On 05-15-2020, Mr. William Elder capitalized on his Constitutional Right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Using his freedom of speech guaranteed under the First Amendment, Mr. Elder wrote and published an article which I am referring to as the First, Second Amendment Opinion. The title was The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America and was published in The Suburban Times.
It sounds like Mr. Elder is on the gun hater’s side. I am not on that side. It also looks like Mr. Elder is a Constitutional expert. I am not a Constitutional scholar, so I do not plan to debate the meaning of the Second Amendment at his high intellectual level.
Capitalizing on the same freedom of speech Mr. Elder enjoys under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, I do have something to say which I shall refer to as the Second, Second Amendment Opinion.
I wish to discuss real-world practical issues regardless of anyone’s opinion regarding the correct and accurate meaning of our US Constitution.
To be clear, while I strongly support our right to be armed, I have no desire to shoot or kill.
Just one of my life experiences reinforces my feelings about this controversial subject. A number of years ago, a domestic violence suspect purposefully released two of his parent’s trained attack guard dogs on my police partner and myself. He had warned 911 that he had a surprise for the pigs (police officers).
The details will have to wait for another story for another time, but I can tell you this. I was forced to shoot one of the killer dogs before my police partner, or I was injured or killed. If I had it to do all over again, I would do the same, but that is not to say I am happy or proud of what the DV suspect forced me to do. In fact, years later, just describing the incident causes me to choke up, making it difficult to talk with a lump in my throat. Tears well up in my eyes. It was not the dog’s fault. It was the suspect’s fault.
Having experienced the life-long impact of having shot a dog, I find it impossible to imagine what it would be like to kill another human regardless of how much evil was being directed toward an innocent person or me.
I have had several opportunities to shoot people as a civilian burglary victim and as a uniformed police officer. Fortunately, I have always been able to use verbal and physical tactics to avoid using my gun on another human being. Yes, I have a gun, but it is a tool to be used as a last resort.
Having said that, if action is required to stop a threat directed at another innocent person or me, I am prepared to use my tool / gun / threat equalizer to end the threat. If you are ever the intended victim of an evil doer, you would want me to shoot the evil doer to prevent you from dying before your time.
(1) Guns do not kill people. People kill people. If the government outlaws and confiscates our guns, innocent victims will be unable to defend themselves. There will still be those among us who want to kill. They will illegally possess and use weapons, including illegal firearms, knives, bats, rocks, poison, or a drill motor to kill others. They cannot be stopped unless we keep them locked up in prisons and mental institutions verses putting them back on the streets.
Realistically, a gun is an inanimate object that lies in a gun safe or just rests in a holster. I have never seen a gun jump out of a holster on its own to kill someone.
Mr. Elder states that in 2015, 33,336 people died from gun deaths. Mr. Elder does not indicate how many of the individuals killed by gunfire were raping or attempting to rob, kidnap, and kill others. Perhaps the big number includes criminals who needed to die for the benefit of mankind.
(2) If we accept Mr. Elder’s logic that 33,636 gun-related deaths occurred in the year 2015, making guns the cause and therefore making guns evil we need to think further beyond the end of our nose. Mr. Elder wants guns taken off the street. If he is correct and I am wrong, then his same logic should be applied to other areas of life.
EXAMPLE: In 2015, 32,166 people died from vehicle crashes. According to Mr. Elder’s thinking, the government needs to confiscate everyone’s cars and get them off the street.
EXAMPLE: In 2018 609,640 people died from cancer. According to Mr. Elder’s thinking, the government needs to round up all the doctors and get them off the street right after they close all the hospitals.
My two examples are ridiculous and, in fact, as absurd as Mr. Elder’s suggestion that we get all the guns off the street.
No American will agree or accept the idea that we get cars and doctors off the street regardless of how many people die. Part of the silliness is suggesting we get guns and doctors off the streets. Think about it. Guns and doctors are not on the street. They are in holsters and in hospitals.
