Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the day “April 26, 2012”

Gun Control: Lisa and Trayvon Get Shot – Roger Ingalls

What do Trayvon Martin and Lisa Simmons have in common? The title gives it away but they were both shot. The circumstances behind the shootings are very different with one almost in the running for the annual Darwin Awards and the other probably marked by bad timing coupled with mutual adrenaline and fear.

Lisa was shot by her boyfriend, Steven Egan, in what appears to be a hunting accident. Ms. Simmons did not die from her wounds but she was seriously injured and had to be airlifted to a hospital where she is still recovering. The story behind the shooting would be funny if Lisa did not get hurt but I suspect some will find it hilarious. She was shot because her boyfriend thought she was a wild pig. I won’t go into the details but you can read about it here (link). Incidentally, Lisa doesn’t qualify for the Darwin Awards because she survived.

Tragically, Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman on February 26th. The shooting and issues surrounding the case have been widely covered so I will also not go into the details but if you’re not familiar with it, just Google “Trayvon”. Some will get upset that I’ve linked these two shootings and will probably become even more incensed when they now learn that I’m leading this into my view of gun control.

Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

Most friends and some associates know that my political views lean to the left and they assume I’m against the ownership of guns but this is not true. I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment – commonly referred to as “the right to bear arms”. However, I also believe the interpretation of the amendment is grossly misunderstood.

Here is the actual Second Amendment text: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. In review of history, the amendment was provided for the following purposes: deterring tyrannical government, repelling invasion, suppressing insurrection, facilitating a natural right of self-defense and enabling the people to organize a militia system.

As defined in The Bill of Rights and in the context of the time in which it was written, I do not believe the Second Amendment guarantees the public the right to the ownership or bearing of hand guns. How does a hand gun satisfy any of the purposes that the amendment was addressing? It doesn’t. Can you deter a tyrannical government or organize a militia outfitted with hand guns? No, that would be suicide. I DO believe the public has the right to bear rifles, assault weapons, shot guns and any equipment used by the military and government. This may be controversial but it is the true intent of the amendment. Let’s face it, assault weapons make big headline when used for murder but they kill a fraction of  the people in the U.S. when compared to hand guns.

Hand guns serve no good purpose. They are only used in cruel execution of people. They are not practical for hunting, fighting wars or home defense (a shot gun is a better choice against an intruder). Hand guns are designed for convenience, concealment and close proximity killing.

Let’s examine our everyday environment in a setting where hand guns are eliminated and only long guns can be permitted and carried. If you see someone walking down the street or into a store with a non-concealable rifle you can take appropriate action if uncomfortable. You are not afforded this opportunity if the person is concealing a hand gun. An officer, seeing a rifle carrier can request confirmation of a carry permit and ask why they’re carrying at this time – again, not possible if the arms are small and hidden. Also, an undesirable may be less inclined to commit a crime if they see big guns in the hands of legal carriers around them. It’s important to realize that people are already carrying around us so wouldn’t it be nice to know who is?

George Zimmerman had a carry permit and was obviously concealing a hand gun the night he killed Trayvon Martin. Although he was legal in the eyes of the law, his neighborhood watch group did not allow the carrying of weapons. If Zimmerman’s only choice was a long gun, his neighborhood group could have seen the gun, told him no or reported it and Trayvon would still be alive.

As far as the hunting accident involving Mr. Egan and Ms. Simmons, no law or regulation can fix stupid.

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