Irresponsible Gun Owner Link Round-Up 7.24.15

The United States is saturated with guns. We have a population of more than 300 million and there are nearly enough guns in this country for every child, woman, and man. Thankfully out of that 300 million, only a minority own guns (source). Unfortunately, among that minority exists a number of people who are irresponsible gun owners. Whether its improperly cleaning a gun, carrying a gun into a bar, shooting someone’s pet out of anger, shooting a spouse because they don’t perform housework, or shooting someone because your religious beliefs prohibit the consumption of clamato juice, many gun owners demonstrate a lack of responsible handling of firearms. Here are five recent examples:

Man shoots friend’s hand

Officers learned that 53-year-old Ed Swisher had an argument with 38-year-old Patricia Winters – then left the scene after he allegedly broke all the windows on a 1998 Ford F150.

The woman told deputies that Swisher had been drinking with friends and had been shot in the hand.

Canton Police found Swisher on Wednesday and transported him back to Salina.

Sheriff Kochanowski says Swisher was treated and released from the hospital for a gunshot wound from a rifle – then booked on charges for criminal damage to property and domestic battery.

Swisher told authorities that he had challenged a friend to shoot a hat from his hand with a rifle – the bullet hit his hand and exited.

Speaking of stupid-ass reasons to deploy your gunz…

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Florida mans shoots teen daughter’s boyfriend after boy dares him

The boy suffered graze wound to his face after staring down the barrel of a shotgun, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“The father and victim do not have a good relationship,” Lt. Paul Hopkins, of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, told WFTV.

Determined to see his girlfriend nonetheless, the boy drove up to her home at about 4 p.m. on Sunday and was confronted by two shotgun wielding men; her stepfather, Alvin Knight, and his friend. Instead of leaving, the 16-year-old placed the barrel on his face and dared Knight, saying he was unafraid.

The blast only grazed the youngster’s face, the Sentinel reports. The boy is expected to recover. Authorities told WFTV that the gun discharge was accidental.

Knight, 50, was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, but posted bail and was released Saturday, according to local FOX35.

Even if the two adults thought they were protecting the girl (and there’s no indication from this story that they young man was a threat to her), they escalated things by bringing firearms. The kid had no weapons, so there should have been no need for them to carry any weapons. It’s ridiculous that so many people jump straight to using guns to resolve all manner of conflicts. Guns are lethal weapons that should be used as a last resort. They should not be used as the first line of defense save for the most extreme circumstances. The other problem this situation illustrates is a lack of respect for the right of other people to live. Threatening someone with a gun for something as minor as wanting to see one’s girlfriend is excessive. Even if it could be argued that it was somehow immoral, unethical, or illegal, such an act does not rise to the level of harm that would necessitate threatening to end someone’s life. Sadly, many gun owners display a casual disregard for human life. Such disregard is also apparent in the way many people carelessly store their guns as seen in the next story.

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4-year-old accidentally shoots himself with grandfather’s gun

A 4-year-old boy is recovering at Sinai Grace Hospital in temporary serious condition after he accidentally shot himself in the abdomen with his grandfather’s gun.

There were no other kids in the house, according to Detroit police.

It happened around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday in the 16300 block of West Chicago on Detroit’s west side.

The boy’s grandfather is reportedly a security officer.

Police say the boy’s grandfather was getting ready for work and put the gun on top of the refrigerator.

The boy reportedly climbed up using chairs. The grandfather walked into the room and startled the boy, which is what prompted the gun to discharge.

He was taken to Sinai Grace Hospital.

Detroit police encourage anyone with firearms to keep them secure at all times so nobody gets hurt.

That last line…sigh. That should be common knowledge among all gun owners. I don’t understand why this man, who is a security officer, did not ensure his gun was secure. If you cannot ensure it is kept out of the hands of children, then you are being an irresponsible gun owner. Here’s another story almost identical to the one above.

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Boy, 3, finds gun in home, shoots self, police say

The shooting took place around 9 a.m. at a two-family home in the 1200 block of Walton Avenue, near Fountain Park. The toddler shot himself with a semiautomatic handgun that was kept low enough in the back bedroom for the boy to grab it, police said.

Police took two men to headquarters for questioning. They are relatives of the boy and were in the home – though not in the back bedroom with the boy — when the shooting took place, Capt. Michael Sack said.

Later Tuesday afternoon, a police spokeswoman said officers arrested a man, 24. He had not been charged with a crime as of Tuesday evening. She also said officers found five guns inside the home.

The child abuse unit of the St. Louis Police Department is handling the investigation.

Sack reminded gun owners to keep their weapons in places where children can’t get them.

“They’re dangerous and the consequences can be terrible,” Sack said.

No shit! And these terrible consequences Keep. On. Happening. If you don’t know that part of proper gun safety is keeping guns out of the reach of children, you shouldn’t be handling guns. Moreover, when your carelessness leads to the awful outcomes of the above two stories, you have demonstrated you are not responsible with a firearm. In a fair and just world, you would be prohibited from owning a gun, but that’s just me wishing we lived in a society in which owning a gun was not a right, but a privilege. I’d love it if owning a gun were a privilege one had to earn after demonstrating sufficient responsibility, thorough training, and acquiring insurance. In this dream world, if you demonstrate that you cannot be responsible with a gun, that privilege would be revoked. But we’re stuck with a system that allows gun ownership as a right (despite the fact that very few people need one-we have a military for a reason).

As a result of this right (combined with laws like open-carry), vigilante gun owners are able to legally stand outside military recruitment centers, under the guise of protecting servicepeople. Shame they’re not trained in how to use guns properly.

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Armed citizen’s gun accidentally discharges in front of military recruitment center

According to Lancaster police, officers responded Thursday to the military recruiting station in the 1500 block of River Valley Boulevard, on the report of an accidental discharge of a gun.

Christopher Reed told police he was standing in front of the military recruiting station with his AR-15 rifle to guard military personal, when a man asked to look at his gun.

Reed said he attempted to clear the ammunition from the gun, and accidentally fired it into the pavement.The bullet hole left in the pavement after Reed’s gun discharged.

Police said no one was hurt and the other people who were standing in the area at the time the gun discharged left prior to officers arriving.

Reed’s gun was confiscated until he appears in court July 28.

I’m shocked to find that his guy-a wannabe vigilante terrorist killer-has failed to handle his firearm responsibly. I mean really. Who could have predicted this?

It really is saddening that examples of irresponsible gun owners are so frequent. Saddening, but not surprising. We live in a culture where guns are glamorized and people begin to think of them not as deadly weapons, but as toys-from a young age. Even though toy guns are not real, playing with a toy gun reinforces the idea that guns are toys and this has an effect on impressionable children. In addition to downplaying the seriousness of firearms, groups like the NRA push the idea that citizens need guns to stay safe, despite the increased risk of danger a gun in the home brings, or the fact that guns escalate situations. We humans already have a problem with non-violent conflict resolution, so the presence of a gun can (and so often does) make a situation worse. And when that happens, people suffer and die. I wish more people realized that it is the loss of human life that is the tragedy, and that reducing the number of guns out there is one of the ways to ensure that fewer tragedies occur. Maybe one day.

Irresponsible Gun Owner Link Round-Up 7.24.15
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