Guns in the house! Guns in the House!

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     Greetings and Salutations!
     Boy, time flies….I am apologetic for the slow updates,  but, between struggling with some health issues,  and, my CDO need to make sure that every post on Facebook is truthful,   There are only so many minutes in the day.
     I am sorry to record here that America appears to be at a social cusp,  where the two major issues of Bigotry, and Gun Control are causing much stress and strain.   I cannot deal with the first issue here,  as that is a HUGE topic.   However,  I am motivated to write a bit on the latter  issue….  recently a new  study was published examining the issue of carrying a gun for “personal protection”.    the link to the story is HERE.  I have to say that it seems to me to be a relatively even handed and objective bit of research.   The fact that I pretty much agree with its findings has little to do with my review, though!   I find it interesting that one of its conclusions is that it is far safer to attempt to escape from the situation than to meet an attacker with a gun or other weapon.   This is a lesson that ALL Martial Artists learn early on in their delving into the dicipline.   The goal that is installed in them is “do the minimum amount to allow one to escape…then leave, as quickly as possible”     I also find it interesting that there appears to be no significant difference in success, no matter what weapon is used.  Whether it is a gun, or a baseball bat, or a knife,   the success results are all very close to each other..    There are also some other interesting, earlier reports and reviews linked to from the above report.  I recommend reading them too.   Not to digress too far, but I have some observations  about these other studies and  reports that I wanted to touch on.  Most of my remarks are somewhat critical of the reports…as I do not agree with their techniques entirely.
  • The studies referenced  focus on incidents where a gun was involved in conflict.   They are less useful I believe, for setting policy, because they ignore the far larger number of guns owned by Citizens that are NEVER raised in anger or fear.   So…in short,  they are looking at ONE facet of the issue of gun ownership in America.
  • In some of the subsidiary studies (and the reviews by the authors of those reports),  we are presented with some horrific anecdotes about gun owners who injured or killed totally innocent people because they felt threatened, somehow.    To me, each one of these tales, as well as  the recent spate of kids killing others with guns they found in their parent’s house,  all show a serious lack of focus on education in America’s gun control laws.  Later on, I will address this a bit more.
  • I am concerned that the anti-gun folks out there will attempt to use this report to “prove” that guns are a scourge that should be taken out of the hands of Citizens, and only issued to “legal authorities”.   Now, I have spoken about how well prohibition has worked in America, so I will just refer y’all to the 18th and 21st Amendments as apt reminders of that “success”.   Another example, of course,   would be the  War On Drugs in America
     I am quite willing to admit that Americans have a “Gun Problem”.   However,  I disagree with what that problem is, and how to correct it.   Because I am tickled by bullet lists (in this context),  I am going to do it again!
  • I respect and agree 100% with the Constitution, and, of course, the 2d Amendment.   I also agree with the recent SCOTUS ruling that found that the 2d Amendment DID allow Americans to purchase (almost) any weaponry they want to have.    Who would I remove that ability from?    Not a complicated issue….Pretty much anyone that has proven, by multiple actions, that they are a danger to society and themselves if they are allowed to have a weapon.   This would include Violent felons convicted of multiple crimes,  including LEOs,  and folks that have shown that they do not have the mental capacity to handle a weapon safely.   What weapons would I keep from the public?    That is a little harder to answer, but, for the moment, I am going to go with guns that fire 100mm shells or larger,  weapons of mass destruction, etc.
  • Since (so far) most Americans do not fall into either of the  categories of violent felon, or psychologically unstable,  I asked myself what would I propose  as a way to allow Citizens the freedom allowed by the Constitution, and yet, cut down on the likelihood of terrible accidents and emotion-fueled killings and woundings?   I came up with the following….
  • Create a Federal “Driver’s License” program for gun ownership.  This would, I believe, make a huge difference in the way guns are owned and used in the USA.  Now…how would this work.   Here is what I have come up with:
  • I would create a program based on the model of the Driver’s License.   This would ensure that people who own a weapon have a significant level of training in its proper use.   It would also, I believe,  filter out many of the “impulse purchases”  based on fear or lies,  that tend to produce any of the unhappy stories listed in the media, and these studies.
  • This program would require anyone interested in purchasing a weapon to go to an authorized agency, and receive a significant amount of training in the proper use, transport and storage of a weapon.   Like a DL,  this would include both written tests demonstrating knowledge of proper techniques, and range time to ensure that the person would have some actual experience in what shooting a gun entails.   I would NOT require that the applicant purchase or have a weapon.  As a part of the course,   the agency could provide several calibers of weapons to use.
