My Turn: Guns in the hands of unstable people a recipe for disaster

There are certain arguments, or you might call them positions, that I hear and read over and over again from people who strongly advocate for the Second Amendment right to bear arms, any time, any place, under any and all circumstances. I think we are all familiar with this litany.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

I carry a gun for protection. It's my right.

If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

A gun is only a tool. Hammers can be used to kill people, should we ban hammers? Or screwdrivers, kitchen knives, power saws, wood chippers. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.

You can have my gun when you take it from my cold dead hand.

An armed society is a polite society.

And so on.

More than 30,000 people die each year in the United States from gun violence. More than half are suicides, more than a third are homicides.

Thousands of accidents, hundreds of children. And roughly 150 self-defense incidents. Toss in a few hundred police shootings, too. Not to mention the tens of thousands of gunshot wounds that result in untold thousands of lives affected by grief, loss of livelihood and shattered futures.

I believe the culture that not only allows guns to be openly carried and displayed but glorifies it must somehow be brought under control.

Smoking was cool, now it isn't and practically no one I know smokes anymore thanks in part to public pressure and statutes preventing smoking in public. Drunk driving isn't as common as it once was due in part to efforts by M.A.D.D. and others. We know now that the responsible thing to do is take the damn keys away from a drunk. Sure, they might get angry but they will be alive in the morning.

Guns in the hands of unstable people are not a tool, not a right, not self defense, not polite. They become an efficient instrument of death. Please just recognize that reality and before reciting the old mantra, think of the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims over the years who might disagree, if they were alive to do so. Please get behind non-rights-violating policies such as universal background checks, gun security against theft and accidental child access. And I suppose if you must carry one around, please get trained and maintain that training. There is a big gun range out toward Camp Verde that can help with that. Thank You.

Oh, one more thing. Please pray for the victims of the deadly crash in Sedona recently in which a gun played a major roll and for the victims and survivors and their families of the most recent mass church shooting in South Carolina.

William Bassett is a resident of Cottonwood.


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