Given the recent dialogue on gun control laws, I think that the people who want better gun control laws should stand back and let the “responsible gun owners” make the case for them. Here’s a sample from recent headlines that had me scratching my head today.
- Leonard Embody stirred up some trouble in Nashville, Tenn., by walking around town with a loaded AR-15 while wearing body armor. Police arrived on the scene after several complaints, but Embody was not interested in cooperating.
- A sheriff’s deputy who told a Reno mother that her mentally ill son had a right to prove that “he can be a responsible gun owner” was wrong, the Carson City sheriff admitted on Tuesday.
When Jill Schaller returned from a vacation she took earlier this month, her 19-year-old son ran out of her home carrying a gun he bought from Reno Police Sgt. Laura Conklin. Conklin sold the gun without a background check because it was a private party sale.
Schaller called 911 on July 7, and Washoe County Deputy John Graves responded. He told her that her son’s purchase was perfectly legal. Graves wrote in his police report that the man deserved a chance to prove to his parents that he is “a responsible gun owner.”
- Amid a growing firestorm of criticism, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan tried to offer some answers today after two deputies shot at and injured an unarmed man in his own driveway. The story has garnered national attention since Saturday, when 60-year-old Roy Middleton was shot in the leg while rummaging for a loose cigarette in his mother’s car.
One would think that members of the law enforcement community would be considered amongst the group of sensible gun owners as they carry as part of their job, and they also enforce the laws governing guns. It should make one think when even law enforcement officers have the perception of not showing the best in judgement.
I’m not passing judgment on any of the people involved in these stories here, but using the perspective of an average citizen, why would anybody think it’s ok to walk around town wearing body armor with an AR-15 strapped to your body? This is a classic example of “just because it’s legal, that might not be a good idea” type thinking. If you’re doing nothing wrong, why not answer questions from cops to put them at ease. Given the rash of mass shootings, when they get a call like that, I can only imagine the adrenaline is already pumping before they hit the scene. A little common sense goes a long way at times, and it was definitely needed there.
Also, private sales are perfectly legal, but the sale in Arizona shows an inherent weakness in the current system. There’s no way to know whether a person can legally own a gun without a valid background check. You can’t always look at someone and tell if they are legally restricted from owning a firearm. WIthout checking, there’s no definitive way to ensure guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.
Finally, all I can say about Florida is “just damn”. I’m really beginning to wonder if it’s safe for the citizens of Florida who have enhanced melanin to leave the house. I know they’re not the only victims of gun violence there, but when you’re getting shot up just steps away from your own home, something ain’t right. It’s even worse when the victim is unarmed. Police have a stressful job, and sometimes they have to make split-second decisions that may not seem remotely justified in hindsight. I sincerely hope the deputies in Florida were acting within their training, even if that training is wrong. A problem like that can be corrected with adjustments to training. If they were acting on their own, then I’m at a loss for words.
One final issue I have about gun ownership that I rarely see addressed by any of the factions is training. I could care less about someone wanting to express their right to carry a firearm. I’m more concerned with that person’s ability to carry, use, and defend that firearm in a confrontation. Just having a gun doesn’t mean diddly squat if someone can take it from you and use it on you.
When trained people can lose their weapon in a scuffle, what does that mean for the untrained?
- Nev. mother questions gun sale to mentally ill son (usatoday.com)
- Private NV Gun Sale: There Oughta Be A Law! (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- Supressed AR-15, body armor and a stroll downtown, TN gun activist challenges cops, goes to jail (VIDEO) (guns.com)