Friday, September 4, 2015

More Guns Is Not The Answer

This column is from the Sun Chronicle of September 4, 2015

GOUVEIA: When less is really more

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Posted: Thursday, September 3, 2015 10:47 pm | Updated: 1:54 am, Fri Sep 4, 2015.
When this country decided to get serious about the drug problem, the main approach to a solution was clear: Make fewer dangerous drugs available to people.
When we decided to address the problem of air and water pollution, the ultimate solution was equally clear: Add fewer pollutants to our lakes and atmosphere.
When conservatives and others discuss the problems caused by illegal immigration to America, they agree on one thing: Fewer illegal and unregistered aliens in our country.
But when the topic is guns and gun violence, there is a sudden and inexplicable reversal in the thought process of at least half of Americans. It goes something like this:
Guns are being used to murder many innocent people in our country. So to stop this wave of death and destruction, we must supply more guns.
More guns. More bullets. More weapons that can kill in the hands of more people. That is the solution put forth to solve the problems of schoolchildren being shot in Connecticut, moviegoers being shot in Colorado, and members of Congress like Gabby Giffords being shot in public places. Not to mention the thousands of victims you don't hear about on the news.
This just makes no sense.
Are these same people suggesting we combat the spread of drugs like heroin by making more of it available? Are they claiming we won't notice air pollution as much if there was just more of it? Would their solution to the litter problem have been to encourage people to throw more trash everywhere?
Of course, none of these are truly valid comparisons. But they all highlight the silly, nonsensical attitude towards guns that exists today in our country.
As I always do, let me say this upfront: I support the right of responsible people to own guns.
But I do not support the insane notion that having national gun registration laws will result in the greatest loss of freedom since King George taxed tea. I do not support the crazy idea that everyone without a criminal record or history of psychological issues has the right to own semi-automatic guns. I do not support the concept that hollow-point ammunition is something everyone should be able to keep in their homes.
I do favor gun registration. I do favor closing the loopholes that allow sales at gun shows. I do favor mandatory national background checks before you can buy a weapon. I do favor trigger locks and similar restrictions that make guns safer.
And I am sick to death (pardon the grim pun) of those who want to make this about the right to own guns. I understand your concerns, and I support that right.
But like your car, you should have to register them. You should have to demonstrate you can operate them safely, the way you get a driver's license. And you should have your right to use them taken away if you break certain laws, become mentally unstable or pose a clear threat to society.
Why is this so hard for some to understand?
Arming teachers does not make schoolchildren safer. Arming movie ushers does not make theater patrons safer. Stop that foolishness.
Guns don't kill people - people do. That old saying is true. Well, somewhat true.
People with guns kill people. They do it far too often.
And yes, people kill people with knives, their hands, cars and a variety of other things. But no one has ever died from a gunshot wound that did not originate from a gun.
I'm OK if you hunt. I'm fine if you are a collector. I'm not opposed to you owning a gun for personal protection. You can keep one just because it's shiny, for all I care.
But the burden of proof is on you to show you can handle it. Be one of the many responsible gun owners who support national gun laws. Agree to reasonable standards that not only keep your family safe, but everyone safe.
Owning a gun might be a right, but it is definitely a responsibility. As a country, we need to take the latter as seriously as we take the former.
Less NRA - more common sense.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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