Too many times somebody who knows absolutely nothing about firearms gets one and “accidentally” kills another. Recently a grown woman was “playing” with a pistol and “accidentally” shot and killed her friend. First of all, guns are not toys and shouldn’t be “played” with. Second, accidents do not “happen”; they are caused.
Several years ago I was an EMR on the Brooksville VFD and an auxiliary officer on the PD. We had an incident where a child was “playing” with a stolen 9mm pistol when he “accidentally” shot and killed his playmate. Too often the only “knowledge” some people have concerning firearms comes from TV, movies or video games. Very little, if any, of it is accurate.
This is just the type fodder anti-gun zealots want to bolster their claim that “people don’t need guns. “It’s true that some people shouldn’t have access to guns, such as the mentally infirm, criminally inclined, convicted felons, and those too young and too immature to responsibly handle guns. Taking guns away from honest, law-abiding citizens will only create a wider “gun-free zone” where only criminals will have guns and be able to commit their crimes without fear of being stopped (permanently, perhaps) by an armed, law-abiding citizen.
Every school should have a class on gunmanship, where students can learn about firearms: how to load and unload them; how to clean them; plus true gun control-hitting your target. There are many rules of gun-handling that the ignorant should learn, including these:
Never point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy.
Never touch the trigger unless you are ready to fire.
Always know your target AND what is behind/around it.
All guns are always loaded until you check to be sure it is empty.
Once fired, a bullet cannot be called back.
Alcohol does NOT “mix” with gasoline (driving), pasteboards (gambling), or gunpowder (shooting).
The Second Amendment guarantees us the right to keep and bear arms, but there is a big responsibility that goes along with that right. If somebody knows diddly-squat about firearms but wants to learn, then do it the right way. Many of us “old-timers” either are self-taught, learned from our elders or were taught in military service. Sadly, those are not options any more for far too many people. Since federal and state laws (stupidly) forbid the possession of firearms on school property, I think that somebody should establish a firearms school for neophytes, so they can learn the basics. That would do more than anything/everything else to reduce the “accidental” gun deaths and injuries.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.