Monday, June 30, 2014

Don't Blame Guns - Because No One Actually Is

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday June 30, 2014

By Bill Gouveia


In the wake of yet another recent senseless and violent school shooting, one thing has become abundantly clear to me.  Those who keep saying guns are not to blame are absolutely right.


Not a one of those guns used in the school shootings went off by themselves.  Every single weapon was fired by an individual who intended to kill those in their sights.  The blame for the deaths of innocent children and adults in these situations lies with those people, and not in the inanimate objects they fired with such effectiveness.


My friends on the pro-gun side of the debate have totally convinced me of this undeniable fact.  They say it all the time.  Gun Rights advocates tell us it is the people firing the weapons who are defective, not the guns themselves. 


They point out how no one suggests we ban or restrict the use of automobiles after some crazed killer runs down a crowd with a vehicle.  It is senseless to blame guns for these national tragedies that just keep occurring, they say over and over.


And while they are correct, there is one glaring problem with their logical and quite effective argument: 


They are pretty much the only people making the ridiculous suggestion that guns themselves are being unfairly attacked.


Sure, there are some extreme left-wing liberals who want all guns banned so the world will be a peaceful place where everything is decided by calm discussion and the sharing of crunchy granola.  But they are in the vast minority.


Most Americans who favor stronger gun control laws do not want guns taken away or banned.  They dont want an America that is weak and defenseless.  They believe people should be able to responsibly own firearms for their own protection, and for various other reasons.


Instead, they want strong laws that make it harder even if only a little bit for these mentally unstable and irresponsible individuals to get their hands on guns.  They want preventive measures that try to restrict guns to those who responsibly handle them, and away from those who would use them to kill in our schools.


So I have decided to back the more conservative voices in this great discussion.  It is time to concentrate our attention on those who might perform these heinous crimes, and less on the tools they use during them.


Now how do we keep these potential killers from using innocent guns to kill our friends and neighbors?  Hmm, lets think about that.


Hey how about we require stringent background checks on a national basis whenever someone buys a gun?  I know, it wont prevent all the nut-jobs from getting their hands on firearms.  But if it only prevents one dead schoolchild a year, wouldnt that be worth it?


Maybe we should protect the poor guns by making sure they cant be blindly acquired at gun shows by people trying to find loopholes through which they can gain access?  If we keep them out of the hands and homes of people unworthy to own them, these killing machines cant be unfairly maligned.


Perhaps we require mandatory gun training for those who receive licenses and make sure they properly register their weapons.  This should be no big deal for the millions of people who keep and carry guns for all the right reasons.  They are merely trying to protect their families and homes, or perhaps do some hunting or sport shooting.  They should welcome the chance to keep guns away from those who dont follow their excellent example.


It is not the fault of guns that they can now be virtual weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the crazed or irresponsible.  Guns do not choose to be empowered with the ability to fire hundreds of rounds of ammunition in mere seconds.  It is the people who purchase weapons designed for warfare rather than personal use who put the pressure on law-abiding American gun owners.


This problem has never been about guns themselves.  The real issue has always been who should have access to them, and how regulated that access should be. 


It is time to listen to those gun advocates.  Theyve been right all along - sort of.


Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime area town official.  He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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