One of Ronald Reagan’s signature phrases was “there you go again.” Well, here we go again. Another senseless shooting and, in response, more senseless response from the anti-gun crowd.
To catch you all up to speed, a vehemently pro-gun gal in Florida left her loaded .45 in the back seat of her car and was promptly shot in the back by her four-year-old. Tragic for all involved and thank God she’s going to survive.
What’s wrong with this picture? Extreme negligence. In fact, criminal negligence as, in Florida, it is illegal to store or leave a loaded gun where a child has access to it. This is a great law and any sensible gun owner should practice it. Makes one wonder what Gilt, who runs the Facebook Page “Jamie Gilt for Gun Sense” was thinking. But like comedian Ron White says, “you can’t fix stupid.” And I don’t mean any disrespect to Ms. Gilt. Let’s face it, we’ve all done really stupid things at some point in our lives but most of us have had the luck not to be harmed by them.
Gilt of all people should have known better and once she’s released from the hospital she should be charged for her criminal negligence. But Gilt’s biggest crime isn’t leaving her gun in the back seat, as bad as that is. Her biggest crime is being the poster girl for weakening gun rights. The art of rhetoric died long ago so, “Look! Gun nut got shot by her kid with her own gun! Ban all guns!” is now a valid argument when, in reality, it’s nothing more than a straw man.
This article in the Guardian is headlined “the macabre truth of gun control in the U.S. is that toddlers kill more people than terrorists do.” Okay, so what?
Anti-gun folks like the author, Lindy West, enjoy trotting out the old canard that the U.S. has too few laws regulating guns so their answer is to pass more laws. (More laws is de rigueur for the Left; it’s the ultimate cure for personal responsibility.) But let’s just explore that in the case of Gilt.
The law preventing children from having access to firearms didn’t work in this case. Maybe we should require gun owners to go through training? That’s fine. I think you’ll find that the vast majority of gun owners are well trained and strongly advocate that anyone using a gun be welled trained as well. But considering that Gilt runs a Facebook Page about gun “sense”, I’d be shocked if she hadn’t gone through training and, clearly, the training failed in this case. Yet, as tragic as the outcome was, let he who is without blame cast the first stone. We’re all guilty of disregarding our training at one point or another. If we weren’t, there wouldn’t be more than 5 million auto accidents per year. And this is key.
We have laws designed to prevent car accidents and they clearly don’t work for some folks. Yet we don’t ban autos. If a law preventing guns from falling in to the hands of four-year-olds doesn’t work and gun safety training doesn’t prevent all accidents, I don’t see any next logical step to prevent gun accidents short of banning guns all together. And, despite what many of them argue otherwise, the end goal of the anti-gun crowd is to ban all guns. Why? I won’t attribute malicious, statist aims to them, even if a large contingent does harbor these desires. No, the majority in the anti-gun crowd, like most on the left, have largely benevolent aims. But like Reagan said, “the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s that they know so much that isn’t so.”
If “common sense” gun regulations (like keeping guns out of the hands of four-year-olds) doesn’t work; is banning guns going to work? Well, in the case of accidents like Gilt’s, maybe. Certainly if law abiding citizens didn’t have guns then there would be no chance of accidental shootings occurring. But the “cure” of banning guns is worse than the disease. It’s trite but true but if guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns.
Accidental shootings are tragic and even one is too many. We need to continue to encourage gun owners to go through gun safety training and continue to drill in to them that leaving your gun within reach of a child, even for a second, is dangerous. In fact, any intelligent gun owner will tell you that your gun should either be in your hand, in a holster, or in a carrying case, preferably a locked one. If Gilt had been following these most important of gun safety tips, this accident would never have happened.
But here’s the really tragic thing about reality. Accidents happen. The fact is, the chances of anyone being accidentally shot by a small child are very small. While exact statistics are hard to come by, we do know that in 2011, 591 gun deaths were declared accidental and 102 of these were victims younger than 18; half of those under 13. In a nation of 320 million people, while the chances of being killed by a terrorist are less, the odds of either are quite small. In fact, if we really want to go around banning “scary” things, we may want to look at stairs, the third leading cause of death in children age 1-4; and swimming pools, which are 100 times more deadly.
Later in her article, West points out that her children “already know of at least one friend-of-a-friend who was killed in a school shooting. Again, tragic, and I obviously have no idea who this person was, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it wasn’t an accidental shooting and, furthermore, the gun was not legally owned by the parent (it clearly wasn’t legally owned by the student). Again, all the laws on the books and any more we can think of short of banning guns all together wouldn’t have done anything to prevent the vast majority of school and other “mass” shootings out there.
West’s entire article is filled with canards and straw men too numerous to address in this article, but I will end with one more; “keeping a gun in your house increases your chances of accidental death by shooting, but does not make you safer.” Simply not true. Firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect lives than take them and typically, gun “accidents” are far from accidental; more often than not being the result of too much alcohol. (Alcohol also contributes significantly to the cause of suicides and homicides.)
Again, as tragic as any gun death is, statistics don’t back up our fears. West and her anti-gun friends should not fear guns. She should respect them and the people who carry them.
As for terrorists, while they don’t pose much of a threat here in the U.S. (yet), this is due, almost exclusively to, yes, you guessed it, the “good guys with guns” West views as a “fantasy.”