A Solution to Gun Violence

A true solution to gun violence does NOT lie with regulating law-abiding citizens. It should be obvious – even to pea-brained politicians – that the causes of gun violence are criminals.

While it’s easy for the government to punish the innocent through legislation and feel as though they’re addressing the problem, increased legislation targeting law-abiding citizens will have absolutely no impact on crimes committed by criminals with guns.

“Why not?”, you may ask. It’s simple: criminals break the law so it’s impossible to enact a specific law that will stop criminals from perpetrating crimes. Laws that merely make it more difficult for someone to protect themselves or their families only work to benefit the criminal.

If I were a criminal, I know I’d target people who weren’t likely to, or couldn’t, fight back. It’s much safer for the criminal that way, and they don’t want to get hurt while committing crimes any more than the victim wants to get hurt during a crime. Doesn’t this make sense? So tell me: how does it make any sense to hand criminals MORE victims through legislation? It obviously doesn’t make sense, but it’s easier to feel as though you’re addressing the problem if you’re doing something – even if it’s the wrong thing.

There are two root causes of gun violence that need to be addressed, and are mainly ignored since addressing them is difficult. Those two issues are: 1. ILLEGAL guns, and 2. Criminals.

While screaming about “gun control,” it’s proponents seem to ignore a very real and true fact: that guns don’t, and have never, killed ANYONE. It’s the PERSON who does the killing. It’s the PERSON who made that choice and committed the act. The PERSON chose to put that gun in their hand and pull the trigger. The gun is simply an instrument.

And I can hear gun control proponents saying, “But guns make it easier to kill!” I freely admit that guns can make it more convenient to kill a larger number of victims. But truthfully, a criminal who wants to commit such an act will find a tool. Someone running around the mall with a samurai sword can kill just as many people before police arrive as can someone with a gun. Someone could drive a car through the mall and kill a bunch of people too. Or simply blow them up. There are many ways to accomplish such a thing, and it’s the person, not the instrument, who is responsible. We, as a society, need to remember that.

And let’s not forget that we accept other things into our lives that kill far more people than even illegal guns – legally prescribed medication, for example. On average, legally prescribed medicines kill over 100,000 people per year – second only to heart disease. But no one mentions that, and those deaths are accepted because medicines help millions of others. Well, not surprisingly, legally armed citizens, and the police, use guns to thwart or stop many thousands of crimes every year – crimes that could easily have ended in the victim’s death. Yet the media fails to mention that, too.

So what do we do about gun violence?

As previously mentioned, we need to focus on stopping illegal guns, and criminals who commit violent acts. Even though these are much harder than punishing the innocent, they’re the only things that will have a positive effect and help to reduce gun violence.

Stopping illegal guns is difficult, since there are varied sources for illegal guns. I suspect the main source of illegal guns used in most street crimes is theft from homes and businesses. If that’s true, then it may be wise to focus legislation on gun security, rather than gun control.

But even more important is to focus on criminals – the criminals who steal the guns, then use them to victimize the populace. The solution to this problem is more simple than it may seem on the surface. However, our legal system would need to be adapted to these solutions, and it may also be necessary to address housing a temporarily increased number of prisoners. However, by using these solutions, I firmly believe the number of criminals will ultimately decrease.

Here are the solutions I believe will help to drastically reduce violent crimes:

1) The punishment needs to EXCEED the crime. Prison could be a deterrent to crime if the price of getting caught – for even minor offenses – is much greater than the potential gain. I believe that any criminal convicted of any sort of assault should have a minimum 25 year sentence without parole. That may seem extreme, but that’s the only way to use incarceration as a deterrent.

2) No suspended sentences. If they do the crime, they do the time.

3) Have a nationalized death penalty for extreme cases.

4) Allow citizens to protect themselves and their families without fear of legal reprisal from criminals or their families. Someone who legally and correctly defends their life should NOT have to be subjected to any legal proceeding brought by the criminal or their family. If local law enforcement investigation finds the action justified, then the matter is dropped and everyone can happily accept that a criminal got what was due.

5) Consider implementing standards for gun storage in the home or business, to reduce the chances of criminals breaking in and acquiring guns.

6) Make a thorough background check necessary to purchase a gun. There’s no harm in having a permit system to purchase guns. This maintains the right to purchase, and may help weed out some people who have no business owning a firearm. It’s OK if this initial background check and getting the permit to purchase takes a little time. Chances are good that someone who wants a firearm in a hurry wants it for an illicit purpose.