More importantly, there is no direct connection between death and guns, cars, or doctors.
Mr. Elder, until you are ready to give up your car and doctor, please do not encourage citizens and the government to confiscate our guns. If we lose our right to possess and bear arms, I know you are not prepared to guarantee the safety of every American. Do not tell us we can depend on the cops. Cops typically arrive just in the nick of time to draw a chalk line around the victim’s body.
Gary Turney says
A few thoughts, Joe. I’ve heard the car/gun comparison before and I find it faulty. The fallacy, in my view, is that while cars can be deadly, they are not designed to intentionally be so. Guns are. When properly used for it’s intended use a car is not deadly. A gun can be. So it’s kinda like comparing apples and oranges.
That said, I have no problems with the reasonable and responsible use of guns. Of course, like beauty, reason and responsibility are in the eye of the beholder. To me, a reasonable use of guns includes hunting, target shooting, and security or self-defense if the bearer feels the need. However, when a gun owner chooses to own and use a gun, like owning a car it means assuming responsibility for that gun’s storage and use, for as long as the owner has it. Such responsibility includes legally acquiring the gun, becoming and (more importantly) staying proficient in its use, safely and securely storing the gun, using it only for its intended purposes, and properly disposing of or selling the gun should the owner no longer want it.
My concerns are centered around the irresponsibility of some gun owners (and I suppose the sellers). Too often, it seems a gun death or injury is the result of the misuse or improper storage of the gun. A young child, or a felon, or a person with a history of domestic violence or mental illness acquires a gun and someone gets hurt or killed. That gun came from somewhere. Or some incompetent doofus shoots himself or a friend in the leg (Dick Cheney comes to mind….bet no one took his guns away). This needs to stop. Where existing laws are broken, they need to be enforced – strongly. Where there is a loophole in the law, it needs to be closed. And when we see things like citizens taking the law in their own hands, like the Ahmad Arbury case, we need to question whether that is responsible gun ownership – I don’t know all the facts, but it certainly seems not.
One last thought, about magazines (no, not Newsweek). I understand the desire and logic for a multiple round clip. But what’s the limit? Eight or nine – seems reasonable. A 20-30 round clip? Sounds excessive to me. If you can’t hit what your shooting with 9 bullets, 1) what good are another 10-20 and 2) if your aim is that bad I don’t want you anywhere near me with a gun. As I see it, large capacity magazines don’t really give you that much benefit, but they can increase the carnage of mass shooting. (Yeah, I know it’s a very small number of incidents in the grand scheme of things, and mass shooters shouldn’t have guns in the first place, but it seems a small sacrifice that would help.)
Sorry to rant on. I’d be surprised if we are that far apart on our thoughts – you are a reasonable guy. But this idea that anyone with the means should be able to own a gun needs to be addressed. Some people, by law, can’t have them. Others, by any reasonable measure, shouldn’t. I’m pretty sure the authors of the Second Amendment didn’t have in mind a lot of the misuse we see today.
Joseph Boyle says
Mr. Turney, I appreciate your intelligent views presented to my readers and me in such a civilized manner. We certainly could have and might benefit from further discussion and debate regarding the points you make so clearly.
A few more thoughts.
If the car/gun comparison is faulty, then the doctor/cancer comparison I made is seriously faulty. The car/gun and doctor/cancer comparisons radiate from the belief by gun haters that guns are to blame for gun deaths. That lie is where the faultiness begins.
If the gun haters would wake up and put their energy into fixing our broken incarceration system and broken mental institution system, then fewer criminals and individuals with mental illness would be free to have guns to harm others.
The stated intention of today’s Liberal swinging door on our jails, prisons, and mental institutions is to put criminals and mentally ill back into the community. That change, which started decades ago, is a failed experiment and the root cause of many of our problems.
