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Much ado is made over the law prohibiting suits against firearms manufacturers for gun deaths. Mayor Bloomberg recently said that we are allowed to sue car manufacturers for deaths, but, not firearm manufacturers and this is wrong. It is also not exactly factual.

Product manufacturers can be sued for deaths and injuries caused by product defects. The manufacturer is never responsible for deaths or injuries caused by misuse. Of the millions of motor vehicle accidents every year, only a very tiny fraction result in a successful suit against the manufacturer. Those are the ones in which a defect in design or manufacture is responsible for the accident. Car manufacturers cannot be sued for all the deaths and injuries caused by bad driving, drunk driving, bad weather and other factors. Exploding gas tanks, defective braking systems, even defective power window mechanisms have resulted in successful lawsuits.

Since I doubt that anyone, even Bloomberg, wants to sue gun manufacturers for deaths and injuries caused by lawful use of guns by police and military, I assume he is talking about guns used in crimes, accidental shootings and suicides. I think it is quite obvious that being killed or injured in the commission of a crime is the fault of nobody other than the criminal. If an innocent person is stabbed, hit by a car or beaten, the blame does not go to the object that caused the harm; it goes to the person who did the action. How is a gun any different than those other objects used as weapons?

Then we have accidental deaths. Accidents are the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. They account for an even higher percentage of deaths in younger age groups. Accidents include motor vehicle accidents, drownings, falls and other unintentional causes. Accidental deaths by firearms are lower than many others including medical errors and traffic accidents.

Firearms accidents are very rarely caused by a malfunction of the gun. They are the result of misuse, improper handling and improper storage. Guns do not fire by themselves. The common “it just went off” is a lie. Someone has pulled the trigger. Failure to follow the rules of gun safety is the cause of firearms accidents. Guns, like any other dangerous tool, must be properly stored and handled. Gun safety rules are taught in every class and are enclosed in every box.

I agree that it is tragic and needless for anyone, especially a child, to be killed or injured unintentionally by a gun. But, this is negligence on the part of the gun’s owner, not the manufacturer. If lawsuits were allowed, under product safety laws, manufacturers could not be held liable for these deaths. The only objective to be achieved would be to bankrupt manufacturers with the cost of defending such suits. This is why they are specifically prohibited. No NRA/political conspiracy is at work here. This is quite simply, a means of stopping court actions that have no merit without costing time and resources of the court system and those who would have to prepare a legal defense for every pointless suit brought.

Lastly, the issue of suing gun manufacturers has been compared to the successful suits against cigarette companies. I am aside my own opinion of the shady legality of these suits, the finding and the distribution of the money paid. The crux of those cases what that tobacco deliberately mislead the public by claiming that their product was safe, even healthy, for consumption. Used as advertised by the manufacturers, cigarettes did cause harm. There are no rules one can follow to use cigarettes safely.

On the hand, firearms manufacturers not only admit, but promise, that guns are lethal weapons. They also provide rules for safe handling. If these rules are followed, guns can be handled quite safely. Just as a person who was driving drunk, disobeying traffic laws or purposely running someone down with a car is held responsible for his actions, so should the person who misuses a gun. If a child dies because they have ingested medications or household chemicals, the parent who allowed the child to access them is at fault not the manufacturer who clearly labelled them “Keep Out Of Reach Of Children”. The same standard being applied to guns is not the outrageous conspiracy the anti-gun fanatics make it out to be. Such baseless suits should not be allowed against any manufacturer.

Today I read of a terrible crime in which a young woman was abducted from a bus, along with her 3 year old child, by a man against whom she had a restraining order. She was fatally shot in front of many witnesses and the man fled with the child. The perpetrator was later shot by a police sniper. Tragedies such as this are a daily occurrence in this country. Over a thousand people are killed in domestic violence incidents in the United States annually.

I was, therefore, somewhat surprised that all of the comments to the article said something like “We must do something about all this gun violence”. Apparently, if the woman had been abducted at knifepoint and fatally stabbed, that would have been better.

Domestic Violence is also a banner issue for anti-gun politicians. More laws are being passed to take firearms from people who are accused of domestic violence. They are even pushing laws to take guns from those deemed to be “at high risk” of domestic violence.

