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It's Not Guns, It's People

In light of the recent shootings in Arizona, local gunsmith Charles Cheshire of CC Gunsmithing shares his opinion about gun control.

Firearms are dangerous tools, and as with any tool, proper training is essential in order to maintain safety. Trying to restrict the kinds of firearms people can buy only serves to perpetuate more violent crimes and to attain firearms illegally.

People with the intent to commit a crime are not going to buy a firearm legally, or register it in accordance with the law, because they are a criminal. It's not the firearm that possesses ill-intent, it's the person using the firearm in the commission of a crime. The same way a drunk driver gets behind the wheel, someone using a firearm makes the choice to do so.

Continuing with the driving analogy, we have different licenses for different classes of motor vehicles, why not different licenses for different types of firearms? Instead of a blanket "firearm safety course," people should get certified for the firearm they want to own.

Rifles and shotguns, classified as long arms, would require more education and training in ballistics. Rifles fire rounds much further and farther than pistols or shotguns, because of the ballistics involved, the neck of the cartridge, the powder used, and even the shape of the round.  Shotguns deliver a very powerful round, usually with multiple small projectiles, at comparatively short range.   Pistol owners would be required to take a class that emphasizes proper storage, and training for having to handle the weapon in self-preservation and property protection situations..

All firearm owners would be required to show proficiency in the firearm they want to purchase. Just as we have a behind the wheel test for drivers, we should test people's ability to operate a firearm, and people found to lack the skill necessary to operate a firearm safely would be disqualified... 

I look at Switzerland, where all adult men are issued an "assault rifle"  and required to be proficient in their use as part of the state militia.  There is little violent crime in Switzerland, much less than here in the United States.

In 2002, there were 9,369 killings with a firearm in the U.S. compared to 68 in Switzerland, according to NationMaster.com.

Why is it in a country with fewer firearm regulations, there is so little crime, and here in the United States, where even ammunition sales are regulated, the crime rates are so much higher?

The laws in place for controlling firearms aren't working. People are still willing and very clearly able to circumvent existing measures to obtain them. In Switzerland, everyone has access to firearms, and crimes are still committed, yet firearms are rarely used in a crime.  In the United States, firearm crime has it's own grim statistic.

It is unfortunate that there is no certain way to predetermine who might become mentally unstable, or who might be intelligent enough to evade psychological questioning and purchase a firearm for nefarious means. Yet restricting everyone from owning a firearm doesn't seem to be keeping people safe.

Steve Silva January 16, 2011 at 08:53 PM
Actually, It's people with guns. We can't outlaw people, so what are we supposed to do? Force Schizophrenics to register with the authorities? That's kind of like what Hitler did with Jews. No, all we can do is is enact laws that force gun owners to be safe, and responsible with their weapons. Gun registration and control is not popular, but, it is the answer. Steve
James V. Lee January 17, 2011 at 02:14 AM
In reading the article I notice that the author writes that ". . . in Switzerland, all adult men are issued an 'assault rifle' and required to be proficient in their use as part of the state militia". This sounds like one very big government regulation to me. Furthermore, I imagine that psychotics, schizophrenics, and other people with serious mental (or physical) conditions are disqualified from Switzerland's militia on medical grounds. The Tucson shooter was turned down by our military (not being able to stop using drugs long enough to pass a physical sounds like a pretty bad medical/psychological problem to me), so it sounds like he wouldn't have been able to get his gun if he'd been living in Switzerland. Jim
Andrew Smithson January 17, 2011 at 02:39 AM
Registration yeah that's the answer and can we also each get a gold star to wear on our clothing. Some people obviously do not know their history registration is so the government knows where the weapons are at and knows where to go to get what. It really does not help solve crimes it is for our governments benefit much like it benefitted Hitler. The only true way to help is eduction teach them to properly handle them. Then allow them to carry dumb punk kids are less likely to rob you when you turn around and shoot them. Think the M.A.D. Theory otherwise known as mutually assured destruction it worked with the cold war why can't it work for general public safety. When will people learn that when you regulate something so much that even honest people cannot own a weapon for their own self protection that the criminal will still be there with one and killing you and taking what they want. The idea of no guns is nice in theory but you will never be able to disarm everyone.
Teri Lowery January 17, 2011 at 03:47 AM
Hmm. I own a gun shop and have a few customers who arrive in my shop after they've been robbed or something has made them aware that they need to acquire a firearm for themselves or a loved ones. I refer them to our local sheriff's office for training, but that's only for handgun use and practice. It makes sense to require someone purchasing a firearm to know how to use it.
George Sliter January 17, 2011 at 04:33 AM
I just don't get it. Are you saying that the guy who purchased the gun he used to kill six people should have been sent to a sheriff's office for training so that he would have been certified and been safe with the gun before he used it to murder those innocent people? Please explain.
Charles Cheshire January 17, 2011 at 05:02 AM
As the author of the article, I'd like to take each of these in turn... Steve, it amazes me how many people believe laws make one safe. The OBEDIENCE of laws helps maintain a lawful society. You mention the Nazis, are you aware that before our involvement in world war two, the nationalist party criminalized private ownership of firearms, and confiscated firearms from civilians? James, I'd like to answer your question in my response to George... Andrew, yes, in a Utopian society, there would be no need to hunt, or protect yourself from the acts of others. Unfortunately, we aren't quite there yet... I think that when emergency personnel can take up to days to respond to a catastrophe, I like being able to protect myself, my loved ones, and my property. All I can hope to do is educate safe shooters, and have fun. George, Teri, and James I don't know if training would have stopped the tragedy in Arizona. I would like to think that by adding a training and operation requirement to existing standards would, at least, help educate people about firearms, the realities and dangers of them. I'm not sure if training needs to be performed by law enforcement, so much as a qualified firearm instructor. The instructor would have an opportunity to evaluate the state of mind and proficiency of the citizen wanting to purchase a firearm...

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