Gun Violence is Preventable

It is impossible to not be horrified and shocked by an assault weapon rampage that in one month has cost at least 50 Americans their lives, including eight residents of a Carthage nursing home.

But we need to offer more than sympathy — we should pledge to end gun violence, no matter the opposition or the difficulty.

When gun violence strikes we shake our heads, we mourn those lost and some of us ask “Why?”  Then, unfortunately, we shrug our shoulders and return to our lives. Gun violence is the only epidemic that as a country we’ve written off as incurable.

It’s an epidemic, however, that we know how to treat. Rules on safely storing and handling firearms work to stop violence before it begins.  Sensible gun legislation keeps weapons out the wrong hands.

It appears our state legislators haven’t all gotten this message. During this month of horrific violence we’ve also seen a crop of dangerous bills proposed. Instead of working to prevent gun violence, SB 782 would repeal the required permit for handguns — providing no way to keep domestic violence abusers and the dangerous mentally ill from obtaining a deadly weapon. Worse yet, the “Shoot First” bill provides almost total immunity to someone who chooses to use lethal force.

Rather than working with law enforcement to create safe environments, our legislators seem to be telling us that our safety us up to us. Is this really the best we can do: a return to the days of the Wild West, with everyone packing heat?

12 Comments

  1. Louie

    April 9, 2009 at 11:44 am

    from what I have read in the N and O, the shooter was a heavy alcohol abuser and “nerve pill” popper and that he “couldn’t remember” the violent episode.

    It’s scarey that the drugs that are causing the most harm to society are LEGAL and heavily advertised in the media.

  2. dmin

    April 9, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Just to set the record straight, all firearm transfers conducted by federally licensed firearms dealers (a.k.a. FFLs) are required to pass a NICS (The National Instant Criminal Background Check System) check. The NC pistol permit system predated this check, and duplicates it’s efforts. A person with a history of a list of mental illnesses, felony convictions (in most states), or the subject of a restraining order, would fail a NICS check, and be denied the transfer.

    If you knew more about how the NC Pistol Permit system worked, you probably would favor getting rid of it. First off, permits issued by a sheriff are good for five years. A potential handgun purchaser that has a valid purchase permit is not submitted to a NICS check. If they make a purchase with a permit, even though they are not legally entitled to do so (by the conditions mentioned in the original post such as a subsequent criminal conviction) the purchaser would need to lie on the application form, but no check of the federal database would be conducted by the FFL.

    Further, the Pistol Purchase Permit law was passed in 1919, a vestige of the Jim Crow era, allows a sheriff to deny an applicant the ability to purchase a handgun for any reason. N.C.G.S. § 14-402 provides:

    “Prior to issuing a permit, the sheriff mustfully satisfy himself/herself by affidavits, oral evidence, or otherwise, that the applicant is of good moral character…”

    Since “good moral character” is such a subjective measure, denial of a permit could for failure to attend church regularly, cohabitation, on public assistance, etc.. To me, this doesn’t sound like a very progressive system.

  3. Rob Schofield

    April 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Xlnt post Roxanne. You’re right in highlighting the dangerous proliferation of dangerous firearms in our country and the complete lack of vision and courgage from elected officials (even when law enforcement officals ask them to help!). Heck, it’s largely American guns that are being used in the Mexican drug wars. There’s a great new export for our economy.

    I’m just waiting for some legislator to introduce a bill authorizing “concealed carry” for nursing home residents and people who visit government offices.

  4. CtrlZ

    April 9, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Roxane,
    You are right in saying gun violece is an epidemic and what was started in America has been spreading.
    While listing to your interview on Democracy Now couldnt help but think of a recent article by Mark Ames. You can find here http://exiledonline.com/alabama-shootings-just-another-bloody-battle-in-americas-thirty-years-class-war/

    Better regulated gun control agreed is a good step but more deeper understanding and education on violence in America should be addressed.

