Grassroots Commentary

Gun Control: A Starting Point

By Ed Schofield · Feb. 22, 2013

I had a problem with my car last week. It wasn't running well, and the engine seemed to be missing. I took it to a shop, where I witnessed the two mechanics argue about how to deal with the problem. One insisted that I needed new spark plug wires. The other argued that I needed a new fuel pump. They yelled back and forth at each other for several minutes before I was able to interrupt them long enough to tell them I was taking my car somewhere else, to a shop where they started by seeking the cause of a problem instead of just jumping to conclusions about what solution was appropriate.

As I witness the loud and somewhat vitriolic debate about the gun control issue, I see the same thing going on. One group insists that there are far too many guns in our culture, but they jump right to their proposed solution of more restrictive gun laws without giving any thought to that basic question – WHY. I'm as conservative as anyone I know, and I am a big supporter of all the Constitutional Amendments, including the Second Amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms. Still, I believe there are too many guns in our society. I have read that there are more than 200 million handguns, over 100 million gun owners, and over 64.5 million guns purchased in the last four years in America. I truly believe that is too many. I think there are too many people owning guns than is necessary, and more than is appropriate. I believe that many of those new gun owners have little or no training, experience, or expertise with their weapons, and thus they pose a potential threat to their neighbors. I do not hear anyone asking the obvious question: Why have 64.5 million guns reportedly been purchased in the last four years? How can we possibly find the right solution to any problem without first asking why the problem exists in the first place? I just don't think there are 64.5 million people who suddenly decided to take up target shooting, hunting, or gun collecting. What sense does it make to jump right to banning certain types of guns when we don't even ask why people are buying guns in the first place? I believe there are two main reasons why law abiding people in America decide to obtain guns.

First and foremost, people buy guns because they are afraid. They are afraid they and their families are in danger from criminals. They believe the police cannot offer them protection and our so-called justice system (which is neither just nor systematic) is unable to deal with bad guys who threaten their lives and property. If I felt that I or my family were in danger from crime in our neighborhood, I would obtain a weapon to defend us. If I noticed a number of burglaries or home invasions where we lived or in our workplaces, with little protection from the police, I would do whatever I felt I needed to do to protect us, including getting a gun. There have been times when I owned a gun. I worked for a short while as an armed security guard, and I had my own handgun. After I realized I did not want to pursue that career, I quit and sold my gun. When I lived in rural western Colorado, out in the country, I owned a .22 rifle for varmints, and even a 30-06 deer rifle. When we moved back into the city, I rid myself of both, because I no longer had a reason to keep them. As long as we feel safe in our home, I have no reason to keep a gun. But, once again, if I felt that my family was at risk from criminals, I would get and keep a gun with which to protect us.

The second reason I think people get guns is because they believe there will come a time when they will need one, but will no longer be able to get one. It seems reasonable to me that a significant percentage of the 64.5 million guns purchased in the last four years were bought because people believed that they might need one sometime in the future, but were afraid they will not be able to get one when they need it. Even people who live in safe neighborhoods now can fear what the future holds, and anything that threatens their ability to defend their families in the future can lead them to jump the gun (pun intended) and take preemptive action, now. Clearly, all the talk about new gun control laws restricting the ability to legally purchase guns feeds this fear and has the opposite of the desired effect.

Instead of screaming about banning guns, mostly the ones that “look scary”, let's take a more rational approach. Once we take a long and strong look at why so many Americans feel the need to have guns, we can address those reasons and deal more effectively with the situation. There are a number of things we can do to make our society a safer place, and when we do so, I believe there will be far fewer people convinced that owning a gun is the only way they can protect themselves and their families. The best part of addressing the problem in this manner is that it can lead to fewer guns and fewer gun incidents without having to deprive anyone of their rights, as protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, to keep and bear arms. I have no fear of people who own guns because they enjoy target shooting, hunting, or gun collecting. If I feel safe in my home and my workplace, and have no fear that my rights will be taken away in the future, I personally have no reason to have a gun.


wjm in Colorado said:

You sir Ed, are part of the problem. It is not a "need" to have a gun, but a Right! You have the right to go without and wait for the chalk outliners. I live in a rural environment, and choose to have a pistol that shoots shot for snakes. I enjoy taking rabbits with my .22 to suplement the high cost of meat. When the government or anyone else starts telling me what I need, that is tyranny, and with the Marxist Statist crowd now in power, gun sales are skyrocketting. You should fear the Democrats with every bone in your naive body, and go out and rearm. I think your sentiments are those of one of Lenins Usesful Idiots, and you are a frog in a pot of water.

