So let's talk about 'gun control' like adults, shall we?

Let's lay it out there: Guns in America - Yes or No? Here are some thoughts to initiate reasonable dialogue, with no right or wrong answers.

The horrific tragedy that has befallen Newtown has not only brought mourning to that beautiful town, but it has also brought the 'gun control controversy' back into the public mind.  On both sides of this issue there are pros and cons.  Instead of knee-jerking any emotionalistic reaction to this issue, either for or against, let's take a breath, sit down, and talk like reasonable adults.  This is our Nation, and we need to speak openly now.

For the sake of full disclosure, I am a US Army Infantry Vet, a registered Independent (Conservative rightist), a husband of one, and the father of two. 

Now then, let's get started here.  I'd like to simply make statements and ask questions for your perusal and response if you wish to jump in.  I shall endeavor to present both sides of this issue as best as I am able, but I will of course rely on others to help me fill in the gaps with their acumen, opinions, and reasonings.

1.  Private and legal gun ownership in America is a Constitutional right.

We have the right to keep and bear arms. This has been modified, of course, to prevent Americans with criminal records or record of having been committed to a mental institution from being allowed to have private guns.  But the main Constitutional right still remains.  No criminal record, no history of being institutionalized, good to go.  Some people purchase guns to hunt.  Some to do target shooting/skeet shooting.  Some are collectors.  Some buy them for home/personal defense.  Do you agree or disagree that guns are a Constitutional right for all law-abiding citizens who have no record of mental illnesses?  I'm not asking if you like or dislike guns.  I'm asking if you believe in the Second Amendment as I have presented it here.

2.  Guns are used too frequently these days to commit mass murders.

There is no denying that guns, both legal and illegal, have been used to commit murders in our Nation.  Illegal guns take that credit more than legal guns.  One needs only look at Chicago's homicide rate to verify ths.  I don't need to present any stats on this, now do I?  Nope.  But let us consider this: when a drunk driver kills innocents, is there a public outcry to regulate or ban vehicles?  Or is there a public outcry to impose stricter regulations on alcohol sales?  Vehicle ownership and alcohol consumption are not Constitutional rights.  They are luxuries.  (It could be argued that in these modern times it is imperitive to own transportation, but even then, that doesn't make it a Constitutional right.  It merely makes it a practical need.)  If there were no guns, it is said, then there would be no gun-related deaths.  Since the removal of all guns in America is impossible, the next argument states that we should impose severe regulations on gun ownership, even more so than what the Federal government has and what many individual States have.  Okay, so say we do impose near impossible regulations and legislative restrictions on private gun ownership.  Will that deter criminals from acquiring guns?  Will it bring an unspoken sense of justice to the victims of Sandy Hook?  Will it prevent another Sandy Hook horror from becoming reality?  Again, one needs only look at Chicago, (or Washington DC), and its harsh gun regulations compared to its gun-related homicide rate to get an idea.

3.  People have the right to firearms, but do they really need semi-automatic rifles? 

This is a question even now that I am mulling over.  A handgun for personal protection, a shotgun or rifle for hunting, and perhaps a shotgun for home defense are acceptable to many citizens.  While they might cause a bit of a nervous flinch with those outside of gun culture, they are tolerated and not viewed as over-the-top egarding the Second Amendment.   However.  Once we get into semi-automatic rifles or full-automatic machine guns, people get downright rabid against them.  The argument is that such weaponry is simply not needed for normal, everyday citizens to own, and that these particular weapons, specifically the semi-automatic Bushmaster AR 15, made it easier for Adam Lanza to cause such horror, and for the Batman shooter in Colorado to do what he did.  But is this a fair presumption?  Like the car that goes over 180 MPH with little effort, that car is legal and well within the right of a person to own and drive one.  So it is with these weapons.  I would ask a person with a hot rod why they needed to go so fast, and they might say to me, "Because I can."  Maybe if I were to ask a person with a weapon that hasa rapid rate of fire why they would need such a weapon, they might say, "Because I can."  Does the legal availability of such weapons somehow prompt or tempt others to go on killing sprees?  Is it similar to giving condoms to teens to prevent them from getting females pregnant, (just in case, wink-wink), but knowing deep down inside it will only give them the impression we are encouraging such activity?  What say you?  (And I am not aksing about your opinion on condoms and teens, so stick to the issue here.)

