Our Voices for Dec. 15, 2012

Time to end easy access to guns

By Ed Pratt

Special to The Advocate

OK, I’m going to say it: As the bodies of innocent people continue to pile up and spill out onto the streets, someone is going to have to say it’s time to make it more difficult for the lunatics to get guns.

Once you say that, the folks who preach the right to bear arms are going to say their rights are being threatened because the Second Amendment allows them the right to march into a gun store to purchase and walk out with an M1 A1 Abrams tank if they so desire.

They will say guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Then they will say, “You can’t ban guns because people kill people with knives, spoons, arrows and paint brushes. You can’t ban those things.”

Honestly, I have not seen many mass slayings caused by arrows and knives. I think the dozens of people killed Friday in Newton, Conn., would have had a fighting chance to survive if they had been attacked by a knife-wielding assailant or someone with arrows.

The truth is there are not many people clamoring to stop people from having the right to bear arms. Look, if you want a Gatling gun, I’m all for it. But I think someone should check out your background before you walk out of the store or weapons show.

It shouldn’t be easier to keep a gun than a Happy Meal. According to an ABC-TV news report earlier his year, statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show there are some 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers in the United States. There are just over 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the country. “I’ll have a cup of armor piercing bullets with shake, thank you.”

You expect the argument from the National Rifle Association and others that no one should stop them from getting the guns much like you get popcorn at the movies. Now, these same people will order an item from an online business and will be willing to wait days for a single-shot coffee maker. So, why the hang up about waiting a day or two to get a killing machine like a semi-automatic rifle?

Some sort of control on who should be able to get weapons is just good sense. I don’t want to hear the refrain that the government is coming to take my gun away nonsense. Keep your guns. Get a Stealth Bomber, some grenades and a surface-to-air missile.

But the bottom line is, until we get some control over weapons free-for-all, we will continue to have mass funerals and unbelievable tragedies like the one we had yesterday and across the country in the past couple years.

There has to be some sensible approach to dealing with the problem that continues to grow. While folks complain bitterly about gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana, the unbridled health hazard of unfettered gun ownership is resulting in deaths and maiming.

The frustrating truth of the matter is that no single or collection of laws will stop all gun violence. But something has to be done and done quickly.

Ed Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant for media relations to the chancellor of Southern University. His email address is epratt1972@yahoo.com.