7) Make tactical firearms training mandatory for anyone who wishes to carry a weapon. Make home defense training mandatory for anyone who wishes to have a firearm at home for defense. A system similar to getting a drivers license is reasonable. Get a permit to learn, take the training, then take a test to prove you can safely use the training. That may seem like an “infringement” of Second Amendment rights, but I believe it’s a necessary infringement since other people’s lives can be deeply affected by defensive actions a legally armed person may take. In addition, it’s foolish to have the gun without the training. It’s unsafe for everyone under those circumstances, and I find it reasonable to have some sort of minimum training standard that ensures proficiency and protects the safety of others.

Focusing on the things I’ve mentioned in this article can make a real difference in gun violence. More legislation to limit the actions of people who already follow the law is wasted time, energy, and money. Let’s spend our tax dollars wisely, and impress upon our sometimes misguided representatives the need to work on the real problems, rather than continuing to add more laws that only punish the innocent and have no affect on the guilty.

Guns and Children

Several years ago, I, (as a legislator), received a booklet entitled, Children, Youth, and Gun Violence: Issues and Ideas.

The opening statement that this booklet was: “Each year more than 20,000 people under 20 are killed or injured by guns in the United States.” Almost immediately following that was the comment, “But too often, gun policy debates focus on the rights of adults to own guns and pay scant attention to issues of children’s safety.”

I thought, “Oh, oh, here we go again-an argument for more gun control.”

Certainly, none of us wants to see children die by the gun, either by accident or by deliberate acts. But, that, in itself, is not any rationale for more gun control laws.

This booklet advocated educating parents to protect their children from gun violence, “either by choosing not to keep guns in the home, or by storing guns locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.”

When I was a young shaver, my father kept a shotgun in his little cubicle of a home office, (he actually was a laborer). We were taught NEVER to touch that gun. And from the punishments that had been meted out to us in the past for far less serious infractions, we knew he meant business, and we never did touch it!

However, if we wanted to go with him hunting, or be with him target practicing, we were allowed. In our family, we children, were never encouraged to have our own guns, though my oldest brother knew how to shoot a 22. In those days, many parents, including my own, frowned on pointing even toy guns at another person, though the enforcement wasn’t quite as strict.

This report went on to talk more about restricting access to guns by children, and then did take up the issue of “Educational Interventions to Reduce Youth Gun Injury and Violence.” They listed several programs to educate children about guns.

One was the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program. This is a program advocated by the National Rifle Association, (NRA). I have heard gun advocates talk about this program many times. I have listened to how effective it can be. Many schools around the United States offer this program to students.

But many more schools refuse to allow students to participate in this program. Their attitude, in some cases, is that allowing this program might be viewed as support for the NRA.

The Eddie Eagle Program is taught to students from prekindergarten through grade 6. There is a motivational “big book” for the younger children, activity books for grades 2 & 3, and 4 -6, with a 7 minute video, reward stickers, parent letter, etc. “The message is: If you see a gun, stop! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.”

Gun advocates tout how effective this program is.

This publication’s evaluation: “NRA cites testimonials and reductions in accidental death rates between 1991 and 1992…but no formal evaluations have been published.”

Another program is “Straight Talk about Risks”, (STAR), from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (You remember Jim Brady was the aide to President Reagan who was severely wounded in the presidential assassination attempt.) Certainly that program ought to get an A+ by the critics?

The evaluation: “Inconsistent and inconclusive effections on attitudes and no change in behaviors. No evaluation has been published.” (If no evaluation has been published, I’m not sure where this publication got the information to create their evaluation?’)

It is interesting to watch how those interested in promoting their agenda `use’ or `bend’ the information to bolster their cause. This booklet pointed out that “Parents are arguably the best-positioned adults to monitor children’s behavior and keep them safe from exposure to guns in the home and in the community.”

Their take on the responsible adult is one who allows no guns in the house, or one who stores the gun, unloaded, and not in close proximity to ammunition. If a person has chosen to own a gun for personal protection against intruders, etc., how effective is having an unloaded gun `at the ready’ – or for that matter, one with a safety lock? Is not the most effective control, educating the child?