My perspective on this comes from painful personal experience. I was married for two years to a charming sociopath who had no more respect for the law than he did for women. I won’ go into how I got myself into that mess. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I escaped with my life and my children’s lives. This was twenty years ago and maybe things have improved for young women in my situation. However, I think not since I read of so many deaths.

So, wouldn’t I, of all people, want to see psychos like my ex disarmed. I would. But, it’s never that simple. I think those who have been convicted of domestic violence, like those who are convicted of other crimes of violence, should not have guns. Understanding that there is a period of limbo between arrest and conviction, I think a judge should decide if there is sufficient cause to restrict the accused person’s right to arms. Again, this is not an uncommon pretrial condition for in cases of violent crime. Do you see a pattern here? I believe that domestic violence crimes should be treated as other crimes of violence are. Most of all I don’t want to see VICTIMS disarmed because dual restraining orders were issued, a common practice.

The fact is that a restraining order is just a piece of paper it is not protection. Lots of women die with one in their purse. A violent, abusive person doesn’t respect the law. All that paper does is give the police something with which to charge him when he stalks, threatens or harasses the victim. Sometimes it raises a flag in the 911 system and rates a faster police response to that address. Sometime, without one, police will do absolutely nothing about the situation.

Back to my story. I left my husband with our two children, a baby and a one year old. I also had a four year old from a previous marriage and a twelve year old sister who was my ward. I rented an apartment, changed my name and filed for divorce. My ex had been arrested and convicted of assaults against me. He was on probation and I had a restraining order. After numerous lesser incidents, he kicked in my door one night and attempted to rape me. I managed to get away and flee to a neighbor with him in pursuit. Confronted by my friend’s husband and father, my husband left the scene. An hour later the most unpleasant police officer I have ever met arrived. His attitude was hostile and he asked what I expected him to do. It went like this:

Me: Arrest him

Cop: For what?

Me: Assault, attempted rape, violating a restraining order

Cop: He’s not here, he’s not violating anything

Me: I have these witnesses

Cop: For all I know, you invited him

Me: Well, look at me, he attacked me, he tried to rape me

Cop: For all I know, you like it rough and you’re just mad he didn’t stick around to cuddle

Me: I’m separated from him. I didn’t want this. He tried to rape me

Cop: You’re not divorced. It can’t be rape if you’re married (not true, even then)

This was frustrating, humiliating and made me really, really angry. This officer was later fired after he beat his wife so badly she ended up in ICU. I went to the State’s Attorney and filed the charges myself. Then I got a gun.

I didn’t ever have to shoot him. I let him know I had it and that was enough. But, he filed for a restraining order against me, knowing that the gun would be taken if it was granted. It was a small court and the judge knew the situation so it was denied. But, where would I be if it had been granted, as they so often are? Defenseless, maybe dead. He also tried reporting to Child Protective Services that the gun was a danger to the kids. A talk between them and my attorney, along with assurance the gun was safely stored, ended that. Since that time, nobody has ever touched me without my consent or broken into my home. I will never be a victim again.

So, yes, I’m glad he didn’t have a gun. But, I know if he really wanted one, a court order or a law wouldn’t have stopped him from having one. I guess I’m lucky he preferred to hurt me up close and personal.

On the other hand, if his tactic were successful, I would have also been banned from having a gun. I’m a generally, law abiding person so that would have been a dilemma for me. I can’t say for sure that I would have chosen law over life. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose. I’m glad that it was a one judge court and his restraining order against me was denied so I didn’t have to make the choice between being a criminal and protecting myself.

So, I really abhor the idea that Democrats are trying to disarm people on the basis of accusations, not evidence, and worse, on risk assessments. My guess is that if it is determined to be a high risk relationship for violence, both parties will be barred from lawful gun ownership. They apparently think victims are completely incapable of ever being anything else.

While I do believe that there’s no need to make weapons access easy for criminals, I also believe strongly in the right to due process. There must at least be probable cause, not just accusations. Those falsely accused have deserve their day in court. Victims should be empowered, not made more helpless.

