The answer is not more guns
January 29, 2013
"Guns don't kill people. People kill people." "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
These are all phrases designed to make us feel that not only are guns harmless, but the more the better.
Now, with 50 percent of the world's guns, we are the most murderous, developed nation on Earth.
Wayne LaPierre of the NRA suggested that we put armed guards in all our schools. There are approximately 100,000 elementary and high schools in the country.
We need responsible laws requiring everyone who buys a gun to have a background check, even if it’s a private sale.
Most of these schools have more than one entrance and many are too large to be covered by one guard, so several hundred thousand armed guards would be necessary.
Although many say that any expenditure is justified to protect our children, someone is going to have to pay the bill.
A quick calculation places the cost at more than $10 billion a year.
LaPierre wants Congress to come up with this amount. Considering the current environment, I'm sure this won't happen.
Even if we did get the necessary guards in our schools, would they do any good?
Wouldn't they just be the primary target for a shooter who would know who they were?
Wouldn't we also increase the chances of accidental shootings?
Certainly a firefight on one of our campuses would be something to be avoided.
Is arming our schools only the first step? What about shopping malls, theaters, public squares?
I'm sure the major groups enthusiastic about this approach are the gun manufacturers and distributors, the main sponsors of the NRA.
LaPierre also wants us to make a list of all the mentally disturbed people in this country.
Who would be put on this list? Would it include all with Aspergers like Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook? How about those with autism or PTSD?
Or what about people with an anxiety disorder or those who suffer depression? Would there be any of us who are left out?
Other than a horrible violation of privacy, what use would be made of the list when background checks are frowned upon for gun purchases?
The answer to the problem of gun homicides is not more guns.
This is just like using gasoline to put out a fire.
Instead, we need responsible laws requiring everyone who buys a gun to have a background check, even if it's a private sale.
Registration of all guns and limiting the kind of guns that can be sold is needed.
The law should also require that guns be protected from unauthorized use.
Ed Patterson lives in Penn Valley.