Let the police control the gunsPublished 8:59am Thursday, June 19, 2014
In Texas, a group of gun rights extremists known as Open Carry Texas have been carrying their rifles into businesses to make the case for open carry laws without regard for the well being of others. They act as if we, as a nation, are supposed to trust that they know what they are doing.
Apparently in Texas it is legal to carry a long gun in public as long as no one feels threatened.
I recently spoke with a retired police officer about this and he stated to me that he supported gun control and when I asked him why he said, “Because I trust me with a gun. I don’t trust you with a gun. You’d be surprised the stupid things we see people do behind the wheel of a car. The last thing cops need is armed citizens running around forgetting to put the safety on, dropping them in stores where there are kids or getting drunk at the bar with a pistol on the table.”
This sort of extremism will only lead to more gun violence and accidental shootings and proves that America needs more restrictive gun laws.
A group of concerned mothers have formed an organization called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The group is dedicated to boycotting businesses that allow these gun rights extremists to openly carry firearms in their establishments.
The group has already had some success. Companies such as Chipotle, Starbucks and Chili’s have all banned the carrying of firearms in their establishments to protect their staff and customers. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 100,000 Americans are affected by gun violence each year and an average of 32 people a day are killed by a firearm. On average, 51 people a day take their own life and approximately eight children are killed every day by guns.
Here in Michigan, recent legislation introduced in the state senate will remove some of the concealed carry oversight and fast track the ability to get a license, possibly putting more guns onto the street and into our communities. Senate Bill 789 would take the responsibility for background checks out of the hands of county gun boards and turn it over to the state police.
There are an estimated 90,000 CPL applications each year and the Michigan State Police oppose this legislation because it will require them to hire more personnel and their funding is not adequate enough to handle that much volume.
Recently, a man in Kalamazoo carried a holstered handgun into the parking lot of a library while dropping his daughter off for at a summer reading event. When asked to leave the man refused, stating that he had the right to carry his firearm.
Even though it is legal for the man to carry the gun was it a responsible thing to do? In a world that seems to grow more violent everyday I understand the frustration that many feel, but we cannot allow our fears to erode our common sense. We cannot let this sort of foolish bravado threaten the well being of innocents.
Carrying a loaded assault rifle into a crowded restaurant demonstrates the irresponsible attitude of many gun rights advocates.
I’ve been a gun owner most of my life and I have lived in several bad neighborhoods, but I have never felt it was necessary to carry a firearm. I let law enforcement do their job and provide us with safety and security.
Instead of giving in to our fear and paranoia, why don’t we invest more money into law enforcement? There is no better determent for crime than more cops on the street.
William Crandell is a community activist and member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.