The article lists a series of “Specific Policy Options” to ensure safety for the youth of America:

“Require background checks on all gun sales, including private sales, to prevent the illegal sale of guns to minors” That’s interesting. You would require background checks simply to check someone’s age? When someone who appears to be under 21 years old goes into a liquor store, does the store clerk make him/her fill out a background check form, and make the customer wait until the information comes back in a few minutes or a few days? I don’t think so. A check on the person’s driver’s license usually suffices! So what is the real purpose of the background check? Certainly not the age aspect.

And as I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again, the person who is likely to fail a background check, is not usually the person who is attempting to buy a gun at a gun shop or a gun show.

Here’s another: This was listed under what state legislatures could do. “Require handgun owners to obtain a safety license and to register their handguns with local law enforcement, similar to the system in place for automobiles, (my italics), to deter gun owners from transferring their weapons to youth.”

“Limit handgun sales to one per month, to reduce `straw purchases’ from gun stores.”

When I first was elected to the N.H. House of Representatives, some 16 years ago, I would probably have listed myself as a fairly staunch supporter of gun control… probably leaning to ban a major portion of the types of guns sold.

Since then, I have sat through many hearings on gun control legislation, and listened to both sides. I have had almost a complete turn around on the issue.

My issue is not the usual Constitutional issue that many supporters of gun owner rights espouse. But, in the greatest philosophical sense, perhaps, I do believe that `guns don’t kill’, people do. Sure, sometimes in severe domestic disputes, because there is a gun around, someone may get shot and killed. And, yes, children do get killed accidentally.

But people also die in cars every day. And why? Carelessness, inattention, etc. But we don’t ban them!

I really believe that the main issue in gun control is education-that is, for the ordinary citizen. There is no education about gun control for the criminal.

The criminal is not likely to go shopping in legitimate gun shops for his weapon. Why would he? He is purchasing it to engage in an illegal and criminal act!

Common sense, and real cooperation on the part of our school systems would go a long ways in stopping accidental shooting of our youth. I’m in favor of mandatory education about guns in our schools. Not mandatory education in how to use them, but how to act safely around them.

If someone chooses to allow their child to handle a weapon, perhaps there should be mandatory training on how to use it safely.

We could engage in banning a lot of things that are dangerous to us. Have you ever seen the statistics on how many people choke to death on a bone in a restaurant? Perhaps we need a law to prohibit the sale of any chicken that is not boneless?

Let’s tackle the real core of the problem, instead of passing law after law, banning this thing and that thing. Of course, that will mean we will have to assume more personal responsibility.

What is a Stun Gun?

Well this is a pretty easy question. Since I am involved in self defense products and their uses, I get this question a lot. People will either send me an e-mail, call me, write me or text me ask me the age old question; what is a stun gun? Well it might not be that dramatic but people really do ask me certain questions about this lovely little device.

People want to know what a stun gun does, how it works, which one is the best to buy and so on. Well lucky for you I am going to answer these questions for you. Lets start with the first question.

How exactly does a stun gun work?

The batteries supply electricity to a circuit consisting of various electrical components. The circuitry includes multiple transformers, components that boost the voltage in the circuit, typically to between 20,000 and 150,000 volts, and reduce the amperage. It also includes a oscillator, a component that fluctuates current to produce a specific pulse pattern of electricity. This current charges a capacitor. The capacitor builds up a charge, and releases it to the electrodes, the “business end” of the circuit.

What does a stun gun do to the body?

The basic idea of a stun gun is to disrupt this communication system. Stun guns generate a high-voltage, low-amperage electrical charge. In simple terms, this means that the charge has a lot of pressure behind it, but not that much intensity. When you press the stun gun against an attacker and hold the trigger, the charge passes into the attacker’s body. Since it has a fairly high voltage, the charge will pass through heavy clothing and skin. But at around 3 milliamps, the charge is not intense enough to damage the attacker’s body unless it is applied for extended periods of time.

Which stun gun is the best to buy?

This is an easy one. This all depends on your personal preference. There are pink stun guns, yellow ones, camouflage ones, big ones, small ones, short ones, tall ones. Well I know I got a little Doctor Seuss on you there but you get the picture. My personal favorite is the cell phone stunner. It is shaped and looks like a cell phone but it is every bit a powerful stun gun.

Well there you have it. You now know how a stun gun works, what it does to the body and which one you should buy. I guess the only thing you have left to do is buy one, right? Well whatever you decide to do be safe and I wish everyone the best in all their duties and in life. And now that you have read this, you are “Not a Victim”, you’re a survivor! God Bless!