Mrs. Froman of Piggott Academy reached out to us recently for help with the fifth grade class's exhibition project. They needed to interview someone in the gun world, and while the questions are enough to make one choke, I was happy to provide the kids with some correct information.
1. What have you or your organization been doing to stop gun violence?
We want people to be able to protect themselves from criminals who would use a gun to rob them, hurt them, or kill them. We help people become well-trained so they can shoot back safely and only when it is necessary. We can only help law abiding citizens protect themselves with guns; we can’t stop or control what a criminal decides to do.
Groups that claim they are trying to stop “gun violence” or promote “gun safety” are most often just trying to make it harder for good people to buy guns. They don’t teach kids to stay away from found guns, how adults can lock up their guns, or how someone can shoot safely. None of their programs tries to get gang members out of their gangs or get the mentally ill into a treatment program.
These groups think that average people need to be told what to do. The biggest groups were founded by and paid by a man who wants to tell people they can’t drink big sodas. Imagine if someone told you that you needed to be smarter, so the government was going to tell you how much TV you could watch? Gun safety is about teaching people, not taking things away.
2. What can kids like us do to prevent gun violence?
No one can stop mentally ill people or criminals from breaking the law or hurting people. Guns do not hurt people all by themselves or have some sort of magical power to make a person do bad things.
Many people become violent and hurt others because bad things happen to them. If someone is angry and wants to hurt others because of what someone did to them, that person should get therapy. Kids should stay out of gangs; fighting or killing someone because they’re wearing the wrong color is stupid. Never take a gun to school if someone is bullying you or because you found it and it’s cool.
Kids can protect themselves from accidental shootings by staying away from guns. The four rules kids should remember if they find a gun is: Stop! Don’t touch it. Run away from the gun or the person who has it. Tell a responsible adult. Parents should make sure guns are locked up so children can’t access them.
3. What steps are already in place to monitor gun ownership?
No person or system can predict when a person decides to break the law, turns violent, or becomes suicidal or mentally ill. Background checks for buying guns are already in place. Laws already require guns to be secured away from children. Laws only exist to stop honest people from breaking them and to punish criminals that don’t care whatever they’ve done is illegal.
4. What could we do to make gun ownership safer?
Access to training, education, and safe shooting ranges is vital. We need to encourage safe and responsible gun ownership, storage, and carry. Many kids bring guns to school because parents don’t know better that they need to secure their guns; for example how many people know you can get a free gun lock at every police station?
If we treat guns like bad things and refuse to talk about it, we can’t keep people safe. Guns aren’t bad and talking about them isn’t either. Guns are used to protect people, at least 100,000 to over a million people, every year, often without a shot being fired. That is way more than the total number of people who are killed or hurt by guns.
It might be scary for little kids to talk about strangers, but Stranger Danger has kept many children from being kidnapped. Kids don’t know not to play with guns because gun safety isn’t taught in school like fire safety. Who knows Stop; Drop; and Roll? When was the last time someone heard of a kid catching on fire?
5. What is a Smart Gun and how can we use it to make gun ownership safer?
A “smart gun” uses an electronic key, fingerprint matching, or other technology to prevent a gun from firing except by authorized users. These devices are easily bypassed, are not robust enough to withstand the abuse guns take, and can fail when a police officer or citizen needs the gun most.
There is no technology that can tell a gun it is pointed at an innocent person or is being used to hurt someone. A criminal who was foiled by a smart gun could easily find a “dumb” gun or just use a knife or another weapon. A proper lock or gun safe is the best way to protect guns from being fired accidentally by children.
6. Do you think that people should get their gun/guns taken away?
Gun ownership is a natural right, protected by the Constitution, and no one should arbitrarily have their guns taken away. The Constitution states that property should only be taken by the government after due process of law and upon probable cause. The government should have to prove that a person is dangerous, and give the person a chance to answer, before guns are taken away.
7. Do you think that the USA should have stricter laws for guns and why?
We don’t need more laws. The USA already has over 20,000 gun laws and strictly regulates weapons like machine guns and explosives. Many times, when a criminal tries to buy a gun and his background check is denied, he is never arrested or charged with a crime. Making more laws doesn’t stop a criminal who has already decided to break the law; for instance, murder is illegal but that doesn’t stop people from killing each other.
America is at a time when the murder rate is as low as it has ever been in history. Americans are safer than they ever have before. The crime rate all over the country has dropped to historic lows and more people than ever before in history own and carry guns. In fact, over a century ago, it was illegal to carry a gun in practically every state, but yet the murder rate was many, many times higher than today. If guns were the problem, the crime rate should be sky-high, but isn’t.
8. What guns do you think people should be allowed to have?
There should be no restrictions on what type/kind of guns you can own, how many, or how much ammunition they can hold. It is the same as no one should be able to tell you what you can or can’t say, what you can or can’t read/watch, or what you can believe.
Restricting types of guns does nothing to make people safer. A gun that can shoot 10 times before reloading is just as deadly as one that can fire 30 times. Many laws make guns illegal for reasons that don’t make sense, such as the gun looks scary. A hunting rifle is just as powerful as the “military” style guns people want to ban.
The 2nd Amendment was intended for the people to have the same weapons as the military so no army could opress Americans like the British did. The Founding Fathers wanted citizens to be the army. America has a long tradition of target shooting so that its citizens would be better soldiers. The “well regulated” portion of the 2nd Amendment means that the citizens would be well equipped and well trained; not regulated by a bunch of laws.
In 1775, the Battles of Lexington and Concord started because British troops were marching to seize gunpowder and rifles from the colonial militias. The first combat in the Revolutionary War was over gun control.
In those days, owning military weapons meant things like rifles; guns that could shoot accurately for hundreds of yards in a time when men lined up shoulder to shoulder to shoot inaccurate muskets. Rifles allowed the Americans to win in battle over the British. Even back then, rifles that could fire many shots without reloading were known. Early machine guns had been invented and a silent air-rifle that carried many shots were carried by Lewis & Clark.
As strange as this sounds, the Founding Fathers would want Americans to have machine guns. This would give the average citizen the same power as a soldier. Too many times in history, evil governments have taken away guns and did horrible things to their people who couldn’t fight back. If citizens have powerful weapons--as powerful as the government--it ensures that the government can’t oppress the citizens because they can fight back.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West