4.  Adam Lanza and other mass killers have the common thread of being mentally/emotionally unstable. 

A discussion has begun that examines the need for mental health screenings for weapn ownership.  In the case of Adam Lanza, however, this is moot since he was not legally able to buy a gun due to his age.  But we're going to pursue this anyways, regardless.  Reports are coming out that Adam Lanza was within the Autism Spectrum, falling into Asperger's Syndrome.  He also had a deep desire to avoid physical contact, and it is said he didn't feel pain like you and I.  I have heard conflicting reports on whether or whether not he was on psychtropic drugs to keep him balanced, so I cannot comment on that, since I am unsure.  The Batman shooter in Colorado was proven to have been on prescription meds, however.  Coincidentally, many of the murders done by teens/early 20's are linked to Ritalin, Luvox, Prozac, Zoloft, and Praxil.  Anti-depressants. The take-away here is that we have a culture of kids on heavy meds who then commit heinous murders.  All because they were diagnosed with one or another kind of emotional/mental disability.  I am thinking that medical records should be submitted when one wishes to purchase a firearm of any kind, simply to screen for anti-depressant usage.  That would be a regulation that makes sense, without infringing upon The Constitution outright.  If you don't qualify, then no gun for you.  Period.  What say you?  Again, the issue here with Adam Lanza is not that he personally owned any weapons of his own, but that he used stolen weapons to commit his crime.  I wanted to clarify that.

So what should we do, then?  I mean, it is not as if you can look at a person and discern some kind of mental/emotional disability from their appearance.  If they are on prescribed meds, they might act completely normal, save for perhaps a bit of phsical lethargy or minor mental slowdown.  Were you to interact with me after being without proper sleep for several days, you would see the same thing, and I have no record of mental/emotional disability.  You might be the same way.

No one I know of is arguing that people on prescription meds should be allowed to have guns.  No one.  No one I know is arguing that people with autism or Asperger's are within their Constitutional rights to own a firearm.  So is the case of mental illness and gun ownership even an issue here, or is this merely a talking-point to use for gun control by the anti-gun group, since Adam Lanza had Asperger's?  What say you?  Help me out here.

5.  What about our schools?  Should they have armed staff or armed personnel on site?  Is that what we are coming to as a community and as a Nation?

Too many debates have taken place, (and some I have been involved in), that center around the 'what if' category.  They go like this: Well, what if there had been armed personnel on site in Sandy Hook?  Would that have changed anything?  Would that have stopped Adam Lanza?  ...and so on...  I will be forthright and say that I believe armed personnel on site would have made a difference.  I do know that schools are 'gun free zones'.  I get that, I do.  I have every intention of teaching my children about guns so they will respect them and be able to properly use them.  The word 'guns' around my House is not a dirty word.  But that's my gig, and I do not expect any parent to follow in my footsteps.  Moving on.

Would it have made a difference in Sandy Hook?  The problem is, we can only speculate.  We have seen what happens when crazed madmen open fire in environments where weapons are not maintained.  We know it all too well.  That, right there, is what I would wish to avoid ever happening again.  What say you?  Yes or No to armed personnel in our schools?

6.  Lastly, do you honestly believe, taking yourself out of any emotional whirlwind, that either removing, or strictly regulating, private gun ownership will have a positive lasting effect?

I am sure I am missing other key talking points here.  I would ask for your assistance and insights into this issue, regardless of whther or not you are for or against guns in America.  This particular blog posting is not intended to stir anyone up.  I am actually sitting here, typing this, much like I would sit at a table with someone, perhaps over coffee, discussing issues that are relevant.  In simpler terms, I am not looking for an argument or a shouting match.  I honestly desire your thoughts.