I will admit that I didn’t pay enough attention to the “Universal Background Checks”  being pushed by the Obama Administration. I live in a state, Connecticut, where background checks are already required for all sales and transfers of ownership. Even the Brady Campaign gives Connecticut high marks for having “closed the gun show loophole”. So, I was perplexed when, about a month ago, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy began pushing for background checks and “closing the gun show loophole” in this state. I thought that if he was that  ignorant of current state law, surely someone on his staff would correct it. Yet, he kept stressing this every time he commented on gun control. What, then, could be his agenda?

The agenda, friends, is to redefine “transfer”, from its traditional meaning of transfer of ownership, to include ANY TRANSFER OF POSSESSION EVEN TEMPORARILY. This would trigger a background check every time you loan a gun to someone other than spouse or child. No exceptions for step-children/step-parent, siblings, grandparents, cousins or other household members such as unmarried couples living together. They would also require that if you leave your home for a period of time (3 to 7 days depending on which version of the bill) that any guns you leave at home with someone other than your spouse or adult child would be subject to this “transfer” requirement. No exception for guns stored in locked safes. So, you go away for a long weekend, leaving your guns in your safe and your roommate, fiance, babysitter, dog walker or any other person in your home and don’t do a “transfer” and background check for every gun – you are now a criminal. Obviously, when you get home you must “buy back” all your own property again.

This clearly has nothing whatsoever to do with preventing prohibited people from buying guns at gun shows. It is aimed at increasing the cost and burden of legal gun ownership and creating a situation where law-abiding people may easily and unintentionally become criminals.  Lying and passing this off as “closing the gun show loophole”, in my opinion, increases the likelihood gun owners may not read the laws in the entirety (if they pass) and thus be ensnared.

The Obama Administration, represented by Joe Biden, have pushed especially hard for their agenda in Connecticut and Colorado. They claim this is because those states have been particularly affected by “gun violence”. Obviously, the fact that they are both states in control of Liberals make them attractive, too. But, I think the fact that they are both states that already “closed the gun show loophole” , by requiring background checks on all sales, is the true reason. If they can get two states that already have highly restrictive laws to pass even more outrageous legislation, this is a win for them.

The Colorado Legislature has already passed such a measure which will most certainly be signed into law by their Democratic governor. Connecticut’s Democrat controlled General Assembly is likely to do the same. Interestingly, Democrats in both states use the same phrase to describe exceptions proposed by Republicans as “loopholes so big you could drive a truck through”. Coincidentally, all of these people have spent extensive time talking with Joe Biden.

I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe that these talking points have been provided by Biden, at the President”s instruction. Democrats have deliberately lied in these states, falsely claiming that their state laws do not currently require background checks for gun show purchases. Naturally, the media “reports” this without doing any fact checking whatsoever. I have written to various local media outlets asking that they do a report on Connecticut’s current background check laws and/or question the governor about his false statements. Of course, they have not.

This is a deliberate, well organized conspiracy to mislead, misrepresent and lie to the American people about the reason, intent and consequences of laws being pushed by the Obama Administration. There is no reason whatsoever for these laws than to make owning a gun so burdensome that law abiding citizens will give it up or unintentionally commit a “gun crime”  while engaging in ordinary activities with family family and friends or in their own homes. These “universal background check laws” are an immediate danger to any person who owns a gun or lives with a person who owns a gun. Media and Democrats continuing to refer to these bills as related to gun “sales” is a falsehood that makes it sound “reasonable”. I am certain that if any gun owners or NRA members were actually surveyed in the much touted polls that say 90% or more agree with universal background checks, what they were asked is “Do you agree with background checks for gun shows” or “for private sales”.  I have seen no public representation that “universal background checks” means anything more.

I, personally, don’t object to the idea of background checking private SALES. This could be done without registration, although, it is not. At the very least, the background check system should be available to private sellers. I, as a responsible gun owner, would not want to sell a gun to a prohibited person and would take advantage of it, even if not required by law. My husband and I keep all of our transfer records, including an authorization number from the state indicating the background check was passed. This is required here, but good record-keeping is a good practice anyways. I see no reason that the state should also keep the record permanently.

There has been a lot of emphasis on the registration aspect of background checks leading to potential confiscation in the future. Although this is a legitimate argument, I believe the new definition of “transfer” is of more immediate concern. I also find that the gun-grabbers think their argument that confiscation isn’t going to happen is sufficient. Although we know that it is not, using registration/confiscation as our main argument is beating the proverbial dead horse. I don’t think we should stop making this point. I’m just saying there is another to be made.