You make an interesting reference to the “reasonable and responsible use of guns.” I am confident I can make the same reference about the reasonable and responsible use of cars.
I have a significant background related to driver’s training, traffic enforcement, collision investigation, and vehicular homicide.
If we went on an observation drive from Lakewood to Seattle and back with the understanding that you would pay me $1 for every traffic violation and collision producing driving behavior I could identify, you would lose a small fortune. Most drivers do not drive reasonably and responsibly. Most vehicle operators are mediocre drivers at best. I am more concerned about being injured or killed by a car than a gun.
It is not the cars or the guns that are the problem. To elevate the intellectual level of our public debate, gun haters need to stop telling the lie that guns are the problem. People controlling cars and guns are the problem.
The design and intended purpose of guns and cars is not the issue. Saving lives is the issue. Death statistics related to guns and cars are similar. If the gun haters are correct that we need to get guns off the street, we need to get cars off the street. Yes, I have circled back to a faulty premise built upon the gun haters’ flawed premise.
This debate is not about design intention. It is about preventing death.
Thank you for sharing your view, Mr. Turney.
Ok, somebody has to say it.. those 20-30 round mags are needed for the zombie apocalypse.
But seriously, yes, there are more responsible weapons owners than irresponsible ones. As of 2019, there are 729,368 registered small arms in American homes. The number of deaths you provided are, as Joe has stated, undetermined in criminal acts. Of those 33K plus, how many were registered? And how many of those were stolen? We keep ours locked when not on our persons. Our children were trained in weapons safety. They’re all grown now and out of the house (finally!). I realise not everyone does that, but a lot of responsible owners do. And those 20-30 round mags? We use those at the range for practise as it’s impractical to load 1 round at a time for every shot.
Gary Turney says
JC – no doubt the majority of gun owners are responsible, I don’t dispute that at all. And at the other extreme are those possess or use a gun illegally – they should have the book thrown at them. But there is a gray area – the guy who is perfectly legal, but leaves his gun in the nightstand with kids who have access, or was never properly trained to use it, or hasn’t been to a range in 10 years. I suspect the number of owners that fall in that range might be higher than we’d like to think. I indeed hope it is low. I don’t know how you fix that without requiring some sort of registration and mandatory training. (As an aside, we do require that sort of thing for cars.)
And back to those 20-30 round mags. I understand completely the utility of them at the range. I’m just suggesting that maybe three 10 round mags are not horribly more inconvenient than one 30 round. I’ll give you they will be handy for the Zombie apocalypse….
Joseph Boyle says
Mr. Gary Turner,
We require renewal licensing for the continuation of our driving privilege, but did you notice how DOL changed from renewing one time per year to one time every five years? We can also renew online.
So what is it all about? The claim that it is all about driver safety is a government lie. It is all about collecting money.
It would be a great help in terms of lowering collisions, injuries, disability, and death if those who wish to enjoy the privilege (driving is not a right) of driving were required to pass a written and driver’s test every five (5) years.
That will never happen because it has nothing to do with collecting more money.
Gary Turney says
Your point regarding license renewal being largely financial is right on, at least as it is done today. (Although I think you are wrong about annual drivers license renewals – I’ve had a WDL since 1972 or so and it’s always been at least a 4-year renewal.) I had a bit of comfort that at least eyesight was being checked every 4 years, but as you point out, with on-line registering (bad idea) that went out the window too. I would support some sort of periodic testing.
You could have been quoting me about driving being a privilege. I have long said that many of our societal issues involving vehicles – impaired driving, lack of insurance, elderly driving when they no longer have the skills – could be easily resolved if as a society we viewed driving as a privilege instead of a God-given right. Most European countries do – but that’s a whole different topic…..
Larry Brickey says
2/3 were suicides.
Joyce Morones says
Gary Turney – well said
After reading the back-and-forth of this debate (which I’ve been thoroughly enjoying), I had a thought. If one of the rationales for banning guns, or at the very least keeping them locked up at all times, is accidental deaths, would the same logic apply to accidental poisonings?
