letters to the editor

Re-examining ‘inconvenient facts about gun-free zones’

“Inconvenient facts about ‘gun free’ zones” [Aug. 10 issue, Opinion page of the farragutpress] is a pro-gun position statement rationalizing a pervasive gun culture.

It is the author’s opinion that 1) a gun law intended to protect us from a bad guy only serves to prohibit a good guy and 2) the police cannot be everywhere so it is best for her, her family, and society that she carry a gun everywhere, at all times for protection. This reasoning is superficial.

In the author’s view is it senseless to have a law that a bad guy is sure to violate. Well of course the bad guy does not adhere to the law, that is why they are bad and is why we have laws. In some cases we can expect our laws to be a deterrent. However, our laws primarily provide a framework and set boundaries for societal norms. The purpose of our laws is to have legal recourse against those who would violate them. Should we abandon our laws because the “bad guy” won’t obey them? I think not.

The author’s second assertion is more disconcerting. She believes because the police cannot be everywhere it is best to have a citizen carrying a concealed weapon to protect us. The author believes that she and her family are safer in a crowd because she carries a gun. However, does that really make you safer or place you more at risk?

Professional law enforcement agents are subject to rigorous training and meet a high standard of marksmanship. If you are a gun owner, you know that it takes skill, training and consistent preparation/repetition to precisely and consistently hit a motionless target. It is difficult, especially with an inexpensive handgun. Most gun owners do not have the skill or persistent training/practice to acquire and maintain the level of marksmanship required of professional law enforcement. Frankly, most gun owners cannot demonstrate a consistent ability to precisely hit a motionless target.

Yet the author is asking you to believe because she has a gun that you and your family are safer. She expects that you are better off with her fighting the bad guy before the police arrive. You must trust her to hit a moving target, for most likely, the bad guy will not be standing in place. You also must trust her in a crowd under the most chaotic conditions imaginable to be skilled enough to avoid collateral damage; that a wayward shot or ricochet bullet will not kill or maim you or your family.

You also must trust her to distinguish between other “good guys” and “bad guys” with guns. For according to her logic, other good guys are sure to engage in the fight. She is also asking professional law enforcement, when they do arrive on the scene to instantly distinguish between the good and bad guy, as if the good guy is always wearing the white hat.

Gun advocates are pressuring our state legislators to allow gun owners without a permit or any special consideration, such as training and demonstration of marksmanship, to carry a concealed weapon whenever, wherever they wish. Gun advocates call this “constitutional carry” although it has nothing to do with 2nd amendment rights.

Before “constitutional carry” becomes law you must decide: 1) if protection provided by professional law enforcement or by vigilantes is best for you and your family and 2) if you wish to empower the KKK and other radical racist and white supremacy groups to carry their concealed and/or semiautomatic weapons whenever, wherever they wish. You decide by writing your representatives and how you vote.

Ralph Battistelli