  5. Radio4All

    April 10, 2009 at 5:55 am

    too bad that Raleigh Television Network still doesnt carry Democracy Now. nany would have liked to hear you Roxanne

  6. Daniel

    April 10, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Violence committed by one person against another person is reprehensible whether using bare hands, stick, pipe, knife, shovel or firearm. In short there is no such thing as “gun violence”. This term concentrates too much attention to the tool instead of the person. We should be discussing violence committed by people using weapons including guns.
    In many cases if the laws we presently have on record are enforced, and we have proper inter-agency communication, there will be less violence with guns. Because most, but not all, crimes with guns are committed by people who possess the firearm illegally.

    Look, people commit violence against people because they think they have low risk. With “no firearm” policies, they have a pretty good idea that people who obey laws will not carry weapons where they are not permitted. Makes illicit target selection just that much easier. I work at an establishment with big signs in many places that state “no firearms of any kind allowed”. Take a second and think like a criminal might think. Will these signs stop me from entering with my illegally possessed gun?

    Roxanne makes the point about legislators assisting law enforcement in providing safe environments. Surely, one would not expect police to protect against all crimes unless each of us has our own personal officer with us around the clock. It should be obvious that law enforcement agencies concentrate of solving crime first and crime prevention after that. Why, because they are rarely around to stop the types of events that are considered in this legislation. Cases in point are the recent events Roxanne mentions. The police were not around. How many lives might have been saved in these locations if just one law abiding person had been carrying a pistol. It is possible the only person that would have been harmed in these instances would have been the criminal.

    In this country there is a very basic right to bear arms. Of course it is to protect life and home. But, the right is in place primarily to protect our American freedoms from government tyranny.

    We really need to think anti gun laws through completely.

  7. IBXer

    April 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Daniel is right. There is no such thing as gun violence. People who are sick in the head and want to kill people will find a means. If you take away a person’s ability to get access to a gun you might be preventing a Columbine but you are probably creating a McVeigh.

  8. mike

    April 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    When are yall going to point out that these shootings are happening in “gun free” zones?? Basically these zones mean that only criminals are allowed to carry guns there.

  9. t.k.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Did a so called “assault weapon” even figure in these recent shootings? I know the NC shooter carried a shotgun….the Citizen ship shooter carried a handgun……

    Seems like the left wants assault weapons to be banned so badly they’ve taken to lying about how often they are used in crimes…sad but nothing new.

  10. t.k.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    How does anyone know where the guns used by the Cartels in Mexico come from???? The Mexican Government has refused to allow the release of the serial numbers of these guns. Furthermore, an individual just cannot LEGALLY waltz across the border into Mexico with guns, legally obtained or not…..so how are we to expect that the Mexican cartel gun runners are going to obey the law when we Americans so conveniently give up our 2nd Amendment rights “to save Mexico”. Duuuhhhhhhhhh. But don’t hold your breath because we aren’t giving in.

  11. DKA

    April 15, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Guns do not kill nearly as many people as automobiles do, and don’t hear any of the liberals screaming to outlaw automobiles. Does not take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that almost all of the Mass Killings take place in Gun Free Zones. The nuts know that they are basically safe to do whatever they want there and that no one has any means of protecting themselves. Let’s get real people. Think that a law should be passed that every citizen must possess a gun of some type. Bet the crime rate would be cut in half.

  12. Nate

    August 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    http://os.cqpress.com/rankings/CrimeStateRankings_2009.pdf

    Wake up! New Hampshire has the lowest crime rate in the country.
    Take a look at ther Gun Laws!
    http://crime.about.com/od/gunlawsbystate/a/gunlaws_nh.htm
    When a criminal knows there is likely to be a gun in the home, the criminal is less likely to breakin. If the criminal knows a person is likely to carry a gun, the criminal is less likely to mug or attack.

    Look at Vermont (2nd lowest)
    No permit to purchase or carry!
    http://crime.about.com/od/gunlawsbystate/f/gunlaw_vt.htm

    Maine 3rd lowest
    Permit to purchase handgun? No
    Registration of handguns? No
    Licensing of owners of handguns? No
    Permit to carry handguns? Yes
    http://crime.about.com/od/gunlawsbystate/a/gunlaws_me.htm