Thank you for reading.  I look forward to any responses.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rich December 23, 2012 at 07:06 PM
"Cost efficient? Not at all." What price would one reasonably determine is efficient or reasonble to attempt to guarantee the safety of our children when we send the to "school"? Mr. Borsch, you mentioned you would prefer to see the armed guard strategy decided locally, town by town, via referendum or vote correct? Is so, would it be reasonable to limit or restrict a town to vote on all potential methods of gun violence aversion? Why would we not allow our voters and taxpayers to have the opportunity to choose other strategies in addition to armed guards?
Rich December 23, 2012 at 07:11 PM
"A single round costs between 25 - 35 cents. We would be saving the taxpayers quite a bit of money." What is the cost to employ and administer to one armed guard? Six armed guards and their firearm and all of there $.30 rounds used in training. Bethel, CT=minimum of 18 armed guards on the payroll, benefits, gear, rounds, training. How could we assign a level of "taxpayer savings" to this?
Rich December 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM
"The best planing we can do, I believe, is like I said: Put a sign in the entrance of the building letting everyone who reads it be well-informed that death is what awaits anyone who would seek to harm the occupants inside. Trials cost way too much money. A single round costs between 25 - 35 cents. We would be saving the taxpayers quite a bit of money." I would heartily and respectfully disagree. This is definately not the best we; the USA, can do.
Brian G December 23, 2012 at 07:52 PM
The real "tough guy" appears to be the one who restrains an adult with a mental disability for not going along. My thought, you probably got what you deserve. FYI...love the flag. Lots of poseurs have taken to it the last couple of years.
Rich December 23, 2012 at 11:53 PM
"If they get off one shot or 10, they are as good as dead." Perhaps. Or not. And what of 9 of the 10 shots hit children? What if 1 of the 10 shots hit children. In the post event analysis would we then conclude that the armed guards are effective? Would it even matter even if 1 child lost their life?
Brian G December 24, 2012 at 12:48 AM
We should better control who gets a gun and who doesn't. We should also better control the types of guns available to the general population.
Rich December 24, 2012 at 12:56 AM
"Does that sound better and more civilized? ;)" No. I'm not sure I communicated my point properly. I did not intend on challenging the the "civility" of your response. Im my mind; when considering the reality of armed guards in our schools as an aversive strategy to gun violence and considering the effort it would take to implement such a program, I would conclude that 9 children dead with armed guards is not more palatable or acceptable that 20 children dead without armed guards. To me, this is not an improvement worth the effort to implement such a program. One child dead as a result of gun violence is not different that one hundred children dead because of gun violence. I am not saying I have ruled out armed professionals in our schools, I am simply pointing out that it does not represent a thorough solution. It does not take advantage of other safeguards that could be implemented to avert gun violence in schools. Additionally, it does not address the national epidemic of gun violence in venues other than public schools. It was my understanding that this discussion could not take place if we were to focus soley on the tragedy at Newtown.
Rich December 24, 2012 at 01:01 AM
A worthy approach and one that I will take example from and follow. Time for food, family and worship (not particulary in that order). God Bless, Merry Christmas and Peace.
Rich December 24, 2012 at 01:43 AM
"Again, no one who is using murderous logic would enter a gun zone with the intent of causing damage, but man they sure gravitate towards environments where no guns are allowed." I would disagree and contest the validity of such a statement. As stated before, I do not believe logic always applies when speaking of criminals and there actions. I would declare that if one can provide one example of a school shooting where guards were present if diffuses the above premise. Some may be less inclined but others would try regardless.
Rich December 24, 2012 at 01:56 AM
"You could bring up Columbine as an example of the failure of having an armed person on site to prevent and deal with gun violence, of course. But that is one example as compared to four others." I could provide 100 examples of schools that have implemented a "Gun Free Zone" where a shootings have never occured. I'm not using this as an argument for "Gun Free Zones", but rather demonstrating what I believe to be a logical fallacy in your argument above.