I took a look at the statistics for 2018 listed by the National Capital Poison Center (https://www.poison.org/poison-statistics-national) and was shocked by the numbers I saw. According to their report,
“Across all ages, there were 631 poison exposures reported per 100,000 population. The highest incidence occurred in one- and two-year-olds (7,189 and 6,936 exposures/100,000 children in the respective age groups). For ages 50 years or older, 250 exposures were reported per 100,000 population.”
According to their statistics, 117,298 of the deaths from poisoning in 2018 were a result of cosmetics. Do people actually need cosmetics (a common argument against gun ownership)? The answer is clearly no, yet there are almost four times as many death from cosmetics than guns. Despite that fact, I don’t hear any talk of banning cosmetics. It’s interesting to note the cosmetic poisonings in the USA only represent 12.1% of accidental poisoning deaths. Do the math, and you’ll see the number of deaths from poisoning dwarf that of firearm-related deaths.
As has been mentioned, the majority of gun deaths result from suicide. According to Harvard Politics (https://harvardpolitics.com/united-states/suicide-gun-related-deaths/),
“Yet while mass shootings are unique in causing many fatalities in a short amount of time, they actually represent a small percentage of overall gun deaths in the United States. Of the 35,637 firearm deaths that occurred from January-November 2019, 21,912 or 61.5 percent of them were suicides.”
The NCPC site reveals 19.1% of poisonings are intentional, a number which would surely increase if guns were banned since those intent on ending their own life would simply switch from guns to another option–such as poison.
Finally, to my knowledge no one has ever stopped a criminal by using a tube of lipstick, yet there are between 500,000 and 2,000,000 crimes prevented each year because of the defensive use of firearms.
Will logic change anyone’s mind when it comes to the firearm debate? Sadly, probably not.
Joseph Boyle says
Thank you for joining in on our discussion. You are a highly intelligent and analytical person who does not allow the emotional argument/propaganda promoted continuously by the gun haters to cloud your thinking.
I think you have the ability to write my Westside Story column better than me. Perhaps I should let you take over.
As to your rhetorical question related to changing minds. Probably not. Many people can be so off base when thinking and talking about guns. Often their ignorance of the topic shows, which produces an emotional response, but no intelligent response.
They call ammunition magazines clips not realizing the modern-day gun owners believe in recycling, and because of that, instead of using and throwing away an ammo clip as was the case in WWII, we use reloadable magazines, which means we recycle.
Gun haters call semi-auto rifles assault rifles. They do not call golf clubs, which killers used right here in Pierce County to kill an innocent victim ASSAULT GOLF CLUBS.
There is a lot of off-target thinking that supports the irrational effort to destroy our Second Amendment rights and, therefore our right to protect ourselves and others.
Gary Turney says
Chris – For what it’s worth, I do think obvious poisons should be suitably secured if younger kids are in the home. The obvious ones like bleaches and cleaners, solvents and such. And maybe even keep the detergent from the older ones – remember when there was a rage about eating Tide pods (you can’t fix stupid)?
Like you I am amazed that 117K people died from cosmetics. Can that really be a good number (I am not doubting you, but your source)? If accurate, that’s just crazy – maybe we do need to lock up lipstick! For comparison I just Googled deaths from heart disease and in 2019 that was 647K.
Larry Brickey says
The 2A does not exist just for hunting, plinking or target practice/competitions. It exists to stop government overeach, whatever that may mean. The original intent was for the militia, active and non-active, to have the same small arms as the military. In fact, early on, many had superior firearms like the Kentucky Long Rifle. Keeping said arms from the public was started in the 20th century. You could actually mail order a small cannon in the early 1900s. What is needed is not gun control but crime control. If a law doesn’t have that as the prime reason, that law should not exist.