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Murray Bass in California said:

The third reason that so many people are buying guns is that they fear their own government which is becoming more and more oppressive all the time. That's why I bought mine. I believe that our present government has refused to abide by the Rule of Law, I believethat there is intent to create an armed civilian "standing army." To defend against that standing army is why the second amendment was created. It doesn't matter what you believe. If the people believe that their govenment represents a threat to them, their families and their freedom. they should have weapons to protect themselves . I do agree that there should be training that accompanues the purchase of every gun. Privately run

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 8:37 PM

G. Daylan in Peoria, IL said:

Your problem is “control” in “gun control,” a term that was probably created by some media person. What the Progressives want to control is not guns but people and they know that it is not easy to control those who won’t obey the laws. So, they posture and pretend that more laws will reduce gun crimes all the while knowing that they won’t be effective but that they will increase the governments' (at all levels) control of the people who are not criminals or crazies. Their accomplices in the media will march lock-step with them. Try and remember that whenever a new law is passed, somebody, somewhere loses his liberty.

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 4:33 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

This is typical liberal BS. Just because the author decided he doesn't need any kind of protection in his home doesn't mean the rest of us have to go along with that idiocy. Like wjm, I believe he completly misses the point of owning a gun. It's the right that matters and not the reason why you have one. I live in a small town but we have a problem with crime just as any other town. Break-in's into homes and cars are on the rise. I suspect this is fueled in part by the high unemployment in the area. I hope Schofield never has to confront an armed criminal breaking into his home. He has made the choice to put his family at risk because he sees no reason to own a gun in the city. He can only hope the criminal steals whatever he can and doesn't decide to kill him and his family.

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA said:

"They believe the police cannot offer them protection "

GUNS:The Untold Truth
John Gaver

The police are not required to protect you, as an individual!

In fact, I challenge you to think of just one case where the police have actually prevented a crime. When you think about it, the actual job of the police is not to prevent crime, but to investigate crime, catch the perpetrator and bring the perpetrator to court - ALL after the fact.

Think about how the police work. They try to take the bad guys off of the street. How do they know who the bad guys are? They know, because the bad guys did something bad (past tense). So, by putting the bad guy in jail, you can argue that the police prevented potential crime, protecting the public at large. But the act that put the bad guy behind bars was a real crime, with real victims.

But, it is not the job of the police to protect individuals. That is a pretty powerful statement and deserves some support. There is, in fact, so much support for that statement that I could write a book on the subject. Fortunately, Richard W. Stevens has already done that. His very excellent book is "Dial 911 and Die." I encourage you to get the book and read it. Then, if you don't already own a gun, buy one and learn how to use it. Your life could very well depend upon it.

In fact, the courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled consistently that the police are responsible only to the public at large and not to individual citizens. This means that even when police do their best, the courts recognize that there may be some individuals who they just can't to get to in time. It happens all too often. When it does, the citizen is left to fend for himself until the police arrive. That's the time when even gun control advocates wish that they had a gun, as happened with many gun control advocates during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Imagine their distress when they learned that they had to wait 15 days to get a gun.

Full article:

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Anton D Rehling in Olympia, WA replied:

The State Police, the City Police and Sherriff Deputies have no legal obligation to defend and protected the citizens and cannot be held libel as case law has shown for the failure to do so.

The citizenry must look to themselves for that protection.

Notably, the Supreme Court STATED about the responsibility of police for the security of your family and loved ones is “You, and only you, are responsible for your security and the security of your family and loved ones.
“It is well-settled fact of American law that the police have no legal duty to protect any individual citizen from crime, even if the citizen has received death threats and the police have negligently failed to provide protection.”

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 1:13 AM

rab in jo,mo said:

You have made a personal decision based upon the perceived needs of you and your family. In this decision, you have abrogated your right and responsibility to defend yourself and your family, instead choosing to rely on others to protect you. That is your decision.

I, on the other hand take the right (and responsibility) of defense of my self, family, and country quite seriously and am willing to do whatever necessary to accomplish this task.

I do have to wonder though, you mention that you would arm yourself if you felt your family was at risk from criminals. What about criminals in DC that are continuing to break their oath to uphold the US Constitution? Don't you think this might be a threat to all of us?

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM