We should fear guns. In a Biblical sense. Respect may be a better word choice. I have encountered two attitudes toward guns, neither is respectful. One is a disdain for firearms. Pistols, rifles and automatic weapons are barbaric tools that precipitate violence, death and have no place in the civilized world. The other attitude is one that views guns as toys. They are a source of entertainment. Guns are just fun devices that enable hunting and are the ultimate expression of manliness.
Guns are certainly not toys. They are, however, tools that can be put to barbaric use. The December 2012 school shooting in Connecticut is a sobering example. What can we do to prevent any more tragedies like this? The idea behind gun control is to simply take away all the guns. We would essentially baby-proof society. It is a practical and simple plan. Unfortunately, I have some misgivings about this solution. The outlawing of guns would remove firearms from the public sector in a perfect world. But we do not live in a perfect world. Criminals will continue to have access to weapons through illegal channels. If the bad guys are going to have guns no matter what, should we seek to arm ourselves?
Texas is considering a bill that will allow individuals to carry guns on college campuses provided they possess a concealed carry license. A similar bill was posed in 2011 but failed to go anywhere. The proposal has been reintroduced in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting. Surprisingly, public schools in Texas already allow teachers to carry guns to school. The recent tragedy caused an increase of teachers attending gun training programs.
I like the idea of teachers arming themselves out of a desire to protect their students. Law enforcement raises a valid concern though. Police worry about arriving on the scene and firing on the wrong gun wielding citizen. Arming the regular Joe could make it harder for the police to take control of a situation. Response time is a common rebuff to this argument. If a mad gunman is on the loose there may not be five minutes to spare to wait for the police to arrive.
A gun in the right place can make all the difference though. Mere days after the shooting in Connecticut another fatal incident almost occurred at a movie theatre in San Antonio, Texas. Thankfully an off-duty cop was present and shot the gunman before he took anyone’s life.
This is a complicated issue. I am not talking about the Second Amendment. I completely support that right. The issue is which will save more lives: arming civilians or waiting for law enforcement?