February 17, 2019

“Access” to Gun Safety Equipment a Red Herring?

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This morning I was reading David Trahan’s first in a series of how to change the discussion about guns to one of safety rather than control and/or limitations of rights. Sounds like a great idea. But….

It is for the most part impossible to offer any counter argument against anyone or anything that is seeking to promote gun safety, without being viewed as a radical, uncaring person. After all, who doesn’t want to stop accidental shootings of the innocent?

But like taking away gun rights from the lawful people claiming such will make us all safe and eliminate gun violence, will actions, in the name of gun safety, accomplish more than will be taken away by limited access to your own guns?

Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM), suggests that finding a way to increase access to gun safety equipment (safes, locks, etc.) along with an education program to convince people that “proper” use and storage of guns is the “proper” way to be “safe.”

In gun control discussions, those who advocate for gun control, including the radical extreme of a complete ban on them, do so from a position of emotional nonsense with no statistical evidence that banning guns stops violence. It might stop the occasional “accident.”

On the contrary, there is substantial evidence to show that creating “safe zones” and placing bans and restrictions on guns causes the complete opposite result than what was sold as a solution to a problem.

Gun rights advocates stand up in defense of the quasi-right to keep and bear arms by claiming this statistic to substantiate their position. Doesn’t it make sense that if prohibiting people the right to own a gun causes the incidence of gun violence to increase – say Chicago and D.C. – then this same logic should be used all across discussions about guns, gun rights, and gun safety.

This brings us to the question about promoting gun safety from a position of “educating” (followed by government demand) people about how to “properly” store a gun to keep it out of the reach of those who shouldn’t have access to it – child or criminal.

Where are the statistics and actual data that supports the claim that “proper” storage reduces or prevents access to guns that might be used by criminals or getting into the hands of children? And where are the data that supports any notion that locking up guns doesn’t affect a person’s ability to protect themselves in the case of needing quick and easy access to a gun.

I recall discussion in the Heller v. D.C. Supreme Court decision about whether it was constitutional to require any gun owner to have to keep all their guns under lock and key at all times. It was decided by that Court that it was, in fact not only unreasonable but unconstitutional for the government to enforce such a mandate. Of course the difference here is that one is a mandatory government problem and the other presented as voluntary, and yet we find a group labeled as a gun rights advocate, promoting voluntary gun lock-up.

There needs to be some real believable evidence presented before anyone should be discussing programs that will lead to the mandate that guns need locks and/or to be locked up.

If it is true that gun control laws only punish the law-abiding citizens, and an honest man might conclude that any kind of locking system is a restriction of the Second Amendment – a right to keep and bear arms, and in Maine’s case “shall never be infringed” – then isn’t promoting a bit of a red herring suggesting locks, that limit a person’s right to quick and easy access, in fact an “infringement” of that right?

I would like to see proof that the lives possibly saved by locking up guns is going to outweigh the loss of life and property because locks disallow quick and easy access in order to protect a person and his/her property.

But as always it has to be presented as a person’s choice. If the evidence is so strong to convince gun owners that locking up their guns is going to save lives, then let it remain their choice. I would hope that in Trahan’s suggestions of how we talk about gun safety, he includes easy access to gun safety classes for all. I grew up with guns throughout my home and my parents taught me all about them. That education works and we didn’t need, nor would it have been practical, to lock our guns up. Perhaps the money savings offered could be better spent in teaching everyone, including children, how to safely use a firearm.

And just for the record, even using Trahan’s mathematical calculations that determines with membership to certain clubs (elitism), discounts, and tax breaks, $400 for a gun safe is beyond my bank account and I’m sure that of many other people. It’s easy to toss out dollars and cents, without having much sense.

Just like how removing guns from the lawful citizens does nothing to prevent gun violence, teaching people to lock up their guns will do nothing to educate all people about how to use them and be safe around them.

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