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Leave My Guns Alone

Army vet and weapons instructor shares a challenge with those who want a firearm-free America

Those who are against the lawful owning of firearms by citizens of this country often fail when confronted with a simple truth. As I have in the past, I like to use a story to illustrate my point, so here is one for the groups previously mentioned.

Two men stand in a room, each on the opposite side of a table. Lying in the middle of the table is a firearm. One of the men is bent on using the gun to kill as many innocent people as he can. The other man is set on protecting his family if needed, but hopes to never have to kill.

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They both lunge for the gun at the same time. Herein lies the question: If the murderer gets the gun and kills, is what the man uses it for the gun’s fault? If the family man gets the gun and defends himself or his family, is it the fault of the gun? If we change the gun to a knife, or a bat or crowbar, do we blame the tool and not the man?

That is the problem: Advocates for restricting gun ownership, such as Everytown and Gunsense, blame the tool, not the user. Whenever there is a discussion, they want to require new laws and restrictions on guns, not people.

In all of my 35 years as a cop, I witnessed people do unimaginable things to each other: shootings, stabbings, burnings. People even beat other people to death with a hammer. Maybe it is my exposure to this violence and harm that has given me the perspective I have, but I realize that the tool has nothing to do with the intent.

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Sometimes, people are evil and violent. Some are mentally ill. Some are drunk or on drugs, while others are psychopaths.

Laws don’t automatically stop crime. Murder is already illegal. The list goes on, yet they still happen.

Regardless, I have learned from years of experience that the cruelty of humans is the problem, not the tool.

Many are spending millions of dollars to try to restrict gun ownership (regardless of the fact that it’s a right in the Constitution) and force more laws on law-abiding citizens. Would these millions of dollars not be better spent fighting for issues that would make a bigger impact? I can only shake my head as I see millions being spent trying to restrict a tool instead of the action behind it.

Laws don’t automatically stop crime. Murder is already illegal. Robbery and rape are illegal as well. The list goes on, yet they still happen. Drugs are illegal, yet you can buy them on many street corners. What makes anyone think guns can be restricted in any way?

Regardless, they are a right afforded to us by our forefathers.

Related: Good Guys with Guns Stop Bad Guys with Guns

So why do the Everytown and Gunsense followers seem to miss the fact that they are fighting against an inanimate object? Just as we do not blame cars for vehicle crashes, we should not be blaming guns for shootings. This was never more clear to me once I became a firearms instructor for law enforcement.

As such an instructor, I have seen my share of negligent discharges. It takes a human to make a firearm go off.

And if one follows the four simple gun safety rules, accidents don’t happen — but negligent discharges do. The same goes for all gun uses or discharges. A gun does not go off on its own. A human must make it discharge.

Related: Countering Violence: ‘Being Prepared Is Better Than Not Being Prepared’

So we need to stop blaming the object for all of these deaths and blame the real cause: human violence and nature. And if we could only get the Everytown and Gunsense groups to direct all their energy and money toward combating human issues that cause these problems, the problems may begin to be effectively moderated.

Oh, and speaking of carnage — if I hear the term epidemic or dramatic increase used to describe murder and violent crime, I will scream. All of those have gone down by double-digit percentages over the past 20 years. So next time an anti-firearms type tells you that the gun violence must stop, tell them it never started — guns are not violent, people are.

Focus on the issues, not the tools.

Chris Wagoner is a U.S. Army veteran and senior OpsLens contributor. He has been in law enforcement the past 35-plus years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction and is in charge of a large police academy in North Florida. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

Read more at OpsLens:
Learning to Shoot: How Much Training Is Enough?
Trying Juveniles as Adults: New Solution to Old Problem

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