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Posts Tagged ‘gun control’

Gun crime liability rests with shooter

In Crime, history, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology on January 21, 2016 at 1:00 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOGun control is one of those subjects that is, at best, incendiary and at worst causes explosive arguments. Debate is heated and emotionally driven regarding the real meaning of the second constitutional amendment and how it applies in modern American life.

But it might be that we’re missing a larger question as we grapple to decide whether guns should be available at all to private citizens. Perhaps a larger and more readily answered question should be, who actually carries the criminal responsibility when someone uses a firearm to harm others?

Recently, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders stated that, if elected, he would work to repeal the immunity granted by congress to firearms manufacturers. Passed into law in 2005, The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products.

Most of the disagreement comes from debate surrounding the “intended use” of a product relative to manufacturer or reseller liability. From some points of view, the only intended use of a firearm (gun) is to kill people. However, those law-abiding citizens who maintain guns with absolutely no ill intentions towards others heatedly contest this line of thought.

Ranchers and farmers must have firearms in order to protect property and livestock from wildlife. Even in southwestern Ohio, for example, the wild coyote has become an ever-increasing problem to cattle farms and other livestock producers. While fences, traps and dogs have been used to curb the problem, often a rifle seems to offer the only permanent solution.

At some point, lawmakers need to understand that pulling the trigger is the choice and sole responsibility of the shooter.

At some point, lawmakers need to understand that pulling the trigger is the choice and sole responsibility of the shooter.

But, if one subscribes to the concept that guns are only intended for killing of people, then, logically, culpability rests solely with those who build and sell weapons. Since, by this definition, the products are meant for killing there is no “misuse” of the firearm if it is used to murder.

Conversely, if an axe were used to kill someone, the manufacturer wouldn’t be held criminally liable because the product was not intended for that purpose. Once again, however, why is no one looking at the guy on the trigger (or handle, if the axe is still in play here)?

Once upon a time in America, responsibility for ones actions was the basis for many a legal precedent. Today, the United States has adopted a social climate rich with the idea the personal responsibility is politically incorrect.

At what point did Americans stop blaming the person who pulled the trigger and begin assigning responsibility, not to the perpetrator, but to the manufacturer or seller of the weapon used to commit the crime?

And the next question is, where does self-defense come into play? Who is responsible if someone threatens a law-abiding citizen with an illegally obtained gun and the victim protects herself with a legally purchased and licensed concealed pistol? Good question. It would clearly depend on the facts of the situation.

Making guns entirely illegal is not the answer either. Arguing that swords and battle-axes are illegal so no one uses them to commit crimes because of that fact is, well, stupid; apples to oranges. This kind of weapon simply doesn’t do enough damage for those with mayhem in mind.

Facing facts, the bad guys will always have guns because, quite simply, they don’t obey the law (that’s what makes them bad guys). So if the only people who can own and use a gun – for any purpose at all – are criminals, what are people supposed to do to protect their families and property?

When an act of self-defense has taken place, it should be up to the investigating police officials and, perhaps, eventually a jury to evaluate the culpability and intent where any weapon is concerned. Once again, the discussion has to circle back around to personal responsibility.

Better background check data, waiting periods for purchase and greater restrictions on gun show sales are good options for the short term. They maintain second amendment rights while providing increased safety and also address the question of personal responsibility. Applying some common sense while protecting the rights and security of Americans might just save some lives.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is syndicated by GLD Enterprises Communications Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com.

Hitler didn’t disarm the German people, the Allies did

In Business, Education, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, Religion, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on February 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

This picture couldn't be more inaccurate. Hitler was a strong advocate of gun deregulation.

This picture couldn’t be more inaccurate. Hitler was a strong advocate of gun deregulation.

It’s an unfortunate fact that many high-profile politicians only speak out about issues like gun control when devastating events like mass shootings hit the headlines. Suddenly, people shift to one side of the debate or the other; with conservative Republicans typically taking the defensive, pro-gun position.

Unfortunately, most of this issue is argued, not from factual evidence or statistics, but from the standpoint of emotion, religious dogma and political position. If that isn’t enough, conservative extremists hoping to insight fear seem to always cite Hitler’s Nazi Germany as an example of what could happen to America if guns are taken away. Sadly, people rarely do any research before they start spewing nonsense like this; again, why let facts get in the way of a good scare tactic?

In fact, Adolf  Hitler did have a gun control policy, one that many on both sides of the debate say looked a lot like that proposed by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. But Hitler’s policy was an addition to gun control acts set up by the Allied powers after World War I to prevent Germany from regaining a military presence.

Quoting Cris Miles, editor of PolyMic.com, “The German (gun control) regulation was in response to the Treaty of Versailles and the Weimar government passed the legislation (not the Nazis).” Article 169 of the Treaty of Versailles stated, “Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German arms, munitions, and war material, including anti-aircraft material, existing in Germany in excess of the quantities allowed, must be surrendered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be destroyed or rendered useless.

As Mr. Miles points out in his own article on the subject, the wording of this policy must sound like the nightmare of every pro-gun activist in the country. So far, there is no national legislation being proposed promoting confiscation of personal firearms. Keep in mind that the German regulations were put into effect nearly a decade and a half before Hitler’s Fascist party took control of the country in 1933. In a strange twist of irony, pro-gun advocates might be surprised to learn that they had something in common with the vile German dictator.

As it turns out, Hitler was a strong supporter of gun deregulation. In 1928, German citizens were granted the right to carry a firearm (applying only to handguns at that point) with a permit but where ownership was restricted to, “Persons whose trustworthiness is not in question and who can show a need for a (gun) permit.” (That had to be interesting to enforce before the days of the Internet).

The 1938 German Weapons Act effectively removed most other barriers to gun ownership, deregulating the acquisition of rifles, shotguns and ammunition. It also lowered the gun ownership age to 18 and forbid Jews from manufacturing or selling firearms. It wasn’t until the Nazi surrender after World War II in 1945 that the country was once again disarmed.

So, in effect, it was the United States and the Allies that disarmed Germany each time, not the Nazis. In 1956, German citizens were once again allowed to own firearms, but gun laws in that country are far more restrictive than those in America. The point is that America’s leaders are not trying to circumvent the Constitution but are desperately faced with the seemingly insurmountable problem of rampant gun violence against innocents.

Comparing President Obama, or any other U.S. leader, to one of the most notorious mass murderers in the history of the world is, to put it mildly, disrespectful and unpatriotic. Such statements only further demonstrate the ignorance of a few gun-obsessed people trying to make a point from an uneducated, feeble position.

Any fruitful debate on gun control must originate from facts and effective solutions will have to include some better method to keep deadly weapons from the hands of career criminals and the mentally ill. The idea that weak arguments can be made stronger simply by citing events from Nazi Germany is foolish, to say the least, and just weakens the position of the debater, particularly when the history being quoted is so inaccurate.