Tragedy in Connecticut and the Aftermath for Gun Owners and the 2nd Amendment

I think we can all agree that the mass shooting at Sandyhook Elementary School was horrific; the innocent children lost, the heroic staff who died trying to protect them; the First Responders who will carry those images for the rest of their lives; the children who will never feel safe again and the parents who can’t kiss their little ones good-night…and many others who were affected in lasting ways.  We can also agree that the tool was used by a seriously disturbed man was a gun.

What we can’t agree on is where the responsibility lies.  The tool was a gun, but it was the hands of a madman.  Should we blame the gun, as many are trying to do?  Would banning guns stop such tragedies?  Dec 14, a man with a knife wounded 23 students in an Elementary School in China.  Do we ban knives?  April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City, OK, a homemade bomb was detonated outside the Alfred P. Murreh government building, killing 168 people, 19 of which were children.  It was later determined the bomb contained common fertilizer, but there wasn’t an outcry against farming.  On Sep 11, 2001, nearly 3000 people died, 8 of them children, yet we don’t blame the aircraft.  In 2005, there were 16,885 deaths related to drunk driving.  Of these, 414 were children 14 and younger.  When is the last time you had a beer, glass of wine or a cocktail?

My point is that it is the individual(s), not the tool, that is responsible for these, and many more, tragedies.  There has been a significant backlash against the gun community by the anti-gun proponents.  Senior NRA officials have received death threats, NRA members have been demonized, and pro-firearms groups have been targets on Twitter and FaceBook.

Think Gun Control is the answer?

In 1976, the Washington, D.C. City Council passed a law generally prohibiting residents from possessing handguns and requiring that all firearms in private homes be (1) kept unloaded and (2) rendered temporally inoperable via disassembly or installation of a trigger lock. The law became operative on Sept. 24, 1976.  On June 26, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, struck down this law as unconstitutional. – [35]

During the years in which the D.C. handgun ban and trigger lock law was in effect, theWashington,D.C.murder rate averaged 73% higher than it was at the outset of the law, while theU.S.murder rate averaged 11% lower.

In 1982, the city ofChicagoinstituted a ban on handguns. This ban barred civilians from possessing handguns except for those registered with the city government prior to enactment of the law. The law also specified that such handguns had to be re-registered every two years or owners would forfeit their right to possess them. In 1994, the law was amended to require annual re-registration.

In the wake ofChicago’s handgun ban, at least five suburbs surroundingChicagoinstituted similar handgun bans. When the Supreme Court overturned theDistrict of Columbia’s handgun ban in June 2008, at least four of these suburbs repealed their bans.

In June 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) thatChicago’s ban is unconstitutional.

Since the outset of the Chicagohandgun ban, the Chicagomurder rate has averaged 17% lower than it was before the law took effect, while the U.S.murder rate has averaged 25% lower. – [53]

Since the outset of theChicagohandgun ban, the percentage ofChicagomurders committed with handguns has averaged about 40% higher than it was before the law took effect.  In 2005, 96% of the firearm murder victims inChicagowere killed with handguns.

The vast majority of gun owners are hunters and sport shooters.  Many of us have firearms for personal and family defense.  We are mostly friendly, law abiding and responsible citizens.

The numbers are very telling.  But, as in all things, you need to make a decision for yourself.

Be safe.

Lynne Finch-Charlesworth

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