Joseph Boyle says
Mr. Larry Brickey,
You make an astute observation followed by an intelligently articulated description of your common sense view and I repeat your on target words,
“What is needed is not gun control but crime control. If a law doesn’t have that as the prime reason, that law should not exist.”
There are many forces at work that discourage hard-working cops from arresting criminals. “What’s the use?” There are many days when the jail, for a variety of goofy reasons, will not accept criminals into their jail. If they are booked into jail many criminals are released so quickly freeing them to commit more crimes before the officer completes the police report for the 1st crime.
Then, “here comes the judge”, as they use to say on that old TV show, Laugh-In. Some judges are too soft on crime and criminals.
Judges should adopt TV’s Berretta’s attitude which was, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”
If we want to reduce crime, criminals have got to get the message that the consequences of criminal activity make it unattractive to victimize others.
Thank you for your constructive comments.
Larry Brickey says
Thank you, sir.
Barry Bookman says
I would encourage the readers to read my Second Amendment article posted here on Monday, May 18, 2020. Link here: https://thesubtimes.com/2020/05/16/facts-about-the-2nd-amendment/
First, Joyce Marones states: “Well said”. Perhaps, but neither thought out, or given any pertinent facts as Chris did about. Well said? Sure, but not accurate. There are many silver tongued among us that speak so well, and what they say actually means nothing!
Chris, pointed out several points I was going to make in regards to Mr. Turney’s letter.
Suicides are better than 60% of firearms deaths. And those people would still find a way to commit suicide if they did not have access to a firearm.
Do you really want to prevent deaths? really? Ban un-wanted pregnancies and the resulting abortions. According to google, there are over 600,000 PER YEAR. I encourage people to watch the movie “Unplanned”. But this is not about abortion.
The Second Amendment is a CORE right, being number 2. The first ten Amendments to the Constitution are considered core, and allegedly not subject to change.
Mr. Turney states you should be able to “get the job done in eight or nine rounds”. He is either ignoring facts, ignoring news reports, or is naive. An individual on drugs may require more than ten rounds to get the job done. Sometimes it takes many more than that. And today, we have a lot more people on drugs. There has also been a rise in home invasions, and in those home invasions, there are often two or three perpetrators violently forcing their way into a home. Do you really thing eight or nine rounds is going to stop them? That will be extremely unlikely, especially if they are on drug! If eight or nine rounds is enough, why do the police usually carry 15 or more? With two spare magazines? Because when they need it, they need it.
The Second Amendment is not about hunting or self defense. It never has been. Those things were assumed by our founding fathers. It is about keeping our Republic intact. As a Democratic Republic. Without the threat of an armed populace, it is very possible we would not enjoy the liberties we do today. A tyrannical government would have removed them long ago.
In regard to cars, it is true they were never intended to used as an implement of death, yet they are. How do you prevent the unintended use of a car? You can’t.
What about drug deaths? They are either heavily restricted or banned, yet there are approx 70,000 plus per year.
I could go on, but I am sure most readers eyes have glossed over a long time ago.
Banning or restricting firearms will do little if nothing. That has been proven.
Barry, I read both your article and the reply here. Well put! I’ve never understood why the anti’s want to ban guns from law abiding citizens. It’s like saying, “hey we need a new law. We need to prevent drunk drivers from killing sober drivers so we are going to ban all sober drivers from driving”. I’m not that old that I could buy guns from a hardware store but in high school we all had guns in our cars so we could go hunting after school. None of us ever thought…hey, let’s shoot up a school. Poor parenting, combat video games, banning firearm safety training in schools and on and on are to blame. Not an inanimate object. I’ve never seen my firearm jump up on it’s own and starting shooting. I train kids firearm safety and take them shooting for a reason. I take the mystery out of the gun and teach them how to handle them safely. One of my favorite movie lines: A gun is a tool, Marion, no better or no worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.
The weak minded to not understand. They still think it’s the gun.