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Rhys898
08-05-2007, 10:04 AM
http://www.journalinquirer.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18660461&BRD=985&PAG=461&dept_id=551415&rfi=6

08/03/2007
Time to admit the 'gun nuts' are right
By Keith C. Burris

In the aftermath of the Petit family slayings in Cheshire, we all reached for explanations: How do human beings sink this low? How could this tragedy have been prevented? Why?
There are so many nagging questions. They all need to be asked. And maybe some old arguments need to be hashed out again.

Why not a more stringent "three strikes and you're out" law in this state? Connecticut's version is so weak that it's more like "30 strikes and we'll think about it while you strike again."

Why not speed up the criminal trial process for repeat violent offenders? Get them off the streets. It's been proposed many times. Most people agree it should be done. It never happens.

Can't we better monitor the probation process?

Can't we do a better job of predicting -- figuring out which non-violent criminals are about to turn violent?

Are home alarms really effective?

How about dogs?

But somehow all of these ideas pale before the barbarity of this particular crime.

That is why one old question is worth asking again. It is this: What if the Second Amendment is for real? Is it possible that it should it be revered, just like the First Amendment?

Sam Ervin said, "The Constitution should be taken like mountain whiskey -- undiluted and untaxed." Maybe that applies to all of the Constitution.

Is it possible that the Second Amendment is not a quaint and antiquated remnant of a world that will never return, but an idea as relevant and sound today as when it was written?

Is it possible that we are not talking about the right of the government to form a militia when there is no standing army, but the right of the individual to defend himself, or herself, against both tyranny and lawlessness? Maybe we are talking about the right of self-defense -- the right of the individual to take up arms against a government that wants to oppress, be it foreign or domestic. And the right of the individual to defend himself against criminals, brutes, and barbarians when local police seem unable to stop them.

Might the Second Amendment matter almost as much as the First?

I think the answer is yes.

And just like the First, the Second is practical, newly relevant, and far wiser than the watered-down alternatives.

I don't think George Bush wants to impose martial law on his fellow citizens. But he has diluted habeas corpus. And he has enlarged Big Brother. You have to stop and think about a government that wants to control the thoughts and behavior of its people.

Should such a government be permitted to disarm them as well?

And whereas the reform of the criminal justice system along some of the lines suggested above (a real "three strikes" law and faster trials for violent offenders) would not have saved the lives of Jennifer, and Hayley, and Michaela Petit, a gun might have.

I don't say it would have.

I say it might have.

Had Dr. William Petit had access to a gun and known how to use it, he might have been able to dispatch the two perpetrators, who were armed with only an air gun and ropes.

Moreover, the three victims here were women.

What if Mrs. Hawke-Petit had been trained in the use of firearms? Suppose she had been able to get to a gun after her husband was beaten into unconsciousness by the invaders? Or when she was forced to take one captor to the bank to fetch him money?

It's worth thinking about.

Women and children are now the major targets of predators in our society. Government is not protecting them very well. Many professional women who work in cities know this and take courses in self-defense. A gun may be the only realistic self-defense against the sort of criminals we are talking about here.

And if a few women took care of a few thugs in cases like this; if a few stories like this one ended in a different way -- with a woman blowing one of these brutes to kingdom come -- it might be a deterrent. Lives upon lives might be spared.

A friend of mine said: "The gun nuts are back."

They are.

And they are right.

Mind you, we are talking about arming people who are trained and know how to use a weapon.

No one should have a gun who has not been trained.

Just as one gets training in handling a boat, motorcycle, or car, one must learn how to use and safely store a gun. (The National Rifle Association maintains an extensive national network of programs in firearms training and education.)

And, obviously, no one would be forced to own a gun.

A second caveat: Encouraging citizens to arm themselves is no "answer" to crimes like the Petit murders.

An "answer" does not exist.

But it is one of several remedies when we are faced with palpable evil.

All possible remedies should be on the table:

-- Various reforms of the justice system, like a real three-strike-law for predatory offenders.

-- Better psychological treatment for troubled youth.

