numbers. It’s laws like ‘open carry’ and ‘stand your ground’ and letting people walk into bars carrying guns on their belts. It’s the insanity that surrounds gun ownership, and those laws can be changed. You start with getting the lobbyists under control and go from there.

        As a Canuck I can defend myself, in my home, using a gun. As long as it’s a reasonable use of force. But I can’t take that gun over to my neighbour’s house and shoot the people breaking into their garage. And if someone trespasses (walks) on my property I have the right to yell, take photos, call the police and generally harass them until they leave. But I don’t have the right to pull a gun out and threaten them with violence, even implied violence, when all they have is a notepad and a camera.

        I think you have reason to worry. The two most sacred political ‘cows’ in the United States at the moment are de-legislating weapons (basically making it illegal to legislate limitations) — and, depending on the State, near impunity in using them — and ‘corporations are people’. And both are crazy.

Trackbacks

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