While discussing the issue of gun rights, I’ve had some friends suggest that only the police should have firearms. My considered opinion is that there is no fundamental difference between a police officer and a law abiding citizen, insofar as the ability to act responsibly with a firearm is concerned. Nor do I believe that police possess training or skills that a law abiding citizen can’t easily acquire, at least in a way sufficient to allow that citizen to defend themselves and their family. Allow me to elaborate:
Law abiding citizens can easily acquire the skill and training needed to effectively defend themselves and their families
I’ll start out by saying that police officers are little more than law abiding citizens who have taken on the role of enforcing the law in our society. They are given training that is less extensive than is required for many professionals (such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc) and then issued a firearm and a badge. Vested with their newfound authority, they then stand between the criminal elements of society and the law abiding citizens. I say this not to disparage the heroic police officers who risk their lives to protect society, but to make clear that a law abiding citizen can defend his or her self too. I am not suggesting that I would want my fellow citizens who are not law enforcement officers to take on the role of arresting people once a warrant has been issued. Nor would I want my fellow citizens to buy a radar gun and patrol the highway for speeders. Instead, I am saying that when it comes self defense and defense of one’s family against an imminent threat, a citizen who knows how to use a gun can certainly handle the situation.
Both police officers ordinary citizens can use firearms for good or bad purposes
One need only turn on the news to read about people misusing guns. Sometimes the misuse is a matter of carelessness, and other times it is an intentional criminal act. Many times, the people who misuse guns are not police officers (and keep in mind that there are simply many more people who are not cops, than who are cops). However, there are also plenty of cases where police officers are either negligent, (allegedly) reckless, or commit intentional criminal acts with guns. Regardless of a person’s profession, some people will misuse guns, while others will properly use them for lawful purposes such as defending themselves from criminals. Now take into account the fact that criminals bent on committing crime will get a gun despite the laws, and it does not make sense, from a practical standpoint, to try to restrict gun ownership rights of law abiding citizens. To do so will only leave those citizens disarmed and vulnerable to criminals.