  • I can see the course taking anywhere from 15 to 20 hours, if we want to do a thorough job.   The written exam should include the basics of using a weapon – in no particular order,  Treat every gun as loaded; Identify your target clearly;  Always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction;  keep the weapon clean;   do not keep the weapon loaded and ready to fire…etc.   The range work would involve shooting at a variety of targets with at least four different weapons.   I would suggest a .22 handgun and a larger handgun – .357/.45,  etc;   Then,  move to a rifle.   This could just be a larger caliber, or perhaps, as with the handguns,  a couple of calibers.   Finally,  a shotgun.    In a really good program,   I could even see a walk-through type arena, with flip-out targets, to give the potential owner a real feel for the sort of quick decision making necessary.
  • The cost of the license should be around that of a DL,  and, should be good for a number of years – say…five years or so..
  • Also, as a part of this certification procedure,   the state would provide a complete background check of the person requesting the license.
  • I see a number of benefits to this plan.
  • This would, as mentioned earlier,  ensure that everyone getting a weapon would have some serious training on how to use it, and the effects it can have on a target.
  • It could be used to simplify the background check for a gun purchase.   A photo ID showing that the person has knowledge, and a number that can be looked up would remove a lot of complications.
  • It would make it difficult for anyone to know what weaponry the holder had.   As with a DL,  it would be quite OK for a citizen to walk in without owning a single weapon, and perhaps even with NO intent of owning a weapon,  and get some good information on the reality of gun ownership.   Other than a record of background checks that would accumulate,  there would be no count of what weapons had been purchased, without some intervention by the courts.  Issuing a search warrent should be the FIRST thing that happens before this information can be gathered.
  • without a license,  legally purchasing a gun MIGHT be possible, but it could be made a more lengthy and difficult process…perhaps even requiring that the purchaser bring in documentation to prove they have the appropriate training for their desired weapon, and would require a longer waiting period, while a background check is run by the state.
     I mentioned before that  we have seen some pretty sad stories of kids finding a weapon, playing with it, and wounding or killing another person.   We also have a number of examples of home owners who have “defended their property”  and have mistakenly killed an innocent person.   Shooting a person and taking their life is neither a joke nor a trivial event.  Although we see it hundreds of times every day on television shows,   the fact of the matter is that every time a person kills another living being (whether human or animal)  it affects our soul.  We need to be VERY attentive to that fact and NOT casually injury or kill another..    Anything that we can do to minimize that karmic burden is a Good Thing.
     Now…let me recount a tale from my past about this business of purchasing a gun for “personal protection”.    Some years ago (more than I care to think about),  I had a friend, whose mother’s house was broken into while she was away for the day.   She came back to find the door broken open and various items gone.   I suspected at the time it was a junkie,  because the things that were taken were items that could be pawned easily – Television,  some other small  electronics,  some jewelry,  etc.    Well,  Mom was really upset by this, as she is a very nice woman, and found it difficult  imagine this sort of thing happening.   It did not help at all when the cops interviewing her said that she likely got back within moments of the thief leaving the house!
     I was out at their house a bit after this,  visiting, and so got to hear the whole tale.  Also, it turned out that Mom was so rattled about the event and the fact she might have confronted the thieves, that she and I talked for some time about buying a gun for “self protection”.    She knew that I was fairly familiar with gun use, and went to the range off and on.  (yes…I suppose at the time, I could be qualified as an actul “gun nut”.)   In any case,   she wanted to run out that day and pick up a pistol.   I put the brakes on that, though,  and told her that while I totally supported her desire to own a gun,  I would only help out if she would play by my rules.   She was interested,  so, I went on to say that first off,  we were going to schedule a day where we could go out to the home range a friend of mine had,  so she could actually hold, and fire a variety of weapons.   She had, of course, never held or fired a weapon in her life!    Then, she and I would go through (essentially) the training program I mentioned above.   As a part of the range time, I was going to set up some watermelons and cantelopes,  so she could see exactly how much power the bullet had.
…..She and I went on to talk about the issues involved in shooting another person, and whether or not she could, when push came to shove, point that weapon and pull the trigger.    Just as an example,  I had her make a gun with her hand,  cock her thumb back,  and point it at my chest.   After emphasizing that she was to think of her hand as a real gun and believe that as strongly as possible.  I said “Ok…now pull the trigger three times and try to hit the center of my chest”.   That was a sobering moment for her, as even though it was just her hand, she could not do it.  Well,  we never went to the range,  but did pretty much decide that the next time she drove up to the house and thought it looked off -door open, etc – she would call the cops BEFORE going inside.
     To reach back to my comments about the tragic stories listed in these reports,   In every case that I have seen reported,   the person that owned  the gun had broken at least two or three of the basic rules of firearms safety.   They had stored their guns insecurely;  The gun was left in an unsafe condition (ready to fire with a round in the chamber);   They had failed to identify their target properly;  They had decided that an attack was better than retreat.     These folks have to live with the knowledge that they took a life that did not deserve to go,  and in the process damaged themselves and the friends and family of their victim(s).   That is a heavy burden, even if one wishes to ignore it.
      thanks for your time and attention….Comments are welcome, of course!
     Bee Man Dave.
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