Tragedy strikes, yet gun control is not the solution

Published 12:33 am Wednesday, October 10, 2001

By Staff
In the midst of much national clamoring by left-leaning politicians for gun control, The Birmingham News reported last week that yet another child was the victim of stray gunfire.
An 11-year-old Birmingham boy died after a bullet fired during an attack at a grocery store hit him in the head. Jerome Fails was on his way to pick up a lollipop and a bag of potato chips when he was struck.
This kind of attack, this kind of atrocity, may be among the worst we, as a nation, are facing. The lives of innocent children are being lost in street battles when thugs, punks, thieves, murderers and hoodlums decide to spray one another with bullets to settle differences over drugs, girls, pride or gangs. These people think that the quick solution to a disagreement is to remove the disagreeing party from the earth. And in the process, sometimes things go awry.
Now the question that politicians debate daily arises: Is gun control the answer?
We don't think so. While some restrictions on who can purchase firearms are reasonable, others that have been proposed are not.
Certainly, convicted felons shouldn't be allowed to buy firearms. Obviously, no weekend sportsman has a need for a fully automatic weapon. Certainly minors shouldn't be allowed to buy guns unrestricted.
But that's where we believe the line should be drawn.
Many of us would agree to gun control if we believed taking every firearm off the street would save the life of our son, daughter, mother or father. But most of us also believe that the statistical likelihood of our loved ones getting struck by gunfire is low compared to the price that was paid for our freedom – including our right to bear arms.
We don't buy into the hype that we can remove guns from our streets. We have seen failed experiments in prohibition, an ongoing war on drugs, a horrible war on terrorism that is being waged, and we don't believe that we can remove guns from the hands of dangerous people, just as we don't believe we can remove drugs from the hands of junkies or bombs from the hands of terrorists.
The solution is to get bad people off the streets through tough crime laws, through strict enforcement of strong sentencing laws for violent offenders, and even through the death penalty.
These are the things in our arsenal that we can use to fight a war on the thugs who shoot up our streets, our homes and our families. We must target them, not the instruments they use to do their dirty work. To do otherwise is akin to blaming the axe for the crimes of the axe murderer.
Let's support more law enforcement officers in our communities. Let's fight for more funding for prisons, for more places to put violent offenders, for tougher parole boards and for safer communities.
These are our weapons. Not legislation that makes it illegal for law abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox