I appreciate most of the comments from Friday’s column, and the restraint shown by most as we learned the details from the horrific incident in Colorado. Words still can’t adequately address the tragedy.
But this being a political blog, and with the inevitable discussion of guns, gun owners’ rights, and the possibility of adding controls or tracking of purchases, we’ll now attempt a civil discussion.
The following was sent to me by a friend, and I’m posting it here to get the conversation started. Please try to keep it civil and respectful of any victims from previous incidents.
It seems as though the discussion on gun ownership, gun rights, and the ability to carry (whether concealed or overt) is about to be amplified and thrown into a much more visible national debate than we are normally accustom. Both of the current viable presidential candidates are not exactly “gun friendly”. Obama is well… Obama. Romney likes to hunt rodents. Here in Georgia gun rights are something we cherish, and they are part of the lifestyle of many. While many believe that gun ownership is perfectly normal, there will always be those that believe it is silly, or irresponsible. This is what I would like to make the discussion about today.
I believe that it is a natural right for people to be able to protect themselves. I also believe that most people want to feel safe when they are in public. Do I trust the average person next to me to only hit the target they are shooting at when in a situation where live fire is necessary? For the most part… no. I think the requirements to carry concealed is woefully inadequate in this state. A background check, fingerprints and $50 to carry a weapon that in many cases can hold enough ordinance to kill everyone in a Waffle House at anytime of the day is lacking.
One has to wonder why a person has to take driver’s training, a “written” driving test, and then a driving test to be able to drive a car, but do not need to show any proficiency with a firearm to walk around a mall with 20 rounds of hollow points inside a waist band. While I agree that the chances that the majority of people who apply for the GFL have had some trigger time, and maybe even some training, I highly doubt that the majority have ever had live fire training on moving targets or in stressful situations. This all comes down to the fact that I do not trust the average person to be able to quickly and effectively score hits on a specific target in a populated area. Emotions, adrenaline, and the lack of situational awareness create a perfect storm of danger.
Do I believe an armed society is a safer society… yes. Do I believe that government can protect us in every situation… no, and I don’t want them to try. Do I believe that all of us can do more in our society to make it a safer place… yes, and I believe that firearm ownership and training are a step in the right direction.
What does the right to bear arms mean to you? Do you believe in universal concealed carry? Do you believe that certain convictions should preclude people from obtaining firearms?