Sentinel-Echo.com

Columns

January 21, 2013

My Point Is...Guns don’t kill, people do

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — When Warren Zevon recorded the song, “Lawyers, Guns and Money” in 1978, he probably never dreamed the term would be a major debate item more than 20 years later.

The shooting deaths of 26 people — 20 of which were young children — last month has brought gun control issues into the top of political and personal debates.

The Jackson County Sheriff is publicly promising to defy any federal movement to retrieve guns from their owners. He is sending representatives to surrounding counties to encourage other sheriffs to follow his lead.

Members of the National Rifle Association are forming their own army of protests to any more restrictions on gun control, citing the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution that ensures that Americans have the right to carry guns.

Pro-life advocates and anti-gun advocates are waging their own war against the senseless slaughter of children and innocent persons who have fallen victim to gun deaths.

Although the United States have the highest number of known gun owners in the world at 88.7 guns per 100 people, it does not have the highest death rates.

In fact, the United States ranks 10th in the world for firearm related deaths, according to Wikipedia. An estimated 3.6 of those deaths are homicides, while suicides rank at 6.3 percent. An estimated 0.2 percent are rated as unintentional with another 0.1 percent as unknown.

Debates on gun control are a daily subject in the media, with various arguments presented to support the need for or the abolition of guns.

What is being overlooked by the extremists is that any revisions to the existing constitutional amendments concerning guns will cost money and involve lawyers. Such a measure will take years and years to achieve.

Gun ownership is an option that individuals should make themselves, without government input. The right to bear arms — or not — is just as much a freedom as the opportunity to pursue religion — or not.

The process of legally registering a gun limits felons, the mentally challenged and other select groups of people from obtaining guns. But the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary did not have a gun permit. Instead he took legally registered guns belonging to his mother to kill her before destroying the lives of other innocent people.

Removing assault guns from the hands of persons other than law enforcement and national defense personnel might curb part of the mass shootings that occur throughout the world. Restricting the type of guns and the people who have access to them might be one step in the right direction. Another step would be for those persons owning guns to undergo training and teach their children respect for people and for life in hopes of preventing similar tragedies that our nation has experienced recently.

We can no more condemn gun ownership because of the tragedies at Columbine, Sandy Hook, or the theatre shootings than we can condemn religion because of fanatics like Charles Manson and James Jones.

It is not the guns that kill people. It is the people who have no respect for others that get access to guns.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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