QL responds:

Wow, thank you Wildfire, for such an impassioned response to my comment underneath Josh Moon in Hot Water Over Registering Ammo Sales. I do appreciate the feedback and it’s obvious you’ve put some thought into gun issues. I just wanted to clarify some points because I think perhaps you’ve misinterpreted what I wrote before (maybe taken it in a different direction than I intended?), and perhaps provide a counterpoint to some things you’ve written.

I don’t endorse using educational level or IQ as a measure by which one determines whether someone is able to have a gun. I think all responsible, competent people should be able to have a gun if they want. There are a gajillion dipsticks on the road with really low IQs who are driving cars. But they drive them safely and with common sense. I honk at them every day :).

But I don’t have a problem with their having licenses to drive. To use driving as an analogy, aspiring drivers are required to train with an experienced driver, maybe take a driver’s ed class, and to pass a skills proficiency test at the DMV, right?

Why can’t a first-time gun purchaser have to do the same? Maybe take a weekend class, and eventually show an examiner that he/she can pick up a gun from a table, rack a slide, shoot correctly with two hands, clear a jam, clean a barrel, with automatic test failure if the purchaser fails to keep his finger off the trigger when not shooting at something or sweeps the muzzle in an unsafe manner?

Sure, it’s annoying. So was going through the same steps to get my driver’s license. And it would go a lot farther than the joke of a safety “demonstration” I had to give to walk out the door with my first pistol to show that one has common sense pistol safety.

I’ve been to the range a enough times to know that in spite of participants signing a form with the cardinal rules of gun safety, yada yada yada, I have NEVER failed to spot at least one noob sweeping the room or failing to take his finger off the trigger after he thinks he’s finished firing, or pointing the pistol the wrong direction when he sets it down. Obviously, reading the rules of gun safety and actually understanding and implementing them are different things.

The examples you gave about various real life tragedies that could have been or were prevented by an armed bystander: Great. I totally agree with you there. A poorly trained individual with a gun has a better chance of killing and stopping a bad guy than an individual without a pistol.

But . . . I’m more concerned about the times when there isn’t a bad guy. Like, when a pistol owner is cleaning his guns. Or is at the range. Or is entertaining friends and family at a barbecue at his house. Then, lack of common sense, lack of training, poor judgment, and uh oh.

I understand there are constitutional rights. And Thomas Jefferson was a learned individual. I respect his contribution to our history. It doesn’t mean I swallow every impressive sound bite of his without thinking the issues through for myself. A quick wikipedia search on him reveals he opposed borrowing from banks and that he owned slaves as well. I think I’ll go with my own philosophies on those issues, thank you very much.

Should people take personal responsibility for the negative outcomes from gun accidents? Oh yeah. It was a great theme for your writeup. I don’t disagree with you at all. It truly is a scary World of Personal Responsibility.

3 Responses to QL to Wildfire: Preventing Accidental Discharges is the Top Priority

  1. I’m with QL. Especially the part about not genuflecting before every utterance of the framers. It’s not what they wanted of the Second Amendment that matters, it’s what we, how have to live with it today, want from it. They could no more imagine the AK-47 than they could women and African-Americans in the voting booth. I believe in the RKBA. I oppose registration especially. But I think we gun owners do ourselves a disservice when we oppose mandatory training. Here’s why: In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be government mandating training. It would be the community of gun owners who would make it socially impossible to buy a gun without being trained. It should be the community of gun owners who would boycott a gun store that sold someone a gun for home defense and let him walk out with it without buying a means to secure the gun from children and thieves. It would be the community of gun owners who would refuse to shoot or even socialize with someone who failed to get himself properly trained before using or carrying a gun. But we don’t do that. We gun owners let our fellow gun owners slide in all kinds of appalling ways. So the great nanny state has to step in. So I interpret that as our fault, not government’s.

  2. Hello! GREAT to hear you, and your fine comment!
    There is a very good chance, that I didn’t make what I intended to say very clear.

    You stated: “I don’t endorse using educational level or IQ as a measure by which one determines whether someone is able to have a gun.”

    My point was to address your statement of:
    “I don’t think EVERYONE has the right to bear arms philosophically. I think competent, responsible people, and only those people, should have the right.”
    What my pre-edited comment stated: “Criminals tend to be less intelligent and less educated.
    Do you believe, that people who have failed to reached a certain level of education or have a certain I.Q., should be able to be stopped and search or have their homes search without a warrant or “probable cause”? Of course not.” (Hey no complains from me about editing… I need all the help I can get! But it seems to have changed the sound of my intent a bit.)

    What I meant to indicate, was that inalienable Rights such as the Right (not privilege) to bear arms found in the 2nd, would be wrong to take away from individuals, just as it would be wrong to suspend the 4th Amendment Right of unlawful search and seizure because of a person’s lack of education or low I.Q. Or training. The Constitution and “Bill of Rights” is a LEGAL contract, while it would make life EASIER to take away the Right to vote from people who would vote contrary to my liking, it would be wrong. As it would be wrong to shut down churches that believed differently than I do.

