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Guns are not to blame

Published May 18. 2013 09:05AM

Every time a shooting tragedy takes place, licensed gun owners take a hit.

It's a quirky public reaction, odd repercussions of a gun killing. Guns carry a stigma.

When a drunken driver careens onto the sidewalk and kills five pedestrians, we don't blame the car. We don't react by trying to limit cars.

Recently two deranged bombers at the Boston Marathon killed and maimed by using kitchen pressure cookers.

But there isn't a campaign underway to limit pressure cookers or make them illegal.

Yet when someone kills using a gun, people seem to blame the gun and call for a ban.

On the heels of the Sandy Hook killings, the government tried and failed to introduce new gun control measures. And maybe it's good news the provision failed, because the intent seems to be more about control than guns.

Gun control is based on a fallacy. It makes a false assumption that criminals obey the law. Gun control tries to imagine a world where guns disappear simply because they're termed "illegal." If only things were so simple.

Let's look at illegal drugs. They're illegal. Does that mean they're gone from our streets? Does that mean we now have "control" over drugs? The same would hold true of illegal guns.

Worse still is a gun ban. A gun ban is the theory that it is morally superior to position yourself to be a victim rather than take up arms to protect yourself and your family.

Yes, a gun is a weapon. But it's also protection.

In reality, guns held in the possession of licensed, responsible citizens might just be the best crime deterrent there is.

The National Rifle Association says this: "Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. We have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime ... and mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone."

The NRA says the government must stop blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.

I'm not a member of the NRA, but I understand their line of thinking.

We don't have a gun problem. We have a mental health problem. The sick, twisted and criminally ill will find a way to do awful things regardless of gun control.

Once again, the Boston bombers terrorized and shut down an entire city by using cookware.

Early reports speculate that the killers may have been motivated by jihad, or religious war. If so, it's another case of major violence erupting from mental health issues, in this case, religious radicals.

(On that issue, I recently saw this bumper sticker: "If you feel your religion is worth killing for, please start with yourself.")

The public must begin to recognize that mental health is the problem, not guns.

We must understand the difference between responsible law-abiding citizens who own guns, and criminals.

Imposing a gun ban would be like burning a house to get rid of the rats inside.

It just makes sense that the biggest deterrent to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

The NRA, founded 1871, is America's oldest civil rights group. In a perfect world, it's nice to think of them as five million good guys with guns.

And if that's what they are, I hope they're always around to protect us, along with our Second Amendment.

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