Every time there is a tragic instance of gun violence, such as the Oregon Shooting at Umpqua Community College yesterday, there is a public outcry, and the burning question is asked: what can we do to prevent instances like this from happening? The outcry is certainly warranted, the question is certainly valid. The solution, however, is not as simple as many people believe it to be. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am pro-gun. That is to say, I believe in a person’s right to choose whether or not he or she wishes to be armed. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the victims in any mass shooting, just like it does with the victims of any crime. My reason for carrying a gun is simple: I don’t ever want myself or anyone I know or love to be a victim.
Anti-gun people, or pro-gun control people, are going to cite statistics from all sorts of sources. Pro-gun people, like myself, are going to rebuke those statistics, their sources, and question the motives of the people/organizations providing them. They will then cite alternative statistics, which the anti-gun people will rebuke, and question the motives of the people/organizations providing them. It goes back and forth, back and forth, until the average person, simply trying to make up his or her own mind as to which side has the stronger argument, gets a headache and turns away in disgust. I’d like to take the time right now to explain why I hold the position I hold on guns. I’d like to explain the thought behind my beliefs. I’m just a cop, but I can tell you this, here are my reasons:
- When I first became a police officer in 1993, I held the view that guns were extremely dangerous, and as a police officer, I believed only police officers and other “officials” should carry guns. Through the course of my career, my opinion changed. Dramatically. In fact, it became the polar opposite. By the time I retired in January of 2015, my position had morphed into the position that any law abiding, responsible person in the United States, has a right to own a gun. It changed because the more I learned about guns, through my training, I began to realize that guns, albeit dangerous, are simply tools. They were “demystified” to me. In short, I realized, yes, a gun is dangerous, but it need not be feared. A gun in the hands of a responsible person is capable of no more damage than an SUV driving in and around a crowd of people. It is the PERSON WIELDING THE GUN, just like the driver of that SUV, that poses the threat, not the gun itself.
- Over the course of my twenty-one year career as a police officer, I realized that the average citizen cannot rely solely on the police for protection and assistance. The simple logistics proved this to me. A police officer can not be everywhere all the time. When combined with other factors, such as response time, timely notifications, the ability to make said notifications, as well as, generally speaking, how fast emergency situations tend to happen, I simply do not personally feel that police are enough to ensure my safety. While the police are without a doubt a necessity, as well as a crucial component of safety in our society, for me personally, they are not enough. The Supreme Court has ruled Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone, so I choose not to rely on them as my sole source of protection nor do I advise others to.
- I am against the banning of guns outright, and while I support reasonable gun laws, the reality is, gun control and gun laws do not offer adequate protection in my view. That is to say simply, I do not trust the notion that those who want to get guns won’t because it’s against the law. The following is a partial list of instances where mass shooting’s have occurred, and this is just in Europe, home to some of the strictest gun laws, and outright gun banning, taken from a National Review Online 2010 article (with me adding the last since it happened in 2011) None of the gun laws in place, or even the outright banning of guns in some instances, protected the victims from being killed or hurt:
- Zug, Switzerland, Sept. 27, 2001: A man whose lawsuits had been denied murdered 14 members of a cantonal parliament.
- Tours, France, Oct. 29, 2001: Four people were killed and ten wounded when a French railway worker started shooting at a busy intersection.
- Nanterre, France, March 27, 2002: A man killed eight city-council members after a council meeting.
- Erfurt, Germany, April 26, 2002: A former student killed 18 at a secondary school. Freising, Germany, Feb. 19, 2002: Three people killed and one wounded.
- Turin, Italy, Oct. 15, 2002: Seven people killed on a hillside overlooking the city.
- Madrid, Spain, Oct. 1, 2006: A man killed two employees and wounded another at a company that had fired him.
- Emsdetten, Germany, Nov. 20, 2006: A former student murdered eleven people at a high school.
- Tuusula, Finland, Nov. 7, 2007: Seven students and the principal killed at a high school.
- Naples, Italy, Sept. 18, 2008: Seven dead and two seriously wounded in a public meeting hall.
- Kauhajoki, Finland, Sept. 23, 2008: Ten people shot to death at a college.
- Winnenden, Germany, March 11, 2009: A 17-year-old former student killed 15 people, including nine students and three teachers.
- Lyon, France, March 19, 2009: Ten people injured when a man opened fire on a nursery school.
- Athens, Greece, April 10, 2009: Three people killed and two injured by a student at a vocational college.
- Rotterdam, Netherlands, April 11, 2009: Three people killed and one injured at a crowded café.
- Vienna, Austria, May 24, 2009: One dead and 15 wounded in an attack on a Sikh temple.
- Espoo, Finland, Dec. 31, 2009: Four people shot to death at a mall.
- Cumbria, England, June 2, 2010: Twelve killed by a British taxi driver.
