Sunday, February 29, 2004

Pejmanesque has a very relvant question that we all should ponder:

"What good is a Republican Senate on Second Amendment and gun use issues if it keeps falling for the peddled myths of the gun control movement?"

Now Pejman confuses the issue of "smart guns" & safety locks a bit, but I don't think so much that it invalidates any points being made.

It's my opinion that if the safety lock amendment gets passed into law then it will take us one step closer to a "msart gun" law on the national level. The idea is that once Congress extablishes the authority to regulate something it won't stop at the initial thing. So this year it might be safety locks required with the purchase of a handgun. Next year when the accidental death rate of children under 12 doesn't shrink considerably they'll extend it to long guns, then when that fails to produce results they'll have some precedent to justify their intent of requiring "smart gun" techinology in all new firearms.

Now the reason the accidental death rate won't be affected by any of these measures is that trigger locks are currently available relatively cheap in all gun stores. Any place you buy a firearm will have a gun lock that will work on it. But possessing a lock does not mean that it will be used. & a lot of times a lock isn't necessary.

The only thing that will reduce the accidental death rate in children (from the 80 or so a year it is now) is education. The Eddie Eagle program from the NRA is a good start, but the best solution is to have the parents teach their children (starting at a very young age - like 4 or 5) about the dangers of careless gun handling. For the kids under 14 or so make it clear that they're never to touch a firearm without an adult present, & most importantly have an adult preent every so often who will watch & instruct the child as he/she handls the weapon.

Most accidental shootings are simply the result of ignorance on the part of the kid as to how the firearm works. whether the kid just wants to examine the gun & inadvertently pulls the trigger or if the kid is playing with the gun & pulls the trigger the motivation is usually the same: curiousity.

Kids love seeing how machines work. They like learning how to operate a toll that seems complex & myusterious & this curiousity is increased dramatically when the kid is denied even supervised access to said tool.

think about it - most homes in America have an assortment of knives & other cutting implements. They're not locked up & the kid frequently knows exactly where they are. But the kid is not completely denied access to them & at some point the parent even teaches the kid how to use it & the dangers of its misuse.

If parents would take the same steps with firearms as they do with knives then we could probably cut the accidental death rate in half. But as long as "gun" is a dirty word & kids are forbidden from learning about them then simple curiousity combined with ignorance is going to result in accidental shootings.

Now I'm not a proponent of government schools. I feel it'd be in everyone's best interest if we privatized education across the board & let the market do its thing. But as long as we have government schools we should try to make them work to our benefit. One thing would be to have a class held once or twice a year with age appropriate curriculum dealing with the proper use, handling & storage of firearms. In elementery schools start off with the basic safety rules & by the time they get to the high school level have them take a clas similar to the state required CCW classes - including the range training & testing.

This would knock out two things at once: it would increase a child's knowledge about how to safely handle & be around firearms & it would negate the requirement for classes in order to get a CCW (& if we can elimate the class requirement as being redundant we're one step closer to getting people to understand that CCW permits are mainly a form of gun owner registration).

So if the Senators who voted for the safety lock requirement are serious about safety, then let them pass a law requirig firearms education in the public schools, & let them pass laws which make it easier for a responisble adult to take a kid shooting, & let the state legislators eliminate the class requirements for CCW permits.

But the fact is they won't. No matter how much they blather about safety & it being "for the children" their real goal is civilian disarmament. Don't believe me? bring up my suggestions th enext time someone supports mandatory locks with purchase or "safe storage" requirements. You'll find it's only "for the children" if it fits their other goals.

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