    What IS needed is to hold the people responsible for the ABUSE/MISUSE of their inalienable Rights:
    Publish lies about my restaurant/amusement park/daycare whatever so that it does my business financial harm. It IS your 1st Amendment RIGHT to say what you like . . . but you can be held RESPONSIBLE for the HARM your misuse of your 1st Amendment Right causes.

    Idiots can and should have their driving PRIVILEGES suspended for wrongful actions while driving, driving is not a Right. (I feel that any death caused by, say a DUI, should bring the same charge and punishment as second degree murder.)

    As for the comparison of guns (Right) and vehicles (privilege): my 12 year old daughter can buy any car she has the money to pay for, she needs no tags, she can legally drive all she likes and doesn’t need insurance as long as the vehicle isn’t taken on to public roads. At 16, she can actually drive on public roads and highways. How many people would think it ridiculous and irresponsible to legally allow teens to buy and carry guns, but finds it perfectly reasonable to allow 16-year-olds free access to 2 ton guided missiles? This view despite the fact that every day over 13 teenagers die in automobiles accidents and in seven of those deaths, the teens were the drivers. (U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 2001)

    Now, think of all the crimes perpetrated with guns; are any of them LEGAL if some other tool was used instead of a gun?
    (“I heard Bob was MURDERED! They said he was SHOT FIVE TIMES! I wanted them to catch that murderin’ SOB . . . Haha! Silly me! Bob wasn’t murdered! He was only stabbed until he died, Bob wasn’t murdered after all.” Nope, still a crime, still murder. But it is a WRONGFUL ACTION.)

    My point, treat the RIGHT as seriously as the harm it causes by the WRONGFUL use.
    “Danny didn’t have any firearm safety trainin’, and he just accidentally shot Scott!”
    Throw Danny in prison, for misusing his 2nd Amendment Right by shooting Scott. (Again: Personal Responsibility.)

    Your idea of “require training”, while it sounds good on the blackboard, it opens the door wide for abused. (Is there any other Rights that you feel should require tests and permits?)

    “Well Q L I’m glad to see you taking your Right to bear arms seriously, by coming in here to buy a gun! You DO have your signed ‘Government Approved Range, Qualification and Safety card’ don’t you? No? Well, you MUST have the signed ‘Government Approved Range, Qualification and Safety card’ before you can buy a gun. Where’s an approved range? Well, they shut ’em all down locally. The nearest one is only 200 miles from here, you gotta have an appointment, and they are booked 2 years in advance. The cost is only $1,200.”
    My example sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?

    But then, look at Chicago for example; the US Supreme Court ruled that their gun ban was unconstitutional…so they started making requirements to make the legal acquisition of a gun so odious and expensive that it isn’t worth the trouble to the average law-abiding citizen. Do you believe that criminals will now obey the new laws? Of course not, they are after all criminals.

    You state: “But . . . I’m more concerned about the times when there isn’t a bad guy. Like, when a pistol owner is cleaning his guns. Or is at the range. Or is entertaining friends and family at a barbecue at his house. Then, lack of common sense, lack of training, poor judgment, and uh oh.”

    The answer again, is “Personal Responsibility”.
    Make the PERSON responsible to the harm they cause through ignorance or carelessness.
    Why should you be denied your Right to personal protection, just because John “might” be stupid?

    You ask: “Should people take personal responsibility for the negative outcomes from gun accidents?”

    Let’s look at the question a little more closely.

    Should/are people made to take personal responsibility for the negative outcomes from texting while driving? Should laws be written to ban cell phone accessibility to drivers?
    Should/are people made to take personal responsibility for the negative outcomes from driving while drunk/high? Should laws be written denying alcohol or pain-killers to people who drive? Just because some people abuse them?
    Should/are people made to take personal responsibility for the negative outcomes from being careless with pools, buckets, water troughs and bath tubs? Should laws be written to require testing and safety classes for these deadly items?Should/are people made to take personal responsibility for the negative outcomes from being careless with fire? Should laws be written denying lighters and matches to anyone who hasn’t taken a “fire safety class”?

    I can hear you now: “Wildfire, I’m being serious, and you are being ridiculous!”

    Really? Think about it.
    In 2001:
    4,550 children died by carelessness with vehicles.
    2,102 children drown by carelessness with water.
    482 children died from carelessness with fire.
    To put this into a little perspective;. . . 72 children died by carelessness with firearms.
    (Center for Disease Control, 20 Leading Causes of Unintentional Injury Deaths, United States, 2001, All Races, Both Sexes, Ages: 1-14)

    But that’s not all; Four children die each day (approximately 1,460) in the U.S. from parental neglect and abuse. (National Center on Child Abuse Prevention, 1998 Annual Survey)
    Think anyone will rush to write laws requiring a “child-permit” before people are allowed to have children? (Need to? YES! Will they? NEVER!)

    Again, thank you for the thought provoking comment.
    Yes, it truly is a scary World of Personal Responsibility.

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