- Oslos, Norway, July 22, 2011: Anders Brevik killed 77.
- Simply put, guns are not the only instrument of mass murders. Therefore, in my view, removing guns will not keep people safe from mass murders. In my view, taking away my gun, puts me and those I’d otherwise protect, at a greater risk.
- Mass Murders Since 2006 in the United States since 2006 not involving guns (Source USA Today):
StabbingsJul 22, 2015 Broken Arrow Okla. Stabbing Family killing 5Jan 12, 2015 Port Lavaca Texas Stabbing Family killing 4Dec 15, 2014 Souderton Pa. Shooting, stabbing, blunt force Family killing 6Oct 8, 2014 Guilderland N.Y. Stabbing, blunt force Family killing 4Aug 11, 2014 Goleta Calif. Stabbing Family killing 4Apr 19, 2014 Petersburg Va. Stabbing Family killing 4Oct 26, 2013 New York N.Y. Stabbing Family killing 5May 13, 2013 Fernley Nev. Shooting, Stabbing Robbery/burglary 5Oct 17, 2012 Denver Colo. Stabbing Robbery/burglary 5Mar 23, 2012 San Francisco Calif. Stabbing, blunt force Robbery/burglary 5Aug 19, 2011 Newport News Va. Stabbing Family killing 4Jul 18, 2011 Medford Ore. Stabbing, Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 5Feb 11, 2011 Brooklyn N.Y. Stabbing Other 4Jul 22, 2010 New York N.Y. Stabbing Family killing 4Jun 26, 2010 Northampton Pa. Stabbing Family killing 4Jun 14, 2010 Winchester Mass. Stabbing Family killing 4Feb 26, 2010 Milwaukee Wis. Suffocation, stabbing, shooting Robbery/burglary 4Sep 19, 2009 North Naples Fla. Stabbing Family killing 6Jul 18, 2009 Fayetteville Tenn. Stabbing, blunt force Family killing 6Mar 12, 2009 Conover N.C. Shooting, stabbing Robbery/burglary 4Mar 7, 2009 Hueytown Ala. Stabbing Family killing 4Sep 9, 2008 Lancaster Calif. Stabbing Other 4Jun 23, 2008 Quartz Hill Calif. Stabbing, blunt force Family killing 4Mar 25, 2008 Sitka Alaska Stabbing Family killing 4Mar 2, 2008 Memphis Tenn. Shooting, stabbing Other 6Jan 11, 2008 Mason Ohio Stabbing, Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 5Dec 13, 2007 Sharonville Ohio Stabbing Robbery/burglary 4Jun 1, 2007 Washington D.C. Stabbing, strangulation Family killing 4Oct 6, 2006 Louisville Ky. Stabbing Family killing 4Jul 17, 2006 Kirkland Wash. Stabbing Family killing 4May 30, 2006 Hoschton Ga. Stabbing, Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 4Apr 7, 2006 Modest Va. Stabbing Family killing 4Mar 18, 2006 Forsyth County Ga. Shooting, stabbing Robbery/burglary 4Jan 1, 2006 Richmond Va. Stabbing Robbery/burglary 4Blunt ForceMay 14, 2015 Washington D.C. Blunt force Family killing 4Dec 15, 2014 Souderton Pa. Shooting, stabbing, blunt force Family killing 6Oct 8, 2014 Guilderland N.Y. Stabbing, blunt force Family killing 4Sep 9, 2014 Red Bank S.C. Strangulation, blunt force Family killing 5Apr 15, 2013 Boston Mass. Blunt force Public Killing 4Mar 23, 2012 San Francisco Calif. Stabbing, blunt force Robbery/burglary 5Nov 10, 2011 Lander Wyo. Blunt force Public Killing 4Sep 21, 2009 Beason Ill. Blunt force Robbery/burglary 5Sep 17, 2009 Farmville Va. Blunt force Family killing 4Aug 29, 2009 Brunswick Ga. Blunt force Family killing 8Jul 18, 2009 Fayetteville Tenn. Stabbing, blunt force Family killing 6Sep 29, 2008 Wright Township Mich. Shooting, blunt force Other 4Jun 29, 2008 Rock Falls Ill. Blunt force Robbery/burglary 4Jun 23, 2008 Quartz Hill Calif. Stabbing, blunt force Family killing 4Mar 23, 2008 Iowa City Iowa Blunt force Family killing 5Mar 26, 2007 Frederick Md. Blunt force, suffocation Family killing 5Dec 21, 2006 South Bend Ind. Blunt force Robbery/burglary 4Apr 12, 2006 Leola Pa. Strangulation, blunt force Family killing 6Burning or Smoke InhalationOct 18, 2014 McKeesport Pa. Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 6May 10, 2013 Percy Ill. Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 4May 2, 2013 Schenectady N.Y. Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 4Apr 18, 2013 Billings Mont. Smoke inhalation & burns Other 4Jul 18, 2011 Medford Ore. Stabbing, Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 5Apr 25, 2011 Vancouver Wash. Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 5Apr 21, 2010 Peoria Ill. Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 4Feb 14, 2010 Cicero Ill. Smoke inhalation & burns Other 7Jan 30, 2010 Brooklyn N.Y. Smoke inhalation & burns Public Killing 5Nov 7, 2009 Cleveland Ohio Smoke inhalation & burns Other 4Jul 25, 2009 Hancock Mich. Smoke inhalation & burns Other 4Feb 19, 2009 Lawrence N.Y. Smoke inhalation & burns Other 4Dec 24, 2008 Covina Calif. Shooting, Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 9Jul 24, 2008 Birmingham Ala. Shooting, Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 4Jan 23, 2008 Youngstown Ohio Smoke inhalation & burns Other 6Jan 11, 2008 Mason Ohio Stabbing, Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 5Jun 6, 2007 Riverdale Ga. Smoke inhalation & burns Other 5Apr 15, 2007 Quincy Ill. Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 5Mar 4, 2007 Immokalee Fla. Smoke inhalation & burns Other 5Nov 11, 2006 Toledo Ohio Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 4Oct 30, 2006 Reno Nev. Smoke inhalation & burns Public Killing 12Oct 26, 2006 Riverside County Calif. Smoke inhalation & burns Other 5May 30, 2006 Hoschton Ga. Stabbing, Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 4Apr 4, 2006 Cleveland Ohio Smoke inhalation & burns Family killing 4Feb 24, 2006 Brooklyn N.Y. Smoke inhalation & burns Other 4Last updated: Oct 2, 2015