We need to get them to answer for the lunacy of this proposed redefinition of transfer. Ask Biden if he does a background check and transfers ownership of that shotgun to one of his staff members every time he and his wife leave the house. Ask how many crimes result from people borrowing a shotgun for a hunting trip. How many roommates or fiances have committed crimes with legally owned guns stored at home while the owner is away? Not many I’m betting. Ask how reasonable it is that an unmarried military reservist must transfer ownership of his guns every time he goes to training or deployment. Ask how a gun locked in a safe can go out and commit a crime while its owner is away for a few days.

Malloy’s lies about the “gun show loophole”: http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/lib/malloy/2013.02.21_Gun_Safety_Proposal.pdf

Colorado Background Check Law Passes: Note the “allowing” guns to be loaned up to 72 hours and “immediate family”: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22799034/universal-background-checks-passes-colorado-senate-moves-house

This may seem petty. But, I need to say it. I am sick and tired of reading all over blogs, forums and news websites that people have the right to bare arms. It especially annoys me when it is written in response to statements by gun control advocates. These statements are often worded like this: “Read the Constitution. The Second Amendment says Iright to bare arms. What part of shall not be infringed don’t you understand?”

I tell you all now, the Constitution says nothing about bare arms. Those who angrily make this statement to show the anti-gun people how wrong they are, just make us all look foolish. Their assumption that gun owners are a bunch of ignorant loudmouths is proven for all to see. Your implied assertion that you have, unlike them, read the Constitution becomes immediately suspect.

“Baring arms” is what you do when you wear a sleeveless shirt. No jurisdiction in the U.S. has passed any law infringing upon your right to bare your arms. Maybe some establishments have a dress code that disallows bare arms. Other than that you can bare arms just about anywhere you like.

The Second Amendment states that the right to keep and BEAR arms shall not be infringed. “To bear” is a verb synonymous with “to carry”. “To bare” means “to expose”. As an adjective “bare” means naked or unadorned. There is a major difference in meaning between the words “bear” and “bare”.

It doesn’t make any difference to me if you are a poor speller in your personal correspondence. But, if you are going to publicly (and the internet is public) call others out for their ignorance of the Constitution, learn the proper terminology. If you are passionate about the Second Amendment, you should know what it says and what it means. If you haven’t even bothered to learn the right word, how dedicated to this right can you be? If you are unable to write at a second grade level, why would others believe you are intelligent and responsible enough to carry a gun? You just give the Liberals another laugh at the ignorant backwoods stereotype they believe is the face of gun owners.

I abhor the term “Gun Violence”. It is, unfortunately, one that is all too common, especially in recent weeks.

I detest because it misses the point entirely. Violence is violence. I believe we have a fundamental problem with violence in America today. Family violence, school violence and violent crime are all around us.

“Gun Violence” places the blame on the instrument rather than the pereptrator. It makes violence committed with a firearm seem somehow worse than all the other violence that is perpetrated against innocent people every day.

Laws proposed to prevent “Gun Violence” fail to differentiate between family violence, other crime and mass murder. Years of work by behavioral scientists show that the psychology of mass murderers is entirely different from other types of killers.

Mass murderers are particularly driven to commit their crimes of slaughter. They often plan for days or weeks ahead. While they may take advantage of an available weapon, they WILL find a way to carry out their agenda. They are usually intelligent and resourceful. They have the ability to research, plan and gather supplies.

Mass murder is not a crime committed impulsively by someone who just picks up whatever is handy. Laws do not deter the mass murderer; they usually plan to die during their slaughter. If one plan is thwarted, they make another. I firmly believe these killers will simply use bombs, start fires or use other means of destroying a large number of people quickly.

The plan of the Columbine killers was to use bombs. The guns were backups. Had the bombs detonated as planned, the shootings would be a footnote to the school explosion deaths.
The Newtown killer planned to buy a rifle to commit the murders. After being turned down at the store he where he wnet to buy it, he decided to take his mother’s guns. I have no doubt that if he had been unable to get those, he would have made yet another plan.

