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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GUN CONTROL


Well I think it's time to open Pandora's Box again and discuss another subject sure to generate some discussion, namely gun control, a subject which divides the country as much as the subject of abortion. Let me say from the outset that I support the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights which secures the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The quandary though is how guns are used in this country, either for good or evil. Antigun proponents would like to see all guns eradicated completely. This is simply an impractical and unworkable solution, particularly when you consider the country's history and the volume of guns produced. Even if such a program was implemented, we would be surrendering the country to criminals, our enemies, or a military state.

Proper gun owners use their weapons for three purposes: defense, hunting, or marksmanship. Not long ago, when I was on a fishing trip in the wilds of Alaska I noticed our guides were all packing heat (and I'm glad they did as I had no interest in a close encounter with a bear or moose). I have no problem with people hunting wild game, assuming its not an endangered species and legal to do so. I also enjoy trap and skeet shooting, as well as general target practice. Something I've learned from all of this is that serious shooters are less inclined to discharge their weapons frivolously and are very safety conscious.

With all this said, what do I consider reasonable precautions for reducing gun related crimes and accidents?

First, a criminal background check should be performed on anyone purchasing a gun. There should also be stiff penalties for people selling or transferring ownership of a gun to a person with a felonious record. Further, such criminals found in possession of a firearm should be charged accordingly.

Second, competent safety instruction in the use of the firearm should be considered a prerequisite for gun ownership. Most of the gun accidents you hear about relate to some huckleberry who treats a gun like a toy. When not in use, all guns should be under lock and key. Duh!

Third, I seriously question the need to sell to the general public such things as assault weapons, machine guns, grenade launchers, etc.

This last item is perhaps the most controversial as some people would argue such firearms are needed for defensive reasons. Come on, who's kidding who here? If you really need to defend the Alamo, try calling the police or military first. Where would such an escalation of firepower end? With everyone driving around in Abrams Tanks?

I guess what I'm driving at is that you can reduce the number of accidents and crimes attributed to firearms simply by applying a little common sense. You cannot argue from a far-left or far-right position when it comes to gun control. As to the left, who would like to see guns disappear altogether, sorry, it won't work and it won't happen. As to the right, sorry, but I really don't think you need a howitzer to go hunting (and it kind of takes the sport out of things).

In studying this, I discovered Switzerland is supposed to he one of the safest countries in the world in terms of gun control. Under their system, all adult men are subject to conscription in the military, thereby requiring them to keep government issued firearms at home in case of a call-up. Not only does everyone have a gun, they all know how to use it. Hmm...maybe the Swiss are on to something here.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim's Pet Peeves, click HERE.

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