Paula Antolini January 16, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Regarding cost of any safety measures in school (and with all the arguments about cost factors that are in the comments here) can anyone tell me WHAT is more important to spend funds on (or pay salaries for, or buy building or security materials for etc.) than the safety of our children? Name one thing.
Paula Antolini January 16, 2013 at 11:54 PM
What needs to be top priority is security at the schools, period....whatever it takes. Satisfactory security to PARENTS. Then yes, all the other contributing factors need to be dealt with seriously too, but leave the hen house unguarded while issues are being discussed, voted upon, made into law, looked into, fought about, studied, etc, and you can expect the fox to enter again.
Paula Antolini January 17, 2013 at 12:41 AM
A parents + school officials + town officials+ police meeting to discuss these particular school issues is in order for EVERY town in the US, wouldn't you agree? It's the "in the meantime" that scares us the most (regarding child safety).
Lois Imbriano Barber February 28, 2013 at 12:07 PM
The problem with one state having strict guns laws, but not the neighboring state is that guns are transported across state lines. Alas, we cannot regulate common sense. Nancy Lanza had a semiautomatic weapon with large bullet magazines with a mentally ill 20 year-old son, the grandmother who just killed her 2 year-old and 6 month old grandsons was also mentally ill. Why anyone in her family would allow her to own a gun is beyond me. I took away my dad's car keys and sold his car last year because I knew he was becoming a danger on the road. If we cannot regulate common sense -no texting and driving should''t even have to be a law; people just shouldn't do it - we need strict national guns laws that are enforced. Close all loopholes, like no background checks at gun shows and ban semiautomatic weapons. Our Police should never be outgunned. We need socialized medicine so that everyone can have access to mental health professionals. I guess the answer is not as simple as new gun laws. 12/14 was a combination of someone mentally ill being able to get their hands on a legally bought semiautomatic weapon.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 28, 2013 at 03:54 PM
"...ban semiautomatic weapons." Lois, you have just about decimated nearly all of the firearms out there. Aside from single-shot rifles, and 6-shot revolvers, and black powder muskets, etc..... And if you eliminate a civilian's ownership of semi-automatic firearms, leaving only the police with them, you have inadvertently created a "police state" where the populace is out-gunned. Do you want that?
Crusader Rabbit February 28, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Donald, Donald, Are you proposing that it would be a useful exercise to engage in a gun battle with the police? Can you provide an example where someone was able to 'hold off' their local PD much less the military forces of the USA? Are you saying that you're OK with shooting police officers or US Soldiers?
Donald Borsch Jr. February 28, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Rabbit, My goodness, no. The last thing I am desiring is to engage in any firefight with anyone, let alone the police or military. However, I see the danger in taking guns away from law-abiding citizenry and saying only the police/military should have guns. This creates, as I said, an inadvertent police state. Armed government with unarmed citizens=police state. Bad idea. Semi-automatic is the most common firing style of firearms today. To eliminate them for public usage would severely cripple our ability, if needed, to defend ourselves against any entity that would seek to oppress us. Like The Second Amendment allows us to do, if needed.
Bill Hillman February 28, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Socialized medicine? we need that? here's a differing opinion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRdLpem-AAs
Crusader Rabbit February 28, 2013 at 09:42 PM
@ Donald, Well, that's a relief and (for what it's worth) I don't think you're in the survivalist crowd. Against whom then would the guns be used? The Russians, China, Mad Max? I'm sure neither of us want to wind up in a Thunderdome or "Red Dawn" scenario! I understand the armed police state vs. unarmed civilians scenario but I think any possibly of an equality of arms between the government and civilians (even in a well regulated militia) was gone shortly after the Constitution was ratified.
Lois Imbriano Barber February 28, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Do you really think a few citizens like Nancy Lanza here & there could stop the gov if they wanted to take over? Personally, I would rather the Nancy Lanzas of the world to not have these weapons.
Bill Hillman February 28, 2013 at 10:37 PM