It is foolish to believe gun bans will stop mass murder. Even if they were effective, the laws would only change the method used. The fact is, gun bans or not, those intent on mass murder will find a weapon. We can’t stop these killings until we look at the whole picture objectively. We need to find out what is causing so many individuals in our country to decide to committ mass murder. As long as we look at the weapons above all else, mass murder will keep happening.

Other crimes where guns are the weapons need to be looked at from the point of view of type of crime as well. Gand violence, domestic violence, armed robbery, rape and every other violent crime will continue with or without guns.

I’m not saying there should be no regulation of guns or who can own them. I’m simply saying we need to look deeper to stop the violence. The easy answer is rarely the best.

I live in Connecticut, so, the tragic Newtown school massacre hit close to home for me. I don’t know any of those involved personally. But, I feel the grief that most of the world feels for this tragic loss of life.

I am, however, appalled by the exploitation of this tragedy by politicians, the media and anti-gun crusaders to advance a particular anti-gun agenda. They speak of “meaningful action” and “need for debate”. Yet, they want neither of these things. They continue to advance the same old tired calls for laws that would have made no difference in this tragedy.

Front and center is the call to reinstate the expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban. This law did nothing to prevent Columbine, it won’t prevent future massacres at schools. They fail to say, CONNECTICUT HAS AN ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN. The Connecticut ban is modeled on the federal law they wish to reinstate and the rifle used is perfectly legal under it. Such a federal law, if in effect at the time, would not have made it illegal to buy or own any of the guns found at the shooting scenes.

Next on the political agenda, so-called high capacity magazines. For reasons I cannot discover, they define “high capacity” as holding more than ten rounds. For some reason, they fail to consider that, if the guns had smaller magazines, all the killer would have needed to do was change the magazine. He had multiple magazines on his body. So, I find it doubtful he would have done less damage with smaller capacity magazines. He could have walked in with a couple of revolvers and a pocketful of speedloaders and killed just as many, for that matter.

Lastly, the “gun show loophole” is back on the agenda. The rhetoric on this is that to avoid background checks, all someone has to do is buy at a gun show. This mythical loophole has been legislated against in most, if not all, locales. Connecticut law requires background checks for all retail sales, including gun show sales. Private sales or transfers are supposed to occur only between those who already have a permit (background check done to get that) and reported to the state and local police department just as retail sales are. Do people make illegal sales? Yes, because bad people do bad things whether they are against the law or not. Once again, in relation to this shooting, it is irrelevant. Connecticut law already covers this and the guns were not bought at gun shows or by private sale.

Connecticut has some very strict gun laws. They did not prevent this tragedy. Perhaps, that is because not every tragedy can prevented. Dangerous people, bad people, crazy people who are intent on harming innocents will find a way to do so. They don’t follow laws. If they did, they wouldn’t be planning to kill people, since that is against the law, too.

It is important to examine every murder, to determine facts, to investigate what may have prevented it. In this particular case, based on current information, I can see no law or policy that is being debated that would have prevented this young man killing the innocent people he set out to kill. Except, of course, better security for the school including a well trained armed person on the grounds.

In my opinion, there have been murders, including mass shootings, where better gun laws or better mental health services may have made a difference. I just don’t see it in this instance. That is one reason I’m bothered by those who are exploiting the public grief and emotion to promote an agenda that would have made no difference.

There is a more important reason I am disturbed by this outcry. That is that promoting the belief that laws will keep children safe from bad, crazy people allows the public denial of the need for security precautions. Yes, if bad laws or policies, lack of services, overlooking symptoms of mental illness play a role in a crime; those issues need to be addressed. We do need to look at what is wrong with our society that we produce so much evil.

But, at some point, we must accept that the danger is there. We can’t legislate it out of existence. We must stop denying that it can’t be 100% prevented. We must work to protect ourselves and our children from violence waged by those who do not care what the law is. All this blame game and politicking does is promote denial and stop us from taking meaningful action to secure our schools.

With yet another mass shooting in the news today, I can understand (though not agree with), the gun control advocates. I believe in the spirit and inent of the Second Amendment. I grew up in an extended family who all had guns. I went shooting and hunting as a child and learned respect for firearms.