- Mass Murders Since 2006 in the United States since 2006 not involving guns (Source USA Today):
- “Gun-Free Zones”, are in my opinion, a poor attempt to make people think they are safer than they are. The reality is, when you publicly declare that a place is “gun-free”, you are more or less telling a mass murderer he is more likely to encounter the least resistance from his victims. The OVERWHELMING majority of mass shootings in recent years have occurred in declared “gun-free zones”. The only instance that comes to my mind to the contrary is the Tuscon Arizona shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. The Cruelty of Gun Free Zones is an excellent article from National Review Online to help determine your opinion on the matter. For me, it’s simply a matter of common sense: I know that if I was at the scene of a mass shooting, with my firearm, I have a chance of not only surviving, but also stopping the killing. My chance is drastically reduced if I do not have my weapon. That isn’t a an opinion, it’s a reality.
- I have had guns in my home for over twenty years. My brother, also a retired cop, likewise, has had guns in his home for over twenty years. I have two boys in my home, he has three. There has never been an accident, misuse, or “child safety issue” in either of our homes. I know many people who can say the same. Does this mean such things cannot happen? Certainly not. Accidents happen. But based on my personal experience, and the experience of others I know and trust, I am completely comfortable with owning firearms, storing them responsibly in my home, and carrying them.
Those six reasons are why I am in support of a law abiding citizen having the right to choose whether or not to arm him/herself. Notice, I chose not to cite any statistics. In my opinion, statistics are too easily manipulated, and the sources and motives of those providing them are not always evident. My opinion on this matter is based on facts, reasoning, and my personal experience, rather than emotionally charged arguments. I know many who are upset over mass shootings mean well, and that they have the best intentions at heart, but I have to respectfully disagree with the anti-gun stance. I realize that 218 cases out of 290 mass killings since 2006 have involved guns, but how many victims of those 218 were not armed and could not defend themselves? Had any of the victims been armed themselves, how would that have possibly changed the outcome? How many of those 218 instances involved guns legally purchased? How many of those 218 instances would have occurred by other means were guns not available? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but I do know this: I am considerably more likely to survive and protect others WITH my gun than WITHOUT my gun. Knowing that fact, who am I deny others that same right that I have? To anyone I who is anti-gun, I ask: do you believe society is safer with or without people such as myself?
When all is said and done, I choose to rely on my own judgement. If you don’t like guns, if you don’t want to own a gun, that’s fine. I respect your choice. Hell, I’ll still use my gun to help protect you if and when the need ever arrives. All I ask is that you stop trying to take guns away from responsible gun owners like myself. I am not a “gun nut”. I don’t “love guns”. I’ve never had to use my gun to shoot anyone, either on duty or in my personal life. I pray I never will, but I want to have the option to use it if the need ever arises. That’s all I ask.
Society needs to address WHY people are choosing to commit mass murders with much greater frequency than ever before in modern history. The Following article, Gun Clubs at School raises the following point:
“Once upon a time, it was common for an American child to be packed off to school with a rifle on his back and for him to come home smiling and safe in the evening.”
Perhaps we’d all be better served trying to figure out how to make that a possibility again, rather than passing more laws that just don’t work. But hey… I’m just a cop.by