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Editor's column: Guns only scary when in the wrong hands

May 3, 2014

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. We’ve heard it a thousand times....

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(34)

Scout101

May-09-14 10:43 AM

Whether you believe it is possible or not to defend yourself against an out of control government using pistols, rifles & shotguns is irrelevant. That is why we have the second amendment. It was written at a very early time in our history when citizens understood that sometimes governments do go bad and a change needs to take place.

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Scout101

May-09-14 10:36 AM

Yes, those with a concealed carry permit should receive basic gun training. Gun safety, handling, laws and a very basic range familiarization. Most states do require some type of formal training. The purpose is not to train marksmen just to teach very basic skills. The intent when using a firearm for self defense is NOT to kill the attacker just stop the attack and ensure your safety.

AM it's good you are getting military/law enforcement input. 2 military units I was in worked closely with federal, state & local law enforcement. Not all but most other members were as pro-gun as I am. We did not define ourselves as frantic crackpots. Just regular people who did not want crackpot gun control fanatics telling us what we should own.

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AModerate

May-08-14 8:15 PM

When I said training I meant more than just the physical safety training or gun handling. Shooting another human being requires mental preparedness and emotional control as well. I know people with law enforcement and military training and they bear no resemblance to the frantic "they'll never take ma guns" crackpots. Scout, I assume you have been trained on how to hold off the out of control government with your weapons. If so, the delusional comment does not apply to you as you wouldn't be untrained.

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hartman75

May-08-14 10:41 AM

It didn’t take long for gun advocates to add hysteria and fear mongering to the discussion. First of all if you read closely, AM claimed only “untrained people who carry guns for "protection" are delusional”, NOT ALL who carry guns. BTW, AM is absolutely correct. It’s absurd to think we should allow individuals to carry and use a gun without mandating some form of training, especially if that gun is to be used for defensive purposes. The intent to kill another human being in self-defense is far different than going after game.

Then we get the claim that "mental health is the avenue to gun confiscation", which only proves how ignorant many people are on the issue of both guns and mental health.

Those who believe they would stand a chance trying to defend themselves from an “out of control government” with pistols, rifles or shotguns, are most definitely delusional.

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Scout101

May-07-14 8:41 PM

The writer of this article has bought into the liberal medias new definition of assault weapon. A true assault weapon is capable of fully automatic fire. The look a likes you see in your local sporting goods store are not assault weapons, these are semi auto only. Get your facts straight. People carry guns for protection delusional, from personal experience I can tell you that statement is total hogwash !

The second amendment is not about hunting or target shooting, it is about having the ability to defend yourself, primarily from an out of control government. All oppressive governments have used gun registration and control as one of their first steps to total control.

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ruffhouse

May-06-14 10:16 PM

Mental Health is the avenue to gun confiscation.. Media and politicians pushing gun control in a DISHONEST manner..

*******fff****/explore-freedom/article/who-is-mentally-ill/

American Psychiatric Asso: Half of Americans are mentally ill..

***********wnd****/2013/06/american-psychiatric-association-half-of-americans-mentally-ill/

300,000,000 prescriptions for psychiatric drugs written in 2009 alone..

where would the gun grabbers begin their confiscation - the list would be endless..

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Wharog

May-06-14 3:33 PM

I agree that a firearm is a tool. I tend to disagree with your view that carrying a firearm for self defense is "delusional". I'm certainly thankful that I live in a fairly low-crime area like Marshall and I don't personally feel the need to carry here. If I lived in a large city I certainly would, however. When it comes to protecting my life and my family I have much more confidence in my abilities to protect myself with a firearm than the alternative of dialing 911 and waiting. On top of that police are not legally obligated to protect people. There are varying degrees of police coverage and thus varying response times. In some areas in some cities the police just don't even care anymore. Additionally it's a pretty common misconception that police are experts when it comes to handling firearms. Some are, no doubt. Many others only fire enough rounds to get qualified and stay qualified (if there even is a qualification requirement). It doesn't amount to much in m

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AModerate

May-06-14 2:34 PM

I view my gun like my chainsaw, loud, obnoxious and dangerous, but a useful tool to do certain things I like so I guess I’d be considered pro-gun. However, I think untrained people who carry guns for "protection" are delusional. Law enforcement goes through a great deal of training to remain calm when using a gun for protection. Most civilians, myself included, would be so amped up if the need to use a gun on another human came up, that anything could happen. Tempers and deadly weapons are not a good mix. You never know how you'd react in a situation unless you've been trained.