However, I do find it disturbing that there are so many innocent victims of shootings. Whenever there is an upswing in a particular kind of death, people have a tendency to call for tougher laws. We see this with DUI, texting and cell phone use by drivers, child abuse and domestic violence, to name a few. In some cases, such as domestic violence, a change in laws and attitudes has been needed. In others, the focus has been on preventing only the dangerous people access to “killing tools” – as in drunk driving laws.

Nobody has ever suggested motor vehicles be banned because they are killing people. The blame is placed where it belongs, on the driver. We do not insist cars be smaller or incapable of high speeds. Drivers who have killed people stand trial, not the automobile manufacturer. Yet, driving is a privilege, not a right.

Years ago, I would have said that I favor “sensible gun laws”. That was before the Brady Campaign and other anti-gun advocates co-opted that phrase to mean “burdensome laws that make it nearly impossible for anyone to own or carry a gun”. I favor background checks as a way to keep guns from being purchased by known criminals or mentally ill people. True, preventing legal purchase doesn’t eliminate illegal purchase. But, it does make sense to try to prevent it being easy. With modern computerized systems, this check is barely an inconvenience for the law abiding citizen.

Other laws and proposed laws make little sense to me. For example the “high capacity magazine” bans already in place in some states. Gun control advocates want these laws to be nationwide. Now, I can agree that average citizens have no real need of a 100 round drum magazine as was used by the Colorado theater killer. But, why is 10 the magic number that determines whether a magazine is “high capacity”? Many modern pistols are manufactured with 12-15 round magazines. I don’t honestly see why 10 is good and 12 is bad. To me, it would seem that “high capacity” magazine would be one that has more capacity than the standard capacity the gun was designed to hold. The proposal the anti-gun crowd advocates makes no sense to me.

It’s unfortunate that both sides in the gun control debate are completely unwilling to have reasonable discussion on how to keep the public safe without infringing upon the right of the law abiding citizen to own and carry a firearm.

I see and hear a lot of negative comments from people, mostly men about pink guns. “A gun is not a fashinon accessory.” And “You’re supposed to conceal a gun, not show it off.” And “Black conceals, pink does not.” So, here’s my confession: I own, and sometimes carry, a pink gun. Well, technically it’s Raspberry.

So, now, I’ll cover the objections. First, there are many options between black and pink. There’s stainless, blued and desert tan guns that I can think of right off. Then there’s custom grips, many in very nice wood. So, don’t tell me you guys don’t care what your gun looks like or that you never show it off.

I bought the LCP a year ago as a summer carry gun. Especially for a woman, lightweight summer fabrics make it harder to conceal a gun. I’m not a fan of purse carry, so was looking for something to replace the .38 snubby I had been using for summer.

The snubby revolver is a great carry piece, and there’s still some clothes it works better with than a pistol. But the LCP has a slimmer profile and also a lightweight. With good ammo and an extra clip, I feel confident with the .380 ACP for everyday carry in the summer when I might otherwise be tempted to not carry at all.

I had to decide which of the options the LCP is offered in I would buy. Frankly, I thought “fashion colors” for guns was a silly idea. But, then I realized how it could work for me not against me. If, by chance, the gun should be inadvertently exposed, that tiny little pink gun would be extremely unlikely to provoke panic. It doesn’t scream GUN. The color is more likely to blend unobtrusively in with my clothing.

My state law is rather vague on concealed vs open carry. It says to “carry openly or concealed” requires a permit. So, you can’t actually be arrested for open carry. But, and it’s a really big “but”, if you cause other people enough discomfort that they call police, you will likely be arrested. The charge would be “Breach Of Peace” or “Disorderly Conduct”. If you’re really unlucky (or stupid), it may be “Brandishing” or “Threatening”.

Since I’m surrounded by gun-fearing liberals and I just hate wasting time, I do my best to avoid having them call the police. This is best accomplished with a gun that blends well into my clothing and silhouette. For me, this can be accomplished with my LCP in raspberry better than it would in black.

It’s not my favorite carry gun, but it works well when I need it. If I do have to use it to defend myself, it won’t make a bit of difference what color the gun is. All that matters is that I have a gun with me in that moment which is more likely with a gun I can carry and conceal with ease. 

