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home : opinions : columns   April 29, 2016

3/12/2013 10:07:00 AM
Column: Our right to bear arms



Kevin Caufield
NT Reporter




It easily was one the coolest experiences of my life up until that point. Yours truly at the age of eight was standing with my dad and Uncle Charlie alongside my Uncle Shorty’s trout ponds in the very tiny village of Turner which is buried in the woods of up north Michigan.
Several yards in front of us were a couple sawhorses with various items set carefully on top such as a tin can, a small empty box, and assorted what-not I cannot remember.
Nearby on a table was an assortment of firearms: a shotgun, 30-06 hunting rifle, and an assortment of revolvers and pistols with boxes of assorted ammunition.
As for me, I had my BB gun rifle and a bulging front jean pocket full of BBs.
It seems today many of our elected leaders, people who live in cities and those completely ignorant about firearms would be aghast at such a scene. To them, the very thought of owning a weapon or teaching a young boy firearm responsibility is far too dangerous and reckless and government must step in and protect us.
Maybe they think an erosion of the 2nd Amendment will make the general populous much easier to rule which has long been a key to happiness for progressive leaders. Or maybe people are unfortunately ignorant enough to believe gun control laws will somehow limit gun crime despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary (i.e. Chicago has very progressive-style gun bans and is one of the leaders in gun-related homicide).
What I would like to enter into the gun control debate are some recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Centers for Disease Control regarding gun-related deaths.
n Knives and cutting tools accounted for 1,825 deaths in 2009, 1,477 more than rifles.
n Clubs, hammers, and other blunt objects totaled 611 in 2009, 263 more than rifles.
n Hands, fists, and feet killed 801 in 2009, 453 more than rifles.
Obviously, we’re not going to ban knives, cutting tools, clubs, hammers, blunt objects, and require citizens constantly to wear padded gloves…I hope.
But I think the data shows gun-control proponents are simply ignorant and scared of what they do not understand — never mind the countless failures of gun-free zones and other similar nonsensical pieces of gun-control law.
And that is the fault of those of us who stand for the Bill of Rights. We need to reach out to those that have no experience with firearms and show them the joys of target shooting, hunting, and teach them that an armed and responsible populace has always been the cure for tyranny.
We that stand for the Bill of Rights also have another responsibility.
The scenario I described above wasn’t meant to illustrate that one of the coolest experiences of my first eight years of life was standing around all that weaponry. It was when my dad looked at me and asked if I wanted to try his.
Dad instructed me just as he did with the BB gun. Rule 1: never point the weapon at anything other than the ground unless you are ready to fire it. (And he sternly told me he didn’t care if I thought it was unloaded.)
The pistol was just a .22 revolver. But I can still remember the tingle in my little hands when I pulled the trigger, that immediate waft of freshly lit gunpowder, and my amazement at how badly I missed.
If we as a society truly want to limit gun-related deaths then we should support educational programs such as the city of Peru’s BB gun club, encourage anti-gun folks to step outside of their comfort zone and spend an afternoon at the gun range with a qualified instructor, and remember to teach our sons and daughters the common sense value that guns don’t kill people, stupid and evil people kill people.

Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or countyreporter@newstrib.com.












Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Article comment by: ronwood61

20977, your long comment was very good in understanding where you are coming from, although there were a couple of points I disagree with, and there was some logic in it. You should have stopped at that point as your added shorter comment negates your long one by showing the paranoia promoted by the NRA that our big bad government is going to come for our hunting guns, something that never will happen and never has even in the countries that have very strict gun safety laws.

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Article comment by: METALWORKER

A gun is a gun is a gun weather it came from grandpa, was stolen, bought from a street vender out of the trunk of a car or was bought from a gun shop under the table as happens.

Using others language, a crazy is a crazy is a crazy weather they ay one knows it or not, Some can hide it for years before that condition comes to the surface. Grandpa's guns may well go to that person. They may well go to a drugie, a wife abuser or worse.
That #$%^& gun is just a gun and not the holy grail.
GIVE IT A REST, PUT IT IN IT'S PROPER PLACE. It is an instrument of death and destruction and as such , not every one should have one. Every one who wants one should have to qualify, phy. and ment. bi annually just as most law enforcement must.


Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous20977

I did forget to add one thing. Some people say that they don't have assault rifles or extended magazines. They have a rifle or shotgun for hunting. They say they don't mind if someone wants to take away those things because they don't have them and it doesn't pertain to them. Well, there are people in Congress right now, as well as lobbyists and anti-gun groups, that want to get rid of ALL guns. Period. What would you say about "rights" when they come for your Grampa's shotgun passed down through the years to you? For that .22 rifle you hunt rabbits and squirrels with? Want to give up your favorite duck gun? Once you give something up you generally don't ever get it back. They usually come looking for more. Once something gets started it's hard to stop it. Just because I don't have something doesn't mean I should let it get taken away from someone else. I would hope that they would stand up for me if the situation was reversed.

