Thursday, June 18, 2015

Happy triggers and gun crazies

   There was recently an article in the Los Angeles Times about guns being used by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies frequently going off by accident.  Among other incidents, a deputy shot himself in the leg while pulling his gun out to confront a suspect, another shot a bullet through a wall when he stumbled over a stroller and another
was paralyzed when his 3-year-old son was playing with his father’s gun and accidently shot him. 
   These accidental shootings have more doubled in 2 years.  In this time, the department has begun using a new gun, a Smith $ Wesson M&P, which doesn’t have a safety lock and requires less pressure to pull the trigger.  Officials argue that not only does this save time when a deputy needs to act immediately but also that having these guns that are easier to shoot will help the department get more women on the force.  There have been complaints that there aren’t enough female deputies, and it has been noted that many female recruits fail, because they have a hard time pulling the trigger.
   Look, if a woman has difficulty handling a gun, maybe she shouldn’t be a cop.  This may be an impolitic, sexist thing to say, but guns shouldn’t be super easy to shoot.  They shouldn’t be so easy to shoot that a 3-year-old can shoot one, even if it does help women. 
   The next day in the Times, there was an article in the Times about “smart” guns, like the German-made Armatix iP1 which can be fired only if its user is wearing a wireless wristband that broadcasts on a specific frequency.  Another such gun will only fire if it recognizes specific thumb prints.   These guns, which incorporate technology, can’t be used, for example, by someone who steals them or by a child who comes across them in the house – a good thing. 
   But guess what?  These guns aren’t available in the U.S. Why?  Because, although many American gun owners back such technological safety measures, hard-core gun enthusiasts have fought against them, including by boycotting American companies when they put out such guns.  What these folks, backed by the all-powerful N.R.A, argue is that these technological safety measures are another way for the government to control and ultimately take away their guns.
      This is crazy, yes, but is it any crazier than gun control laws being loosened instead of increased after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut – and people then buying more guns in case gun control laws became popular again (or, as was argued, the government decided to “take our guns away”)? And I really wonder if anything will be done in terms of gun control after the Bible study shooting at the church in Charleston, S.C, this week.  We cry out for safety, but we really rather be able to shoot. 

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