-- Religious training, in both love and self-restraint, especially when people are young.

-- Prison programs that both retain the hard core and educate the educable.

-- More and better home alarm systems.

-- More cops visible in more neighborhoods.

-- Dobermans.

All of these approaches have merit.

So does self-defense.

None of these options "fix" a society that can produce human beings who torture and kill the defenseless for sport.

No one step or program can plug every hole in America's justice system, or its soul.

But there are times when a gun in the hands of a potential victim may save a life.

Let's admit -- since the murderers, and druggies, and psychos, and thieves already have guns -- that arming the peaceful, law-abiding, decent, and productive people, whether in a school, or a private home, or on the way to a parked car, is an option that also has merit.

--------

Keith C. Burris is editorial page editor of the Journal Inquirer.

PIRATE14
08-05-2007, 10:48 AM
Don't think anyone else will listen but it's a start in the right direction.......;)

Draven
08-05-2007, 1:07 PM
Except for this part...

Mind you, we are talking about arming people who are trained and know how to use a weapon.

No one should have a gun who has not been trained.

Don't seem to remember that part in the 2nd. Was it printed in microprint on the comma between the phrases?

jumbopanda
08-05-2007, 2:03 PM
Except for this part...



Don't seem to remember that part in the 2nd. Was it printed in microprint on the comma between the phrases?

The 2nd also doesn't say anything about barring violent felons from owning guns but we do that. Frankly I find it disturbing that some people stick cartridges in backwards, have their finger on the trigger all the time, do 180 muzzle sweeps, etc.

ETD1010
08-05-2007, 2:38 PM
The 2nd also doesn't say anything about barring violent felons from owning guns but we do that. Frankly I find it disturbing that some people stick cartridges in backwards, have their finger on the trigger all the time, do 180 muzzle sweeps, etc.


I agree.. whereas the right to keep and bear arms is all good and dandy, I wouldn't feel any safer if no one knew how to use them. I always did find it a bit odd how when I bought my first gun, no one seemed to care if I actually knew how to use it. . . or be safe with it. Having to take a class on basic firearm safely is a no brainer to any reasonably responsible citizen (whether it be from a class or a friend who already knows their stuff). But some people aren't reasonably responsible......

stator
08-05-2007, 2:39 PM
Except for this part...



Don't seem to remember that part in the 2nd. Was it printed in microprint on the comma between the phrases?

I agree with the statement in general. People SHOULD have some sort of training, informal or formal. However, it should never be a requirement due to the reason you stated. Everyone I shoot with has some form of training or experience. If not, they get the basics from me the first time out. If they cannot be safe, I do not shoot with them until such time.

Yankee Clipper
08-05-2007, 2:50 PM
Interesting that an editorial on that subject, and being pro second amendment, should come out of a small town (Manchester) paper from such a liberal state. The Journal Inquirer is not a very large paper in terms of circulation. Connecticut politics tend to be very liberal except in the rural areas – a situation familiar to us denizens of this state. But what would look to us, traveling through, like a rural area (and therefore conservative) is instead a liberal leaning bedroom community near universities and New York City. The politicians tolerate the indigenous gun manufacturers probably because of the number of jobs they provide. That’s why to me at least, the small voice of Keith C. Burris, from a very dark political forest, seems so refreshing.

CCWFacts
08-05-2007, 3:10 PM
Don't seem to remember that part in the 2nd. Was it printed in microprint on the comma between the phrases?

He's just expressing his opinion: people should get training before they own guns. That is a very reasonable opinion to have. And all rights can be subject to regulation within our system. The 2A does not magically put guns beyond all regulation just like the 1A does not magically put all forms of expression beyond regulation.

Draven
08-05-2007, 4:13 PM
The 2nd also doesn't say anything about barring violent felons from owning guns but we do that. Frankly I find it disturbing that some people stick cartridges in backwards, have their finger on the trigger all the time, do 180 muzzle sweeps, etc.

One version of it did.

