Personal responsibility seems to be something that our society is lacking these days, especially insofar as guns are concerned. Rather than blaming negligent adults who didn’t store their gun in a safe and responsible manner when a small child shoots his or her self, we blame guns. Rather than blaming the adults who did not follow the basics of gun safety and unintentionally shoot themselves, guns are the scapegoat. Instead of blaming criminals, we pass gun control laws that the criminals will just ignore, just as they ignore the laws against robbery, murder, and rape. This is ineffective, leads to wrongful violations of the rights of law abiding citizens, and teaches our children the wrong message. Allow me to explain:
Children Shooting Themselves
When a child gains access to a gun, it is almost invariably the result of an adult’s negligence or recklessness. Parents who own guns should take care to store their guns in a safe and responsible way so that their children don’t gain access to the gun. Furthermore, parents should help their children understand guns and gun safety, so that their children won’t play with a gun should they find it. As the children age and become more responsible teenagers, parents should teach their teenagers to safely handle guns under adult supervision. This approach will allow prevent children from playing with a gun due to a lack of understanding, which is important since even the most diligent parent’s children could find a gun at a friend’s house.
If the basic rules of gun safety are followed, it is virtually impossible to accidentally shoot oneself or another person. That is why there is no such thing as an “accidental” shooting; only a negligent or reckless shooting. If the gun is not loaded, it cannot be fired unintentionally. Even if the gun is loaded, keeping the safety engaged and one’s finger off the trigger will prevent it from being fired. Even if the gun is loaded, and the trigger is pulled unintentionally, keeping the gun pointed away from people will prevent them from being shot. It really is that simple, and people’s failure to act responsibly is just that, not an “accident.”
Criminals Using Guns
As the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park have shown recently (and historically), criminals will ignore gun bans. This is not because the guns caused law abiding citizens to become criminals, or because the criminals didn’t know that that it was against the law to have a handgun and use it to rob people. Rather, the criminals are human beings with free will, who have chosen to embark on a life of crime. Guns are not the cause of crime. Rather, a combination of fact that some people are predisposed to crime, and economic conditions, lead to crime. Instead of blaming guns and enacting ineffective gun control laws, we as a society should simultaneously insist that criminals be held accountable for their crimes through better enforcement of the existing laws, while allowing law abiding citizens to defend themselves against the gun toting criminals. We should also take action as a society to improve our education system, to ensure that those who want an education can get one, and enter the workforce as law abiding citizens.