What does it take to maintain a proper and orderly society? This question is not easily answered. There are numerous statements that can answer that question. One answer that some people may use is “Gun Control: Securing the use, sale and purchase of firearms in a society so that the murder and violence rates decrease.” There are different extremes of the gun control issue. There are those who say that ALL firearms should be registered by ALL owners or that ALL firearms, except those used by law enforcement, should be taken away. Then, the other extreme, says that no one, or nothing should be able to control the purchase, sale or use of firearms. There is a middle-ground that supports both sides of the argument. That middle-ground says something to the effect of: Control the distribution of firearms to those who are trained and disciplined in the proper use, maintenance and security of firearms. Gun control does, in fact, need to happen, but there is not an easy way about it in order to please both sides of the argument.
Owning a firearm comes with a great responsibility. There are numerous different aspects of owning firearms that the average citizen might not be aware of. One responsibility that is the most important, respecting your firearm. Respect of a firearm means knowing where it is at all times. When you are not using it or carrying it, it should be locked up in a safe, secure place. Typically, the ammunition should be kept in a different location especially if there are children in the house. Respecting your firearm also means that you should always treat it as if it were loaded. Whether you know it is loaded or not, it should always be treated as if it were. Writer Dean Speir wrote on www.TheGunZone.com, the four basic, but most important rules of gun ownership and usage: All guns are always loaded (Treat all guns as if they are loaded) Never let the muzzle (barrell) cover anything you are not willing to destroy Keep your finger off of the trigger until your sights are on the target Always be sure of your target [and what is beyond it] (http://www.thegunzone.com/therules.html)
If these four rules were followed by all gun owners, the amount of “accidental” shootings and shooting injuries would decrease drastically. Unfortunately, there are too many people that own firearms that do not and will not follow any basic expectations or responsibilities of gun ownership.
Another responsibility of owning a firearm is proper training on how to use it and how to clean it, which go hand-in-hand. Any sporting goods store that sells hunting equipment will have brochures available for firearm safety classes. Most states do not require a permit to purchase firearms, but they do require a permit to carry a concealed firearm (http://www.statemaster.com/graph/gov_gun_law_per-government-gun-laws-permits). The training class that companies offer usually cover the basics of using a firearm. The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) promotes and offers firearm safety courses (http://homestudy.ihea.com/firearmsafety/index.htm). A few of the topics that this course covers are Hunter Education, Firearm Safety, Ammunition, and Hunter Responsibility. These courses are encouraged because they show you the proper way to handle and shoot a firearm. They show you the basics on how a firearm operates and what is required of you as a safe gun owner and operator. If all gun owners could take one of these courses, then, everyone who has a firearm would be educated on the proper use and handling of their firearm.
If some of the people who oppose gun ownership would take one of these firearm-safety classes, then they might see that not all gun owners are the same. They might see that most people actually do know how to properly store and maintain their weapons. With proper storage and maintenance of firearms, there is no chance that an accident can happen. Firearm accidents happen when people are not either used to handling a firearm, or people are careless with their firearms. There are people who become opposed to gun ownership after hearing about or reading about an accidental discharge of a firearm and that having a gun is dangerous. In my mind, there is no such thing as an “accidental discharge.” A gun, by itself is not any more dangerous than a bed sheet. A gun in the hands of someone who is untrained or uneducated is dangerous. An example of two different violations of responsibility is if a child in the house gets a hold of the firearm. When a child gets a hold of a firearm, one, the owner was not responsible in keeping it locked up and safe, and two, the child is more than likely not properly educated on the use and function and safety of the firearm. A firearm is also dangerous in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, but has bad intent on how they are going to use it.
There are different degrees of gun control. All responsible gun owners support some sort of gun control, and gun control means different things to different people. Some people see gun control as completely limiting the use and distribution of firearms. Others see it as simply being aware of the firearm and knowing that it is there. No matter what side of the issue you are on, there will always be someone who will not see your point. There comes a point in an argument that the differing sides need to find a common ground. Certain points and arguments will never find a meeting point. This is when the two sides should show a mutual respect for each other and basically agree to disagree. The pro-gunners will always find different points to state why they want and/or need their firearms. And the anti-gunners will do the same. They will find something to show why firearms are not necessary.
Firearms are a necessary part of our society today. Not only for the Police, but for private citizens. One reason that firearms should be allowed and/or carried, is the Second Amendment right given to the people of the United States by the government: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/billofrights#amendmentii) This states that citizens have the right to own and have firearms in their possession. This being a right, states that that value should not be infringed upon except in the event that it could or would endanger other people.
In order to show those who might be opposed to owning a firearm might find the following quote from L.Neil Smith interesting: “The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her panty hose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.” (http://www.catb.org/~esr/fortunes/rkba.html) There are numerous personal reasons why firearms should be not only allowed but carried. The above quote is only one example. Another example is to protect you, your family and your possessions. What would happen if someone came into your house with a gun and demanded that you give over your valuables? You do not have a gun in the house and you want to make sure that you or your family are not injured. So you give the robber what he asks for. On the other hand, the same scenario happens, but you have your gun on you. You notice that someone is breaking into your house. You aim your gun at the person as they are coming into your house. Once they see the gun pointed at them, they are probably going to do one of two things: stop immediately what they are doing and remain motionless, or stop what they are doing, turn around and run away. If they decide to keep going into your house and still attempt to steal your belongings and potentially harm you or your family, then you can rely on the Make My Day Law. According to www.jargondatabase.com, the Make My Day Law is a “law stating that it is legal to defend person and property against a perceived threat.” Donald Brenner, an attorney writing for CriminalLawyerMetroDenver.com states about the Make My Day Law “Any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.” Basically, if you feel that there is any danger that you, your family or your personal belongings might be in, you are covered by the law to use “...any physical force, no matter how slight...” (www.CriminalLawyerMetroDenver.com) as long as you can prove that you felt as though there was a threat of danger.
If there was a way to convince everyone that gun control can have a common ground, there would be much less debate and arguments. If there was a way to show the anti-firearm crowd that a gun by itself is not dangerous, there would be much less debate and arguments. If there was a way that everyone could learn the proper way to own, maintain, shoot and clean a gun, there would be much less debate and arguments. One way that both sides can agree on the point is if they found a common ground. One common ground that both can agree on is that Government needs to do more in order to keep firearms out of the hands of those who do not use them for a good reason. Good reasons include, law enforcement, personal and educated use, personal protection and hunting. If those people continue to keep and use their weapons as they are now, and use them with great responsibility and discretion, they might be able to show others that it is not a bad thing to have a firearm. Also, if the people who have the firearms are willing to show those who are against firearms how to properly use, store, maintain and handle them, then they might gain a new respect first for the firearm and second for the people who are fighting for everyone to be able to keep their constitutional rights.
Brenner, D. (2-12-2010). What is the Make My Day Law. In Ask a Denver Criminal Lawyer. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://criminallawyermetrodenver.com/ask-a-denver-lawyer/tag/make-my-day-law/ Faria Jr., M. (May 3, 2001). The AMA, Ethics and Gun Control. In NewsMax. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/5/3/23021.shtml Madison, J. (n.d.). The Bill of Rights. In Legal Information Institute. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/billofrights#amendmentii. (No Author Listed). (2002). Firearm Safety. In International Hunter Education Association. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://homestudy.ihea.com/firearmsafety/index.htm (No Author Listed). (2003). Government Statistics>GunLaws>Permits. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://www.statemaster.com/graph/gov_gun_law_per-government-gun-laws-permits Speir, D. (n.d.). The Rules. In The Gun Zone. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://www.thegunzone.com/therules.html.