Let’s skip to the last paragraph of Do you know the gun owners in your circle? [via baltimoresun.com] and work our way back to the beginning. “Gun owners may feel picked on, but they are not a persecuted class. They are individuals who have chosen to keep in their homes an object whose chief purpose is to injure or kill, whether in self defense or otherwise. The rest of us should have a right to know it’s there before we — or our children — enter.” I don’t think that word “right” means what “contact reporter” Tricia Bishop thinks it means . . .
Ms. Bishop fails to understand that her rights end where others’ rights begin. Worse, she combines her inherently tyrannical view with white guilt and paranoia. Like this:
I’m less afraid of the criminals wielding guns in Baltimore . . . than I am by those permitted gun owners. I know how to stay out of the line of Baltimore’s illegal gunfire; I have the luxury of being white and middle class in a largely segregated city that reserves most of its shootings for poor, black neighborhoods overtaken by “the game.” The closest I typically get to the action is feeling the chest-thumping vibrations of the Foxtrot police helicopter flying overhead in pursuit of someone who might be a few streets over, but might as well be a world away. But I don’t know where the legal gun owners are or how to ensure that their children, no matter how well versed in respecting firearms, won’t one day introduce that weapon to my daughter.
Are we talking about a formal introduction or something dangerously casual? Joking aside, I fully acknowledge the possibility of the latter – which is why I’ve taught my children the four safety rules and told them what to do if one of their friends starts “playing” with a gun. Interrogating my neighbors about their firearms storage patterns prior to a play date never occurred to me. Any more than I’d ask about where they keep their household chemicals or car keys.
And so, as President Barack Obama announced plans this week to tighten background checks for gun buyers and increase gun tracking and research, I thought, that’s all well and good, but how about adding something immediately useful: a gun owner registry available to the public online — something like those for sex offenders. I’m not equating gun owners with predatory perverts, but the model is helpful here; I want a searchable database I can consult to find out whether my kid can have a play date at your house.
Ms. Bishop isn’t equating gun owners with sex offenders – only she wants society to treat them the same way. And she wants gun owners to quit whining and take their medicine. Because they choose to own guns. Which are useless for self-defense: “If I’d had a gun the one time I was the victim of a violent crime (in upstate New York), the outcome would have been a lot worse than it was, with the firearm turned against me in short order.”
Thankfully, that didn’t happen. But I’d like to turn Ms. Bishop’s words against her as she attempts to mug my gun rights. She says “the risk to owning the gun isn’t worth it to me.” I say good for you. Now leave me alone.