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Wharog

May-06-14 1:19 PM

All that being said (reading backwards from my post "I've got a lot of ideas on how to improve the situation"), most everyone probably wants the same results: less death. I know I do. However, I feel like folks at both ends of the political spectrum need to be realistic about the means of getting there. More regulations on law abiding citizens does not stop crime, it just creates more criminals. Conversely locking people up because they are poor, sick, or the "wrong" color doesn't stop crime, it just creates hardened criminals. Everyone needs to take most of the emotion out of the equation and look at things with logic and compassion. Guns are not the problem. Sometimes people aren't even the problem. Our society and our often blatant disregard for human life is.

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Wharog

May-06-14 1:14 PM

Beyond that another good start would be to prosecute things that are already illegal: like trying to purchase a firearm as a prohibited individual. If someone is trying to purchase a firearm and hard-fails their NICS check (ie because they are a convicted felon or seriously mentally ill, not because of a soft-match for name that requires some sorting out) local law enforcement should be notified. There should be an investigation into the attempted purchaser, and there should be convictions. Same goes for straw purchases. Unfortunately people attempt to purchase illegally, get turned down, and nothing bad happens to them. Likewise for prohibited individuals found to be illegally in possession of a firearm. Toss the book at them, especially if they are repeat offenders. That's the sort of people who should be rotting in a federal prison system.

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Wharog

May-06-14 1:09 PM

Mental health deserves a place when discussing NICS also. It's a tough thing to figure out for sure, because you need to break down the stigma of seeking help for mental health issues so that less people go off the deep end without stomping on the rights of citizens who have pretty minor, treatable, and utterly non-violent issues. I do certainly think that mental health professionals who are working with clearly violent individuals ought to quickly and easily report to the NICS system to prohibit purchase. I also think there should be a judicial review process available so that people are not stripped of rights unjustly.

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Wharog

May-06-14 1:05 PM

Certainly the NICS system could be improved, primarily by dedicating some funding to local law enforcement and courts to get their data in the system faster. Maybe they could spend a little less on SWAT teams and armored vehicles since the War on Drugs is gone, right?

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Wharog

May-06-14 1:03 PM

Part of the problem is that if I want to privately sell someone a firearm, I cannot obtain a NICS check on that person. There's no system in place for this, but there certainly should be. As a gun nut it's highly unlikely that I ever would sell a firearm I own, but as a law abiding citizen if I did I certainly would like to make sure that I'm not selling to a felon. The ATF is within their powers to create a secure system where individuals could verify that a buyer is not prohibited. It needn't be mandated as every responsible firearms owner would use it voluntarily because we don't want to be known as people who sell guns to criminals. This change alone would make it so that ~99% of legit firearms sales have a NICS.

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:59 PM

In person transfers of firearms from an individual to an individual from the same state are legal, and they ought to be. I shouldn't need to get the government involved if my dad wants to give me his old over/under shotgun. This sort of private sale can even happen at gun shows (aka the loophole), despite the fact that close to 90% of the merchants at gun shows being FFL holders (NICS required).

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:56 PM

And while you're working on cleaning up the inner cities and other depressed areas (because it's going to take generations to accomplish any progress) let's improve the background checks to purchase a firearm. Yep, a fervent 2a support just said he wants to improve background checks! 1st though we need to be clear about how background checks work today. If you want to buy a gun at a gun store, you will need to go through a federal background check (NICS run by the FBI/ATF) by filling out a form 4473. No NICS, no gun. Wanna buy a gun online? It has to be shipped to a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder aka gun store, and you need a NICS check. The exception to that is if its an individual to individual sale for 2 citizens of the same state meeting in person (no shipping).

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:52 PM

So wouldn't it make more sense to try and attack the bulk (80%) of the problem first? How about start by ending the "War on Drugs" and releasing non-violent drug offenders from prisons and putting them in treatment. They're sick. They need doctors, not prison guards. This frees up room in our ridiculously overcrowded prison system for violent offenders. Let's try keeping these rapists, murderers, and other violent people locked up for the duration of their sentence instead of giving them early release so we can cram more potheads behind bars. While we're at it lets go back to education and work to improve the schools in the inner city. Let's work on making sure everyone in this country has food, clothing, and shelter so they don't feel like they need to steal and sell drugs to survive..regardless of the color of their skin or the place they live. Desperate people with no hope are easily steered down the wrong path.

