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Judge H. Lee Sarokin

Judge H. Lee Sarokin

Posted: July 30, 2009 11:17 AM

Everyone Packin' - A Gun in Every Pocket?


The recent but failed effort of the gun lobby to nationalize local gun permits, particularly after its big win on the right to bear arms, piqued my interest. I accept the NRA slogan that: "Guns Don't Kill People; People Kill People". But, call me crazy, I think a person who did not have a gun would have difficulty shooting anybody. So I want to understand why it is that the NRA and the gun lobby do everything they can to protect and expand the sale, possession and use of guns and oppose any common sense and reasonable restrictions to limit them. In that quest, I learned that the NRA served many useful purposes in training the military and law enforcement, educated about safety, launched contests in marksmanship and did other good works.

But despite that history, the current justification for its actions does not rest primarily on its historical basis of training, hunting and sport, but rather self-defense. The rationale is that there are about 250 million guns out there, many in the hands of bad guys, and the public needs and has the right to protect itself. The irony to me in this argument is that the danger caused by the vast prevalence of weapons in this country has been caused, or at least encouraged, in large measure by the acts of the NRA and its advocates. It is their policies which have made guns so accessible and available.

I have read the arguments that restrictions do not work, that gun deaths are down; that restrictions only affect the law-abiding not the criminals, etc., but the numbers of dead and wounded from guns seem to be irrelevant. I read statistics that 30,000 die each year and about 70,000 are wounded by guns, many of whom include children. Many of these are not caused by "bad guys" but are the result of suicides and accidents. However, the answer by gun advocates seems to be more guns, more powerful guns, more people carrying guns, more concealed weapons and less restrictions on the sale and possession of guns.

I also wonder about the role of our government in all of this. Nothing mystifies me more than Congress granting immunity to gun manufacturers from certain lawsuits. With all of the industries in this country which produce products that save lives, why would Congress single out for immunity an industry which makes a product that kills people! I suppose the easy answer is votes and the power of the NRA and its members. But I know persons who have NRA cards (admittedly not many), and they are decent people, and I cannot believe that they are insensitive to the cries of the Brady Campaign and the tragedy of gun violence.

The thought of "A Gun in Every Pocket" frightens me. The goal of the old political slogan: "A Chicken in Every Pot" was to feed everyone, not improve their chances of killing others or being killed. Please, someone explain to me this persistent goal to expand gun ownership and possession and limit sensible restrictions. I am Vox Clamantis In Deserto.