Do we need to equip children with bullet-proof back packs before sending them off to school in the morning? The message that sends to children is that we, as adults, cannot keep them safe. Sadly, that is true. We cannot keep them safe.
Let the debate get into high gear. Bring it on. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg is right this time. We are a nation on fire – gun fire.
But gun owners have rights, too. Let’s look at their main arguments. They tell us that it is their Second Amendment right to own a gun.
Another argument they put forward is that they soon will need guns for protection from the government. That has some validity, except for one thing. The government has drones, nuclear weapons, missiles, bombers, and many thousands of troops who are armed. When up against the government, a man with a gun will instantaneously be reduced to a puff of radioactive smoke. If we want the same fire-power as the U.S. government, we need a nuke in every basement.
Gun owners also argue that weapons are necessary to protect their homes and families from intruders. They are correct. We live in a time when no one is safe. Every home should be fortified. Some families chose guns for protection. There are also other options.
On the other side of the debate is the fact that some gun owners have a history of irresponsibility. Too many have not maintained control of their guns. The Sandy Hook killing is a perfect example. News reports, which are still being revised, state that the guns were ‘legal’. The gun owner failed to keep them away from another person. The result was disastrous.
“Guns don’t kill people”. That is what gun advocates tell us. They are correct. Guns don’t kill people. Bullets kill people. Why are gun advocates not pushing legislation that would require guns to be ‘fingerprinted’ in a registry, a requirement that would make any bullet forensically identifiable after it was fired from a gun? A registry would not be fool-proof, but it would be one small step in the right direction. This is important for many reasons. Too many crimes are unsolved because the weapon cannot be found. The bullet may be in the dead victim, but the gun from which it was fired is long gone.
Currently, the Trial of Arizona v Arias is under way. This is a Capital Murder case. The Prosecutor, Juan Martinez, is one of the best. The case put forth by the State is absolutely convincing. The defendant has admitted slashing her lover 29 times with a knife, slitting his throat, and then shooting him in the face. So what’s the legal problem? The gun cannot be found. The defendant testified that she “threw it away in the desert”. Without the gun, it is difficult to prove pre-meditation. Without proof of pre-meditation, the sentence would be reduced, even if a Guilty verdict is reached by the jury. Imagine a defendant ‘walking’, or getting a reduced sentence, after admitting to the crime. This could be avoided if the bullet could be matched to a gun, and if the gun could be matched to an owner.
This article was inspired by the murder Antonio Santiago, a 13 month old baby. Antonio was shot while sleeping in his baby stroller. His mother was quietly walking home in Brunswick, Georgia. She had gone to the post office with her baby. Two boys, ages 15 and 17, are the accused murderers. If the gun is located, maybe the accused will be exonerated, or maybe not. We know their names. We need to know the name of the gun owner. We need to have a way of holding every gun owner responsible for his weapon.
This is a call for all honorable gun owners to come forward. Help us. You tell us how we can end the killing.