No, I am not going to rip on the prevalence of guns in the country, or about how to solve the problem of so many nutty people going out in a blaze of glory. Instead I am going to offer an observation, from my single data point, me.
I have long enjoyed shooting. Got my start at 8 years old or so, I was a typical boy, so the usual “cops and robbers” and “cowboys and indians” were typical play time activities.
To this day, I still enjoy going to the range and relieving stress by putting holes in paper. Consequently, I have a safe full of firearms. Some I bought. Many I “inherited” from direct or distant family members. Rifles, Shotguns, Pistols, I have it covered.
I don’t hide this fact, but I don’t advertise it either. In fact, I do not look or act like a “gun nut” (probably because I am not a gun nut.) However, when someone who is steeped in the gun culture finds out I am an enthusiast, the conversation gets predictable.
Case in point: Our movers.
Since I am moving from Arizona to California, and I have a safe full of firearms, I needed to alert the movers to this fact, and ask advice. The movers, homed out of Minnesota are “gun people”. They made it clear that they have their CCW permits, that they carry them, except on their rig – strictly forbidden (wink wink) – and that they support the second amendment all the way. I bet you know where this is heading.
The conversation turned to the shooting in Las Vegas in early June with the two nuts who were on Cliven Bundy’s ranch, they shot two police officers eating lunch, and then went to Walmart. The conversation is with the CCW holder, the “good guy with a gun” who failed to stop the assault, and paid with his life.
I really have no opinion on how that event went down, except some numbness, and perhaps sadness, that the frequency and intensity of the attacks is on the rise.
The mover went into a long diatribe about how brave and fearless the CCW holder was, and how sure his sacrifice ended the spree before a lot more people were killed or injured. Then to rant on about how he was always prepared for that sort of life or death decision.
All I wanted was their help to wrap them properly and to ship them in a way that they will not be stolen while in transit. I don’t mind idle banter, but even seemingly reasonable people can hold some wacky ideas.
For the record, I am not opposed to people who have received suitable training and cleared a rigorous background check to be permitted to carry a handgun for protection. If I handled large amounts of money or valuables I might desire the same privilege (and it is a privilege.)
But, at my old shooting range haunts in Tucson, I often watched the CCW permit students attempt to qualify (15′, pretty simple “body” outline target, hit a HUGE box) and I was scared. Rather, I was terrified. These were people who were going to buy a pistol, and either hide it under their clothing, or drop it in a purse (roughly half the students were women), then forget about it until they had a reason to need it. Most of them will not go back to a range ever. They will not work to improve their marksmanship. This was as good as they would ever get. But they were exercising their 2nd amendment rights. I should add that I also saw some police officers practicing, and the old adage that they were well trained was put to the lie.
I am all for responsible, safe firearm ownership. I would even welcome licensing and restrictions. As there are people who should not own animals, there are people who should not be allowed within 100′ of a firearm for their own safety. Yet it seems that regardless of how egregious the latest tragedy, there is nothing that can be done.