Archive for the ‘guns’ Category

Guns

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

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The Supreme Court has upheld the right of an individual to own a gun. They have also upheld the right of communities to place reasonable limits on gun ownership.

I am grateful to all those who make our highways safer by controlling the deer population. I have no problem with target shooters either.

My dad for a short while owned a German Luger. I’m not sure why he owned it other than that fact that at the time he was a small business owner in Omaha. Maybe he felt he needed protection at his shop. The reason I know he owned it was because when I was about 8, my younger siblings and I found the gun one afternoon in his dresser drawer. We took it out and started to play with it. I don’t know whether or not it was loaded. Nothing terrible happened, except that my mom found us playing with it and I never saw another gun in the house.

All of my friends and I owned BB guns growing up. None of us put an eye out. We all belonged to a gun club at the local community center. During the winter we all practiced target shooting there. During the summer, we would shoot at the pigeons roosting on the back of the local drive-in movie screen. They were far enough away that even if we managed to hit one, the BB would likely have just bounced off.

The father of one of my best friends in grade school killed himself with a gun at their home when I was maybe 14. We spent a lot of time at each others homes. His family didn’t seem any different from mine. But after his dad died, my friend changed and we drifted apart. I can’t imagine what he must have gone through. I wish I could have helped him more than I did.

I understand the fascination that some people have with guns. I also understand how dangerous they are. I appreciate how fortunate I was to escape with just a scolding when I found my father’s gun. I have also seen first hand how a gun can change someone’s life forever.

There are certainly stories about good people successfully using guns to defend themselves from bad people with guns seeking to harm them. Those instances, unfortunately are the exception rather than the rule. Most of the time, guns either kill the owner, someone in their family, or some other innocent person by accident or mistaken identity. Your odds of winning the Powerball are 15x higher (.000003) than your risk being killed by a home invader (0.0000002).

According to numerous reliable studies, 60% of gun deaths are suicides. 79% of the victims are white men, like my friend’s dad. Gun suicides have touched everyone. Having a gun in your home triples your risk of suicide.

Keeping guns in your house, regardless of how they are stored, not only increases the odds of suicide, but also domestic abuse and accidents. Owning a gun triples the risk of homicide in your home. Gun mishaps are the third leading cause of death among children in this country. Kids aren’t supposed to die. In most other civilized countries some kids get sick and die. Some kids die in auto accidents or drown. It’s only in this country where our kids get killed because they came across a loaded gun.

Statistics prove that more guns make communities more dangerous. Guns are most dangerous to those who own them. A combined analysis of 15 different studies in 2015 found that those who had access to a firearm in their home were 15x more likely to be murdered as those who didn’t. The majority of those murders were committed by a family member or a close personal acquaintance.

As our population ages, crimes of all sorts are down. That’s because the vast majority of crimes are committed by males between 15-29. The best way to make communities safer is not to give everyone a gun. It is to give everyone a job. The safest communities are those with the lowest populations of young unemployed men and the fewest guns.

Let’s make every community one of those safe ones. Our businesses need workers. Let’s make it easy for everyone to find a good job. Getting everyone a good job will make every community more prosperous and safe. It will also reduce the need some feel to own a gun for protection. Reducing the number of guns in our community will save lives.