Icarus
08-05-2007, 4:20 PM
All rights are subject to regulation and requiring training may seem reasonable but Iam sick of hearing about "sensible" gun laws and more restrictions. They seem to end up limiting the rights of only the honest citizens.

Glock22Fan
08-06-2007, 8:52 AM
All rights are subject to regulation and requiring training may seem reasonable but Iam sick of hearing about "sensible" gun laws and more restrictions. They seem to end up limiting the rights of only the honest citizens.


"Sensible" people don't need "sensible" gun laws, and people who aren't sensible ignore them; so why bother? (I know, I know, it is another way to hassle law-abiding gun owners into giving up their rights). A lack of training will never stop some gang-banger or meths-head from acquiring a weapon.

As far as training goes, I strongly believe that anyone who wants to own a firearm should want to get training. However, to me, this should not be regulated as it would seem to be fixing a problem that simply doesn't exist.

For those disagree and who say that you should not be allowed to own a gun until you have had X hours of training, I would ask you to support your assertations with statistics from Vermont, Alaska or anywhere else where firearms may be legally carried with little or no training.

CCWFacts
08-06-2007, 9:17 AM
For those disagree and who say that you should not be allowed to own a gun until you have had X hours of training, I would ask you to support your assertations with statistics from Vermont, Alaska or anywhere else where firearms may be legally carried with little or no training.

The difference between those places and California is, people in VT and AK are likely to have grown up with firearms. They are likely to have had hunting experience, and had informal training with family members. They are likely to have seen, first-hand, what bullets do to living things. They have also grown up with etiquette and safety rules of guns.

Your average urbanite, especially in a place like CA, may have never touched or shot a gun before and never had hunting experience, or had anyone teach him about gun safety.

There is a big difference between a Californian and an Alaskan. It's purely a practical issue. If you handed a surfboard to your average Alaskan and said, "go out and surf", he might get hurt, he might hurt someone else, etc, etc. Most California surfers haven't had formal training but have learned informally.

(Formal training is still better. I'm sure the average Alaskan, who hasn't had formal training, could greatly improve his skills with a few days of professional instruction.)

And yes, criminals will disregard these laws, but if training is required, law abiding people are a lot more likely to get it, and that's a good thing.

Glock22Fan
08-06-2007, 9:33 AM
I agree with everything you say except for the need for more laws. If you don't like Vermont as an example, show me statistics for those Californian citizens you are so patronizing and worried about. I know quite a few Californians that I would trust with guns around me, despite the lack of formal training. My Californian wife is as safe as I am with a gun (and more accurate), would you require her to sit through 16 hours of training before she could buy one? I know quite a few English immigrants who are safe with guns despite no formal training, and we all know they grew up in a (virtually) gun-free environment.

Passing laws based on gut feelings instead of logic is what the Brady crowd do. We counter them with statistics, so let's use the same rationale here.

And my guess is that there are a lot more people with guns in California than there are people who have ever ridden surfboards. I'm just as likely to kill myself on a surfboard as any Alaskan.

CCWFacts
08-06-2007, 11:09 AM
I'm not proposing, endorsing, supporting or advocating any new gun restrictions in this state. We have more than enough. I'm just explaining that there is some logic to training requirements, especially in this state. In contrast, there is no logical reason for the safe gun list, the AWB, etc. We're in a situation where we have way too many gun restrictions here. A small handful of those restrictions have logic behind them; the majority are pure harassment of gun owners. Me pointing out the logic of some of them doesn't mean I'm supporting them or that I'm ok with the other laws that have no basis at all. I am able and willing to analyze, and find pros and cons, in laws that I may or may not agree with.

It is interesting and useful to figure out the basis of laws. 90% of CA's gun laws have one clear basis: harass gun owners or gun businesses. The safe handgun list is the most obvious example. It's useful to figure out what the basis is, because that shows us how we might fight or modify these laws.

Right now this state requires the HSC to purchase a handgun. That seems like too little "training" to be helpful, and yet enough to be annoying. For CCWs, most agencies require about 8 to 16 hours of training, which, if it's good training, is enough to be helpful.

