Recently I was party to a discussion about gun control with a person from a different part of the United States. He was for taking guns away from people, or greatly reducing the amount of guns available. I was for more education and better enforcement of existing laws. During the course of this debate one point became obvious: There are very few laws that can be created which will make sense in every part of this diverse nation.
Here in Minot, North Dakota, guns are a way of life. Just about every male in this state is an avid sportsmen. These men, and in some cases women, raise their children to respect guns. It is not unusual to see children in their early teens handling guns and using them for hunting purposes. It is also not unusual, during the fall, to see many pickups and vehicles with a shotgun or rifle stored in the backseat or back window. Yet despite this high concentration of weaponry among our citizens the amount of gun violence is very low.
In more urban areas most families do not own a gun. Even if they do own a gun more then likely it is kept in a closet and seldom, if ever, taken out. Sports like hunting or target shooting are not very popular in more urban areas so therefore less people are used to handling firearms. Therefore many people interact with guns for the first time during stressful times, like if they’re turning to crime or trying to defend their homes.
So North Dakota has more guns per person then, say, New Orleans, yet North Dakota has less gun violence. There are many arguments that can be made to explain that but the one that stounds out in my mind is education. Children in North Dakota are exposed to guns at an early age and are tought, by their parents, how to handle the weapons and how to respect them. They are better prepared to handle the awsome power and responsibility that comes with owning or handling a firearm.
Yet, whenever the Brady Group and the NRA get into a grudge match it seems to be over federal laws. I am no supporter of gun control, but I do not understand why they think a law can be made on the federal level that will solve gun violence? A law made for New Orleans or Los Angeles just isn’t going to make sense to North Dakotans. We do not have a gun violence problem in North Dakota. If California has one, let them handle it. Don’t punish North Dakota for a California problem.
By the way, the way to solve gun violence isn’t through more laws. There are tens of thousands of gun control laws already on the books. Plus, less then two percent of legally purchased guns are ever used in a crime. That means ninety-eight percent of all gun violence is committed by guns which were obtained illegally. They’re circumventing the laws anyway, what will more laws do to stop that? With that statistic in mind even banning guns wouldn’t be a solution. All you will have done is denied law-abiding citizens from obtaining a fire arm. The criminals would still have them.
More laws aren’t going to solve anything. What will help is more gun education. Teach people how to handle their guns, how to store them properly and most importantly how to respect them. If we put our tax dollars towards gun education and stopping the reason for the crimes in the first place rather then gun prevention the drop in the amount of gun violence would be dramatic. Not only would the number of accidental deaths go down but many criminals would think twice before going up against an armed and trained citizen. These thugs aren’t committing crimes because they have a gun, they’re committing crimes out of necessity.
Be it money for drugs or whatever these criminals would use whatever weapon they have at hand. Crime is going to happen, banning guns isn’t the solution.
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