Oh, and raspberry was $20 less than black for some reason.

For anyone who may have just returned from Antarctica, a 17 year old by the name of Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by 28 year old George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman claimed the shooting was self-defense. Police apparently accepted this at face value based on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Thanks to a media savvy family attorney, this case has exploded with nationwide exposure. There are many people with various agendas involved at this point. We have politicians, media, anti-gun people, pro-gun people, activists, Zimmerman supporters and Martin supporters all vying to get all the mileage they can out of this. The ratings race has cost one NBC producer his job for creative editing of the 911 recording to make Zimmerman sound racist.

I’ve watched as both parties have been demonized by “the other side”. Both have been on trial by the public and the prejudices that have been exposed are not pretty. Stand Your Ground laws and gun ownership itself have been hotly debated. I would like to offer my insight on this situation. First, on the incident and second on the gun issue.

What happened that February night may never be fully know. The distortions, exaggerations and outright lies have so muddied the waters, that if Zimmerman is charged, his chance at a fair trial is slim. I believe that the most basic problem in this case lies with the failure of the Sanford Police to conduct a thorough investigation and to communicate with the family of Trayvon Martin on it’s progress. I’ve seen multiple posts online citing crimes against whites by blacks followed by “where’s the outrage?”. The outrage in the Martin case is as much over the fact that police did not treat his killing as a crime as it was over the killing itself.

Evidence that has been released such as 911 recordings and video of Zimmerman after the shooting seem to cast doubt on what is known of his version of events. Supposed witness statements are conflicting. The fact that the media is running down anyone who will make a comment on air is adding to the problem. Statements made by Zimmerman’s family don’t even match what is in the police reports about Zimmerman’s own account.

A grand jury is scheduled to convene this week. A special prosecutor has been appointed. A DOJ team in investigating whether civil rights violations occurred. It is time for everyone to let these people do their jobs. Speculation needs to stop. It is well known now that the photos of both parties originally released are out of date. A better photo of Zimmerman is now circulating. Photos of Trayvon that are circulating have not been authenticated. There is great discrepency in descriptions of the two young men’s height, weight, build. All of this information is available to investigators and will be to the grand jury. They will see an important piece of evidence not yet released, the autopsy report. They will also have available the reports on the treatment Zimmerman received for EMT’s at the scene which will detail his injuries. The wild speculation should stop until these details are known. Whether Mr. Zimmerman acted in self-defense or not, he is entitled to a grand jury determination of probable cause and if that exists, a fair trial with representation. If either Zimmerman or the authorities violated Trayvon’s civil rights, that needs to be exposed after reviewing evidence the public doesn’t have.
I will offer more detail on the issue of Stand Your Ground laws overall in another post. The point I would like to make here is that, depending upon which point of view you approach from, either of the parties may have acted within the law. If you believe Zimmerman’s story, he was attacked as he walked away and defended himself. If he were the agressor, which some circumstances imply, then it should no longer be covered under the statute.

What I haven’t seen anyone mention is Trayvon’s rights under this same statute. You see, despite what the anti-gun lobby would have you believe, the Stand Your Ground law applies to everyone not just gun owners. The law gives a person who fears they are in danger of great bodily harm or death to confront the other party with force including lethal force.

Since Trayvon was being followed by someone he didn’t know, he did the smart thing and quickened his pace until he was running. The unknown person following him also started running, chasing him down the darkened street. At what point does Trayvon begin to be in fear of bodily harm or death? If Trayvon confronted the man following him, even hitting him as Zimmerman claimed, wasn’t he within HIS right to do so under the law?

Other accounts have Zimmerman confronting Martin in a hostile and agressive manner. If this is true then, certainly Martin was within his rights to defend himself with force. If Zimmerman’s account is true, at what point does a stalker become a victim? How far can one man chase another before the one being pursued can decide to stop running and confront the threat? These are questions jurors will need to consider.