I personally know that I wasn't acceptably safe around guns until I had some professional training. I'm glad I did that. I also know that I was not competent to use one for self-defense until I had several days of training. (That is, if I'm even competent to use one for self-defense now, I'm not sure, and hopefully I'll never find out.)

By the way, note that there are different meanings of "logical". Many of our laws are on subjects which can't be backed up by statistical data. For example, murder is illegal in every state, so there are no comparison data that would show what would happen if murder were legal. That doesn't mean that we should suddenly legalize murder because we can't prove that laws against murder are helpful. I'm taking an extreme example here, but the point is, not all laws can or should be subjected to evidence-based verification.

Anyway... all this philosophy aside, CA has far too many absurd gun restrictions. We absolutely do not need any more laws in this state, we need less. I would just like to prioritize which ones we go after. To me, the ones which have the broadest effects on gun owners, and which have the least benefits for public safety, are the ones I would go after first. That's why, for example, I yawn about AB50, while I work hard for CCW reform.

(As for surfing, yeah, me too. I've never been on a surf board, so it wasn't such a solid example.)

Piper
08-06-2007, 11:20 AM
You know, I'm thinking we should put the blame squarely on the institution most responsible for people's ignorance about firearms and that is our governments and their agents. Since the 1930's our government from the feds to the local townships have vilified firearms and stigmatized firearms owners as nuts, vigilante's, racists, counter culter, and the list goes on. Quite frankly, if the government wants my taxes, then I want the government to train people in gun safety and I want the training to be offered to people for free.

When I was in the military, a majority of the guys in my basic training unit knew absolutely nothing about firearms, except what they saw on TV. That's a tragedy and a waste of time to have to teach basics like gun safety to soldiers who should be learning more advanced tecniques of marksmanship. But government, in its attempt to make us more dependent, in my opinion is the root cause of the ignorance about firearms.

dfletcher
08-06-2007, 11:31 AM
As Yankee Clipper mentioned, much of the Northeast is rural and progun but like LA & SF in CA, it's the population centers of Boston, Hartford & Providence that tend to be antigun. I'm from southern NH (I'm sure everyone's heard of Plaistow, right?) and kids growing up shooting & hunting is very common. Our next door neighbor is in charge of backyard woodchuck control - he still tends to walk down the streets with his 22 & a handfull of Aguila shorts.

With respect to those of us plus 40 types, I agree pretty much no one selling a gun did any quizzing about our knowledge. I have to say this is a job Dad & other adults were supposed to do. I know that doesn't always happen today and I don;t have a good answer. I am however uncomfortable with a state sponsored test - first, I wasn't aware a test is required to exercise my constitutional right & 2nd, if I remember correctly the CA test had questions that struck me as not focusing on safety but a bit of policical correctness. Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, but it wouldn't surprise me to soon find a "It's unlikely you will ever defend yourself with a gun" or "Statistics show keeping a handgun in the house is likely to hurt a resident more than a criminal" - TRUE or FALSE - type question as part of "educating" potential gun owners.

Glock22Fan
08-06-2007, 1:01 PM
"Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, but it wouldn't surprise me to soon find a "It's unlikely you will ever defend yourself with a gun" or "Statistics show keeping a handgun in the house is likely to hurt a resident more than a criminal" - TRUE or FALSE - type question as part of "educating" potential gun owners."

Hear, hear.

The only question I got wrong on the Hunter Safety Course was "If you see someone being shot or injured while you are out hunting, you must inform the Game & Fisheries officers within 48 hours - true or false?" To me, this is ridiculous. If I'm out hunting and I see someone in the car park beating up or shooting someone else, I'm not going to report it to game and fisheries in a couple of days time, I'm going to call 911 and report it to the usual authorities now. Do I still have to report it to G&F after that?

Yes, everyone who owns a pistol should take at least the equivalent of the NRA Basic Pistol course (and as an NRA Certified Instructor, I'd be glad to teach you). But, if you already have sufficient prior experience to handle a gun safely, then that should be enough. But keep the politicians' sticky, misguided, fingers off it, please.