Gun regulation: Citizens have a right to self protection

Ryan Wetley, Staff Writer

On Jan. 8, our nation was once again forced to take a collective breath in the face of a grave tragedy. That day, in Tucson, Ariz., six people were killed and an additional 13 were wounded including U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

As this incident involved the use of a firearm it seemed prudent to examine the question of responsible gun ownership and the laws of such. As an advocate for the Second Amendment, I support the use of firearms by law-abiding, upstanding citizens for hunting, sport, and for self-protection.

A controversial issue is the concealment of handguns. When I think of concealed carry I think not of John Wayne taking the law into his own hands to strike down every cowboy in a black hat.

A weaker five-foot-tall person with limited mobility who is armed suddenly has the ability to protect him or herself against a stronger more agile opponent such as a rapist, gun-wielding carjacker or even a murderer.

One woman in Tulsa, Okla., for example, thwarted an attempted rape and robbery in her home in July 2010. She shot both perpetrators after they broke into her home and stripped her naked.

I have also spent time with a gentleman in New Mexico who carries a concealed pistol loaded with “snake shot” as protection against venomous snakes that are prevalent in the region.

In a world where we cannot even agree to dismantle nuclear weapons, firearms are a reality of our modern existence. In pure Utopia there would be no need for firearms.  Sadly that is not reality.

A repeal of our Second Amendment rights means that law-abiding citizens would be the only ones without a means of leveraging a feasible measure of protection for themselves.  The only other option is to depend on police officers.

Pick a city and you can read about precincts stretched thin and uncontained violence. For example, in April 2010, Illinois State Representatives John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford asked Governor Pat Quinn to deploy the National Guard to the City of Chicago as major crimes were rising at unprecedented rates.

The efforts of those who oppose firearms and argue fervently for stricter gun laws are necessary and appreciated. Only our exact ideologies differ. I am awash in a current reality that irrefutably dictates that armed thugs, with little or no regard to the lives of others, will always have weapons available to them.

However, I do agree with my detractors in one specific area and it has to do with ownership responsibility. I believe that there should be stringent bars that have to be passed in order to attain a weapon, similar to the tests in place that are required of an individual to attain a driver license. I believe that a prospective firearm owner should have to pass a test of applicable laws and demonstrate competency in the class of firearm desired.

Life is defined by the choices we make. In this life you can choose to rely continually on others for protection or you can take the proper measures to protect yourself. Many of us choose the latter.