@Lois, the government has already taken over. The question is, how many in law enforcement, the military, the National Guard will keep their oaths. Any real resistance would need to come from within those ranks. Joe Citizen has no real chance against what would be overwhelming force. On the other hand, armed citizens do stand a chance against looters (as in super-storm sandy in some locations)
Lois Imbriano Barber February 28, 2013 at 10:54 PM
I've gone to shooting ranges and loved it. (So did my daughter.) I am not for disarming citizens. However, I do not think anyone should have the right to own assault weapons (semi-automatic). they are just too dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. We need to eliminate loopholes for all firearms. Everyone talks about the right to bear arms. What about the pursuit of happiness? One of the great joys of today's youth was to go to midnight showings for Big Blockbuster films that are opening, but not anymore. Sadly, those days are gone. I don't think anyone wants their teens to go to any of those anymore and if, as an adult, you attend, you must be always checking the exit doors. I think the pursuit of happiness and safety outweighs the right to bear arms. At this point, I think I am more likely to be shot by a criminal that I am being shot by a solder or a police officer. How about you?
Donald Borsch Jr. March 01, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Crusader, Oh, wait. I'm sorry. Allow me to elaborate. You see, I am a survivalist. I support The SA because I do think the day will come when the government will go crazy and start coming after free citizens. This does not mean, however, that I have a firearm loaded by the door, or booby-traps in my yard, or other such things. And I surely do not sit around pining for the day when the "Brownshirts" come banging on the door! Not at all. I'm hardly living in my mom's basement reading old issues of Soldier of Fortune magazine while wearing camo. I am attentive and cautious, Crusader. But I live my life, day by day, taking care of my family and paying my taxes. If trouble is to come tomorrow, I will deal with it when tomorrow comes. But I'm not rushing into any tomorrows.
Donald Borsch Jr. March 01, 2013 at 01:06 AM
@Lois, You said: "Personally, I would rather the Nancy Lanzas of the world to not have these weapons." Why? She broke no laws.
Donald Borsch Jr. March 01, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Lois, You said: "I think the pursuit of happiness and safety outweighs the right to bear arms." But Lois, do you think any of the recent shooters were trying to show support for the Second Amendment, or were they just batsh*t crazy?
Lois Imbriano Barber March 01, 2013 at 11:04 AM
Donald, this last comment doesn't even deserve an answer
Bill Hillman March 01, 2013 at 03:09 PM
The pursuit of happiness is independent of the right to bear arms. I fail to understand the argument made by many that one counters the other. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other, period! Lawful ownership and use of firearms does not impact anyone's "pursuit of happiness" other than it's too damn bad if you are unhappy that someone owns a firearm. Also, let's point out the fact that "pursuit of happiness" was part of the Declaration of Independence as a justification for armed revolution. "pursuit of happiness" is not in the bill of rights, the right to keep and bear arms is... in part to insure the right to pursue happiness as alluded to in the declaration. So can you explain how you think one is balanced against the other? You had a mental nut case steal weapons, murder his mother, steal more weapons and then go on a killing spree. What the heck does that have to do with the right of law abiding people. Why punish the rest of us because of the murderous acts of a psychopath?
Donald Borsch Jr. March 01, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Lois, Oh, so you're saying it would be a waste of time for me to be awaiting it with bated breath, then?
Donald Borsch Jr. March 01, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Lois, You said: "However, I do not think anyone should have the right to own assault weapons (semi-automatic). they are just too dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. We need to eliminate loopholes for all firearms." ------------------------------------------- Then I reckon it's back to muzzleloaders and muskets. Seriously, do you even read what you type? Take away the right to own "assault weapons (semi-automatic)"? This is America, Lois, not 1938 Nazi Germany. Your use of the verbiage "assault weapons" tied to "semi-automatic" shows your willful ignorance to the realities and ins-and-outs of guns.
Donald Borsch Jr. March 01, 2013 at 07:03 PM
It's difficult and time-consuming to take rights from people who have enjoyed them for so long. But it's even more difficult when they have the means to resist.


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