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© Copyright 2003, Jim Loy
One of the USA's national disgraces is the many thousands of people who die every year from hand guns. Guns do both good and harm. The chances of harm are great, unless you handle that gun responsibly.
A gun is not a toy: OK, guns are fun. They really are. But please remember that this gun is serious business.
Guns don't kill people; people kill people: This saying is true, to a large extent. It is a short way of saying a lot of things, like the many deaths are done by irresponsible people, by idiots and wackos who will kill, accidentally or on purpose, with or without a weapon. But people (even safe, responsible people) make mistakes. And death can result from a mistake. You don't make mistakes? Very likely, you will not make a mistake with that gun. But you are fooling yourself if you say that you don't make mistakes.
Guns are designed to kill: That rifle is meant to kill deer or whatever. That pistol is meant to kill human beings, maybe in defense. But I repeat, guns are serious.
Children: Children play with guns, toy guns and real guns. They play cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, war. They shoot to kill, "No I was just wounded." You own a gun; any child who comes in to your house may search out that gun. All children must know not to play with a real gun. They shoot themselves and their friends all too often. That should be stopped. That must be stopped.
Your family: If you handle guns responsibly and safely, that also means that you make sure that anyone who may come in contact with your guns will also handle them responsibly. Safe handling may mean that other people will never handle this gun, because it is locked away or because they really know that they must never touch it. Visitors (children, in particular) will not handle that gun.
The unloaded gun: Unloaded guns do kill people. That means that many people are killed by loaded guns which were thought to be unloaded. You know that your gun is unloaded? It is your job to check it again; is there a bullet in the chamber? Maybe you accidentally chambered a bullet. Maybe you weren't thinking. Maybe someone else did it. This gun has been locked up for ten years; assume it has a bullet in the chamber. Be safe. Be paranoid about that gun.
Don't point guns at people: Of course you never point your gun at people, unless they are threatening your life. But all kinds of people point a gun at a friend (or themselves) as a joke. Besides being stupid, and deadly, that is assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, which can result in a long prison term. That's a good joke.
Equalizer: The other guy is a bully. He threatens to beat the tar out of you, he makes you feel like a weak worm? A gun would make him back down? No, think again. He's going to laugh in your face, and then what are you going to do, shoot him? If you think so, then there are a whole lot of things wrong with your reasoning ability. The law says that you can't use that much force against a bully who might beat you up. Too many people think, "I'm afraid of him, so I will (threaten to) kill him." That is too much force. If there is a direct possibility that this person will kill you, then you can use a gun, but you had better be able to prove that you were about to die.
The NRA: The NRA (National Rifle Association) is mainly concerned with safe handling of guns, and protecting our Constitutional (2nd Amendment) right to own guns. But sometimes (often), they sound like the very wackos who they are afraid of. They sometimes sound like they are saying, "Don't try to take away my gun, or I will kill you." Is this what they are saying? Good image, huh?
Protection: If you own a gun for protection, the chances are that you will never need to use it. But it may be comforting to know that you have it. But the chances that that gun will end up killing an innocent person (small though those chances are) are much greater than the chances that that gun will save your life, or your family's lives.
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