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When is Enough, Enough?

by Jody Miller on February 18, 2013

This week’s NewsNite is part of the national discussion about gun violence following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut in mid-December. It’s a discussion going on in living rooms and at kitchen tables, in work places and at the gym, in social media and here on PBS. We taped this program as a way to try to better inform our viewers by presenting the disparate sides of a most volatile issue.

My thanks to Dan Clevenger, a retired detective with the Fairlawn Police Department; he owns D & D Firearms Instructors and was my instructor when I got my Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit; Rosie Craig, who appeared as a member of and spokesperson for the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence; and Julie Dobransky, co-owns Dobransky Firearms in Massillon with her husband Dave . All three were passionate and powerful spokespeople for their respective positions, and all three raised some issues and argued some points relevant to our discussion. I am grateful to the three of them for their willingness to put themselves in the forefront of this issue on our weekly broadcast. I learned a lot at that taping and then realized afterward that the most important thing I learned was not about guns.

While taping the program, I saw how we, in this country, very often reach an impasse in solving any common problem. Our passions and resolve get in the way of seeing the other side. Our commitment to what we believe to be a just cause prohibits us from even hearing what is being said from the opposing side. The tunnel vision of those firmly held beliefs eliminates any possibility for compromise – let alone understanding. And our inability to search for, find and reach common ground (very often through just common sense) destroys any hope for meaningful solutions. Yet once the cameras were turned off (as so often happens in these cases), I watched Rosie and Julie engage in animated but respectful conversation. They continued talking after leaving the set; in fact, they left the studio together, still talking. Will they change each other’s minds? Not a chance, but they were talking, so I see the hope in that.

But as author Pat Conroy once wrote, “Life wounds me in places only hope can reach.”

I left the studio after the taping and started home only to hear the news on my car radio that in Akron, a 4-year-old boy had been shot in the head and was taken to the hospital where he died.

There are an estimated 300 million firearms in circulation in this United States, a country of some 315 million people. As Ms. Craig stated on our program, more than 30 people die every day from a gun-related injury. That’s some 2,000 recorded guns deaths in the 10 weeks since Newtown, and that includes a 4-year-old boy in Akron, killed with his father’s handgun, a handgun the father was not supposed to have.

I understand and affirm the right to bear arms. I also know that responsible gun ownership is not the reason for the vast majority of shootings we hear or read about every day. I know the arguments and statistics; I have heard the platitudes and hyperbole both pro and con; I know how passionately those on each side of this issue believe in their positions. But I still cannot accept that the people of this country cannot find common ground to work toward stopping the gun violence that is destroying so many lives.

Can we not find areas of this debate where we can begin to stop the senseless gun deaths? Whether background checks for every gun purchase or mandatory prison sentences for anyone committing any crime with a gun or expanding and improving mental health services or funding and moving forward with unrestricted research on what makes so many in our society immune to the violence that has become so commonplace in that society, let’s start somewhere. Can we not find common-sense ways to work toward keeping the guns out of the hands of those who have no right to those guns and, in doing so, protect the thousands of lives lost every year?

If we don’t begin the national dialogue and start somewhere, we may find that mass tragedies like Aurora, Newtown, Tucson, Virginia Tech, and Chardon and the senseless death of a 4-year-old in Akron will be repeated over and over and over.

The only question is when is enough, enough?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Boros February 22, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Here is the problem… how do you have a 100% background check for every gun transfer without 100% gun registration? 100% gun registration means 100% future vulnerability to confiscation of guns at the whim of government. The States of New York and California have already proven that registration in good faith results in the bad faith of government ultimately deciding to confiscate. 100% gun registration requirements will result in guaranteed massive civil disobedience. Here is a valid question. How is this going to prevent another Sandy Hook? The answer is that it will not. Those who would prohibit guns do not want to prevent another Sandy Hook or Columbine. They need more carnage to justify more counterproductive gun control. Sandy Hook and Columbine and the other school shootings that have taken 93 lives since the 1995 Gun Free School Zone Act were enabled by “pretend” gun free zones. The only answer is for school districts to use provisions of the 1995 act to train and authorize volunteer teachers and other concealed carry licensees to provide an active armed instant response deterrent. We need teachers and administrators that are capable of putting the red laser dot on the killers head and blowing his demented brains out. Here is another question. Why is the black firearm murder rate so much higher than the non-black firearm murder rate? If the black rate equaled the non-black rate we could prevent 40% of the firearm murders in this country with less than 14% of the population black. This would have saved 5255 black lives in 2002 and 3729 black lives in 2009. The Violence Policy Center states that the majority of the black firearms murders were caused by arguments. We seem to have a major cultural issue here that needs to be addressed.

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Larry Boros February 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I am the Webmaster for the ORCO Sportsman’s Association. Here are some links to the ORCO Sportsmans website that have many provocative but factual presentations.

http://orcosportsmans.com/Pages/EternalVigilance.htm

http://orcosportsmans.com/Pages/ConcealedCarry.htm

http://orcosportsmans.com/Pages/GunControl.htm

http://orcosportsmans.com/Pages/Assault.html

Reply

Julie Dobransky February 23, 2013 at 11:08 am

I would like to clear up a common misconception that many people believe.
A background check does not provide the government the make , model or serial number of an actual gun that a person is buying.
The information sent to the ATF is the type of gun that is being puchased… long gun, hand gun and a category of other.
A background check examines the background of an individual as well as the age.

Julie

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