I have been reading reports of those who have been successful in their efforts of bagging deer and filling their freezers with meat to use during the winter. I have talked to others who have used their firearms for skeet shooting or target practice. I know some who belong to gun clubs and find pleasure in collecting guns from history and telling stories of parents and grandparents using some of those guns to feed the family of bygone years. I know others who simply say they feel protected by having a gun close by in case their house is penetrated by would-be robbers, or worse.
On the other hand I read in the paper or watch on the news the mayhem of murder and destruction at the hands of those wielding guns to take others' lives in movie theaters, public places, schools, drive-bys, back alleys and sometimes just for initiation to join some street gang. I read about five hundred murders in a city like Chicago where some of the toughest gun restriction laws in the nation exist. Yet, the discussions of what to do about it seem always to be centered around better background checks for people who buy the guns, more time in jail or greater fines for those who fail to report their guns being stolen, or a ban on the amount of rounds can be put into a magazine clip.
It seems to me like there are two kinds of people who own guns: One kind is that group who use the gun for hunting for food, or recreation of target practice; or simply feeling safer to have it available for protection against attack. This kind of person is willing to abide by the laws on the books regarding acquisition and concealment of their guns. The other kind of person is one who uses the gun to rob, kill people, intimidate others, belong to a gang and usually will not abide by any law governing the acquisition or concealment of that gun.
I wonder why the focus of the discussions of the problem of violence by firearms always seem to gyrate toward the group of people who use the gun for hunting, recreation or protection, and not toward the person who uses the gun to rob, kill people, intimidate others or belong to a gang?
In cities like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and every other larger city in America, there are police forces with divisions that focus on murder, gangs, robbery, rape and kidnapping. Those police departments have detectives that are infused into the population with their informants and "inside" people in the gangs and cells of violence. Why not "militarize" those "special forces" within the police departments and focus on hitting hard those people who use guns for violence, those people who are members of street gangs that create violence and enforce the laws that are already on the books. Keep hitting them hard week after week until the gang's will is broken and they learn it is not to their advantage to continue with the intimidation and violence.
Legislators should focus on passing and insisting on the enforcement of laws that focus on stiff penalties for gang violence, armed robbery and murder. The legislators should focus on the appeal process and the loopholes, as well as the bargaining for "reduced" sentences and lesser charges that puts the violent gang member back on the street using the police front door as a revolving door. In time, a real "deterrent" would evolve and the person who uses the gun for violence would think twice before using it that way.
If we continue to focus on the law-abiding citizen who uses the gun for hunting, recreation and protection while neglecting the person who uses the gun for violence, the day will come when even the police will not be able to provide protection for themselves, let alone the citizens in the community.