Thank you for listening.


Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous20977

OK, here is MY view. I fully support background checks. We have them NOW. Every time I want to buy a gun I fill out the form and it gets run through the system, just like everyone else does. This is from a dealer who has the forms obviously. This is done according to the LAW. Private sales of guns currently do not require background checks and forms. Politicians say this is a loophole for criminals to buy guns and want every sale to have a check. We sort of have that in place already. BY LAW, private gun sales here in Illinois require both parties to keep a record of the gun and the seller and buyer's FOID number for I believe 10 years. So, if done BY LAW, the FOID card shows that both parties have had a background check done by the State Police already! Now, background checks are great. They would work better if the reporting agencies such as mental health professionals, govt. offices, police, etc. would communicate with each other and report any people deemed unworthy of passing a firearm background check. Ever hear of the HIPAA Law? It keeps medical records private. Hmm, I take that as meaning they won't release those records, which means the nutjob in some shrink's office won't be put into the database and therefore won't raise any flags when a check is done. It's also been established that the percentage of people proven to have lied on their applications and then PROSECUTED for doing so is very low. Enforcement of any and all CURRENT laws would greatly reduce gun crimes if those folks were taken off the street like they should be.

As for concealed carry, I believe it should be allowed in Illinois. No, not for everyone, but for those who take the time and effort to apply, take and pass the required testing and TRAINING, and are approved by the department handling such things. This does not mean everyone would be walking around with a "cannon" feeling like a "big man". Again, notice I said testing and training.

As for the "assault weapon" and large magazines I personally don't feel any ban or restriction would make any difference. Assuming a new law would work like the last one that expired, any and all weapons and mags already owned would be grandfathered in. So there would STILL be all of them in the system. To completely make them illegal and require them to be turned in or disposed of would be virtually impossible to enforce. Only the completely lawful would comply. Plus, many otherwise lawful people would "forget' they had something and keep it. I really doubt anyone would be reimbursed for the value of their weapons they would have to turn over forever. So, there would STILL be thousands and thousands of "banned and illegal" weapons STILL in circulation even with a law against them. Does "illegal drugs" ring any bells?

My personal belief is that we need more ENFORCEMENT and PROSECUTION for the thousands of weapon laws already on the books. More interaction between reporting agencies when doing background checks to weed out more who would fail. Not to mention more parental involvement with their children in their upbringing. Leaving them sit in their room all day playing video games is not family time to me. Get kids involved with something so they learn how to deal with people, not hide from them. Don't turn your back if they seem "moody" or withdrawn. Be a parent.

Sorry for the long post, but I felt that I needed to clarify where I stood on the subjects. Hopefully you would see I'm not a raving, gun loving redneck out to shoot up everything in sight. I'm just a guy who feels that our government has poked their noses into our lives way too much already. THEY know what is best for us. Yet they can't even agree on something simple like a budget that American households do every day! I feel they should STOP creating MORE redundant laws and take care of the ones already in place.

As a side note, the guns used at Columbine were a 9MM rifle, a 9mm handgun, and two shotguns. Three out of four were guns truly made for hunting. I'll allow the handgun as a "people" weapon.

Now, feel free to comment on my beliefs and opinions, but please try to understand that no matter what, gun crimes WILL happen. Criminals will ONLY give up their gun when they are arrested for a crime. No system is perfect, but perhaps with some training and enforcement things can get better. Punishing (by restricting) the law abiding citizens for the law breaking citizen's actions will NEVER solve the problem.

I will now stop commenting on any and all gun related articles because this should establish my position on them. Plus, I really don't think I would or could change anyone's mind on the subject. It seems like they are already established.


Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
Article comment by: METALWORKER

No, I do not paint every one with a broad brush.
When winnowing wheat the only way to separate the grain from the chaff is to toos the whole mess it to the air and let the chaff blow away.
You on the other hand choose to paint everyone as having a right that can only be taken away after they kill or cause an injury to some one.
You, refuse to agree that the only way to keep weapons out of the mentally weak is to test everyone before an act is perpetrated and not after the wake.
Please, get it right. I own guns, I fire guns, I fish with children and I go to church, movies, plays and support them in all they do.
I do not nor will not put gun ownership ahead of a child's right to run free.
I will not put guns in schools and arm teachers just so you can boast about the cannon you can carry where no one can see it but it makes you feel like a big man.
Just won't do that.



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