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:47 PM

And realistically it an outright firearm ban won't happen in yours or my lifetime in the US. Even with bans (in other countries) criminals still manage to get firearms. Heck, even prison inmates manage to get/make firearms from time to time. Unfortunately most gun control laws to date, and recently proposed would only potentially have an impact on about 20% of firearms homicides. That's because approximately 80% of all firearms homicides are gang/drug related.

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:32 PM

And why are handguns used in so many homicides? Because they are cheap, readily available, and easy to conceal by their very nature. The very same qualities that make them attractive to criminals also make them viable for self defense. If you think self defense is an outdated concept, well you probably live in rural MN instead of in a populated area. Banning handguns probably seems like a good idea to some folks, but even anti-gun politicians like Diane Feinstein know that trying to outright ban handguns is career suicide. The voters wouldn't stand for not being able to defend themselves, especially the growing population of women who carry.

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:26 PM

And while realizing that violence itself is the problem, it is fair to say that handguns used in conjunction with that violence is the most prevalent problem facing our nation. According to the FBI, rifles as a whole were used in less than 3% of all murders from 2007 to 2011 and less than 4% of all firearms related homicides. That 3% includes "assault weapons", which are likely less than half of that. By contrast fists and kicks account for 5% of deaths in the same period. Stop trying to scare the population into thinking that scary black rifles are the problem. Banning closed fists would literally result in less deaths per year, and be equally as ridiculous of a piece of legislation.

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:19 PM

Education part2: I'm also fine with a reasonable education requirement for purchasing or carrying a handgun. All murders are a problem, but handguns are absolutely used in more firearms related deaths than all types of rifles and shotguns combined. I'm also fine with a handgun permit requirement to purchase/carry, so long as it is a shall-issue permit like in MN, not a restrictive, unobtainable permit like NJ or MD. MN requires an instructor led class to get a permit to carry. That's fine. Make it national and with reciprocity.

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:16 PM

1st, I agree that education is critical, but I wouldn't just educate gun owners. Firearms are a national tradition, whether you personally like it or not. Every citizen should know how firearms operate and how to be safe with them. Children should know what a firearm looks like, and if they find one they should know to Stop, don't touch, leave the area, and find an adult. The NRA developed the Eddy Eagle GunSafe program to teach children to be safe, but if you're not OK with an NRA program teaching kids, I'm fine with local law enforcement doing something very similar. A flyer with information on safe storage of firearms should go home with children. This would go a long ways towards preventing accidental deaths with firearms.

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Wharog

May-06-14 12:06 PM

I've got a lot of ideas on how to improve the situation without the fear mongering that gun control groups are using and also without introducing registration, which does lead to confiscation. Fitting it all into 1000 characters will not work, so I'll try to break it down into multiple posts.

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hartman75

May-05-14 6:15 PM

The regulations I noted in my comments do not punish law-abiding gun owners. A regulation designed to educate gun buyers on safety issues related to practicing proper procedures when using, transporting, and storing their firearms would reduce incidents of accidental shootings. The remaining regulations are designed to reduce illicit gun trafficking. There is no single law that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals but enhanced regulation would make it more difficult for criminals to obtain guns. What proactive laws do you suggest would reduce the risk of criminals buying or stealing guns?

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Wharog

May-05-14 3:35 PM

Hartman: Pervasive wisdom would be to realize that criminals do not obey laws. Criminals, by their very nature, are not going to obtain police permits, submit to background checks, obey waiting periods, take classes, or register guns. Instead they'll steal a gun, borrow a gun, or buy a gun from somebody's trunk. Even in countries where personal ownership of firearms is all but banned criminals still have access to firearms. All of the "solutions" you prescribed will not stop a single criminal from obtaining a firearm, but they definitely will infringe upon the Constitutional rights of citizens who do obey laws.

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hartman75

May-05-14 3:09 PM

A pervasive lack of wisdom continues to perpetuate the irrational fear background checks or sensible restrictions impinge gun ownership rights. We hear plenty of straw man arguments that falsely assert gun restrictions devalue gun rights and allege fewer restrictions are necessary to prevent violence and enhance personal safety. It’s a lie. The gun lobby has done a masterful job of promoting the sale of gun related merchandise by deceiving the public and thwarting reasonable regulation by intimidating members of Congress. The majority of Americans do NOT want to ban guns. The majority of Americans DO want gun buyers to: obtain police permits before purchasing a gun; submit to background checks on ALL gun sales; consent to 5-day waiting periods; take gun safety courses; adopt mandatory gun registration. The fact is, a majority of Americans support laws making it more difficult for criminals to obtain guns even if it makes it harder for law-abiding citizens to acquire guns.

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