Guns

Oh no…here we go again. Some members of our state legislature are once again, not surprisingly, proposing new bills that would allow for additional gun ownership rights in the state of Arizona. What a perfect world it would be if everything in the Valley of the Sun was so rosy, with all of the state’s problems already solved, that the only discussion left to consider would be concerning gun issues. Unfortunately, that is not the case, so I wish our elected officials would show some common sense and concentrate on more important things instead. Thankfully, at least this time around allowing guns on our college campuses are not presently included in the mix. Last time several of our state representatives fought long and hard to pass a senseless bill, although it was eventually defeated, which included allowing guns on campus even though the majority of Arizona’s law enforcement agencies, including campus police, were adamantly opposed to the proposal.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to fire several shots from a handgun, during a citizen’s police academy class, and I admit I liked it. The experience was very exhilarating, and it gave me a glimpse into how one might be attracted to owning a firearm and participating in target shooting. Guns are fascinating to me, but I have no use for them. Maybe that’s because of an incident which happened long ago involving myself and an innocent bird. As a beautiful Robin sat on a telephone wire high up in the sky, happily chirping away and enjoying life, I took aim at it with my BB gun. Expecting to miss the target, like I had so many times before, I was shocked and then saddened as the bird fell from the sky and hit the ground with an awful sounding thud. At that moment I realized if my BB gun could do that much damage then what about a real gun especially with how potent they have become in the modern world. There is a substantial difference in the kind of weaponry used in the old western classics, commonly seen on the “boob tube,” compared to the array of powerful gun choices now normally seen in most of today’s action films. For better or for worse they’ve come a long way.

The truth as I know it is I am in favor of sane people, who have passed an extensive background check and have taken a gun safety course, owning as many guns as they would like. I also support enforcing all current gun laws, reinstating the ban on assault rifles, and reducing the number of ammunition allowed per gun clip. Many times I have heard the pro-gun argument that the main key to reducing crime is by arming as many of the “good guys” in our society as possible. However, the problem then becomes attempting to determine what constitutes a “good guy,” and what happens if the “good guy” one day becomes a “crazy” but is still armed. Another problem can arise when the “good guys” are firing at the “bad guys” in public and innocent people are caught in the crossfire.

Many gun owners routinely insist the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives them the right to protect themselves and their property, via firearms, and I would agree with that. I would disagree though with allowing those weapons in public places because that would then infringe on my right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” as found in the United States Declaration of Independence. How can I be happy with the fear of knowing I’m possibly surrounded by people with loaded guns when I’m innocently patronizing a store, restaurant, or bar? I believe the true intent of our forefathers, when crafting the Second Amendment, was to assure all Americans, both individually and collectively, the right to bear arms against an invasion from another country onto our Nation’s soil. Many additional things could be said on the topics of gun ownership and gun control, but I guess unlike some of our state representatives I have more important things to do with my time.

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