As for reports that Trayvon Martin was a thug, a gang member, etc – there is no evidence of that. No arrest record. No discipline for any kind of violence at school. If he had tattoos, his clothing hid them, so they weren’t a factor in Zimmerman’s threat assessment. All acounts indicate he was dressed in normal teen apparel. He was alone. He had no weapons on him. Not even a knife, something all thugs seem to have. However, even if all that horrible stuff is true, IT IS IRRELEVANT. At the time of the incident, Martin wasn’t hanging out with a gang. He was alone. He was not doing anything criminal. He was just a lone teenager walking down the street, talking on the phone. Regardless of any prior history, these are not actions that warranted being followed or chased. If Zimmerman was so fearful, he could have stayed in his vehicle watching from a safe distance until police arrived. I tend to believe that a man who gets out of his SUV and chases someone down the street is not afraid and not blameless for whatever happens next. But, I’m not privy to all the information. I reserve judgement until all the facts are known.

Although female gun owners are increasing in number, statistics still show that women are more likely to object to firearms in the home. Women with children are more likely than those without children to fear having them. The anti-gun groups have worked hard to instill this fear in the public. They heavily publicize the tragic accidents caused by children playing with firearms to prey on the worst fears a parent has.

Guns are obviously dangerous by design. So are automobiles, the leading cause of accidental death for children in the U.S. Also highly dangerous are lawnmowers, chainsaws, kitchen knives and numerous other tools found around the house and yard. Kids are abused by adults, bitten by dogs, strangled by pet snakes. Children die or are injured by all of these.

A firearm is a tool, nothing more. In and of itself, it will not jump up and kill someone. Parents, in my opinion, have two duties when it comes to guns. First, and foremost, adults must be certain that a firearm never ever comes into the hand of an unsupervised child. Even if you are not a parent, guns must be secured so that no child, including visitors, can ever get their little hands on them. Carrying your weapon on your person while it is not locked away will accomplish this.

The second responsibility is one that the anti-gun people should also heed. It is that all parents must educate children about firearm safety. In the simplest form, it is that if a child sees a gun unattended by an adult, they must inform an adult immediately and NOT TOUCH IT! Whether you are for or against guns, you must teach your child what to do when they are away from you and see a gun, whether found outside or in a playmate’s home.

If you own firearms, teach your child safety at age appropriate levels. I was raised in a home with guns. I don’t recall ever not knowing the adage that all guns are essentially loaded all the time. This is vital for parents to follow and impress upon their children. When they reach the age to use toy guns, teach them the difference between a real gun and a water gun, nerf gun, paintball gun, etc. As a child we treated BB guns, pellet guns and air guns as real weapons as they can cause serious injuries or occasionally, death.

If all parents educated their children about guns, even if they don’t think the children will encounter one, so much tragedy could be avoided. Just as we teach our kids to stay out of traffic, not play with knives and not pet strange dogs, we have a duty to teach them about firearms. Education is how tragedies are avoided.

The decision to own a gun in a home with children is a very personal one. It is a decision that must be made by every family for themselves based upon their own circumstances. Having a gun is not necessarily the right decision for everyone. For some, a long gun may be preferable to a handgun. Whatever your choice, it is yours alone to make.

In my childhood, we had guns. We went hunting and target shooting. None of us or our playmates was ever injured because our parents practiced and taught good safety. The good safety habits I learned as a child have stayed with me for life. Having been introduced as a child, I respect, but do not fear guns.

For my own family, there was a point where I could not, in good conscience, keep a weapon of any kind in my home. My youngest child had severe early onset bipolar disorder. I chose to keep her at home and do the best I could. However, she had no regard for her own safety at all. She would use anything as a weapon. She could break into practically anything in a flash. I just could not be sure that I could secure a gun from her and have it in any way accessible to me if needed. I also got rid of everything that could be used as a weapon, even kitchen knives. I had one knife I kept well hidden and she still got it a few times. I lived in a rural, low crime area and, at that point in life, a gun would have been more of a risk than a benefit. I also hired a lawn service and kept the car key on me all the time. Everything posed a danger during that time.

So, I fully support a family’s right to choose what is best for their circumstances. I just hope to see more people make their choice because they are educated about firearms and have weighed the risks and benefits for themselves. What I don’t like to see is the fear and ignorance that cause people to not only refuse to have guns, but, to fail to even teach their children how to be safe around one. The best advice I can give is to educate yourself first, then educate your children from a position of strength and knowledge.

Also published on Radicalsurvivalism.com

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