Monday, November 24, 2014

Another child dies due to firearm negligence

Another innocent child has died due to firearm-owner negligence. This story is a repeat of a tragedy for which there is absolutely no excuse. Minors should not have access to firearms and/or ammunition unless they have parental permission and awareness. Below age 14, Utah requires that children be supervised by a responsible adult when handling firearms and/or ammunition.

A loaded gun that is not secure? That's even worse! Free gun locks are available for Pete's sake!

A few people argue that "Locking up your self defense just makes you defenseless which makes having defensive weapons pointless." Those who think they need a gun for self defense (Don't we all?) and who can't figure out how to also keep it safe are not responsible enough to have a gun. They are an "accident" waiting to happen. A self-defense firearms belongs in a proper holster on the defender's person. As long as its there, nobody's ever gonna get hurt. All other firearms should be unloaded and stored so that they are inaccessible to children and other unauthorized persons and separate from ammunition. Having a gun (especially a loaded gun), whether for defense or otherwise, accessible to children whose judgement you can't yet completely trust is dangerous negligence, pure and simple.

News reports tell us that children occasionally need a gun for self defense and therefore need access just as much as an adult does. It is up to the parents to ensure that such access is granted only to youth who are trained in firearm safety and whose judgement can be trusted completely. (For that reason, I encourage parents taking my Utah Concealed Firearm Course to bring their teens to the class at no charge so they can learn about safety and use of deadly force.)

The shooting sports are statistically safer than may other popular sports. Government statistics show that a child is more likely to drown than to die from an "accidental" gunshot. (Accidents are extremely rare. When people get shot, it's almost always somebody was negligent or criminal.)

Every child deserves and needs to know how to react when they encounter a gun without adults around. Even children who don't have them in the home need to know how to be safe around firearms, BB guns, paintball guns, AirSoft guns, etc. Parents without guns presume that their children are safe, but never consider what could happen to their untrained child when he/she is at a friend's home where guns could be present. (About half of the families in your neighborhood have at least one firearm.)

Especially fathers might disagree, but most parents are not the best persons to teach firearm safety. Even parents who shoot often have wrong-headed ideas about the proper handling of firearms and even practice very dangerous gun-handling habits themselves. Parents who are not shooters and those who are anti-gun usually have no idea what a child needs to know and do or how to teach it.

So, for the protection of their own children, every parent should ensure their children get some firearm safety training as soon as they are mature enough to learn -- about age 5-8 for most children -- from a competent firearms trainer -- even a trainer certified by the much-hated NRA. Another good resource is to get their children into a state-managed Hunter Education course -- even if the parents are opposed to hunting or the children will never hunt. They'll not only learn safety, but also wildlife conservation, respect for the outdoors, etc.

Utah law allows, but doesn't require, public schools to provide gun safety training to students. The state has published rules for how this optional training is to be conducted.

I am generally opposed to mandates. However, I think that, because many parents will fail to get their children gun-proofed (trained in safety), every school child should get at least 15-30 minutes of age-appropriate firearm safety training in school from a competent instructor every year from K through grade 12. Our schools are teaching children how to be safe from drugs, malnutrition, strangers, disease, school bus accidents, and even sex. Why not guns?

The NRA's Eddie Eagle program is a good place to start for small children. For older children, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has some excellent training programs suitable for school presentation. You can watch these videos below. These all are politically-neutral and are not designed to indoctrinate children into the shooting sports -- only to teach them to be safe. The anti-gun organizations, on the other hand, do nothing to promote safety. Instead, they chose to fight the organizations that are doing something positive about safety.

Just because child deaths due to "accidental" gunshots are rare doesn't mean we adults should't do more to teach our children how to be safe. This head-in-the-sand attitude that most adults have regarding gun safety is killing our children!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Privatizing government-provided services

Local politicians are discussing whether to turn local ambulance service -- currently run by the Sheriff -- over to a private company. I support this proposal.

Wherever possible, services are best privatized.

Whether an ambulance service is provided by government employees or by a business, that service will be monitored by our elected officials. If such a business doesn't meet the standard of excellence expected, they will be replaced as soon as the contract allows. That provides the incentive to meet public expectations. The profit motive ensures that costs don't soar.

On the other hand, it is extremely rare to see a government employee dismissed when standards are not met. (That doesn't imply that current providers of emergency care aren't top-notch.)

For those who still think a business can't provide adequate ambulance services at a reasonable cost, they need to look into who provides air ambulance service in Iron County. It isn't government employees.

There are many other government functions in this community that need to be privatized: Heritage Center, library and bookmobile, aquatics center, Cross Hollow Arena, trash pickup, tumbling classes, swimming lessons, exercise classes, farmers' market, schools, etc. The assumption that only the government can provide these services is flawed and extremely dangerous to liberty in the long run -- especially when government (backed by the power to tax) is competing with private enterprise as it often does.

Some opponents of the change are worried about a privately-owned ambulance service having monopoly status. But, when only the government has ambulances, isn't that a monopoly too?

I cannot understand why so many complain about high taxes and about how poorly government does so many things with so much waste, then insist that only government is competent to do them.

We need smarter voters.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who is a gun owner's worst enemy?

This photo was taken in Connecticut early this year where gun owners were lining up to meekly submit to a new gun registration law. These gun owners were asked whether they were members of the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the Connecticut Citizens Defense League. Few were -- typical of the nation as a whole where only 5% of American gun owners support the very organizations that defend their rights.

Instead, many gun owners whine about those organizations -- especially the big dog in the fight, the NRA. They even whine about getting too much mail when all they have to do is tell the organization to stop sending it!

Then, there are the guys full of "from my cold dead hands" and "molon labe" bravado. Don't they understand that when it comes to burying their guns or physically fighting over their gun rights, it's far too late? No doubt many of those Connecticut gun owners once said "from my cold dead hands" and "molon labe". What did those slogans get them? A chance to line up on a cold winter day!

If just 20% of gun owners would put their money where their mouth is, and join the NRA, we would have 20 million members. That would give the NRA the clout to dictate the law -- not compromise. You like SAF, CCRKBA, GOA, or JPFO better? Fine. Show me how you are helping them to be at least as influential as the NRA.

Then, there are the clowns who say they're for gun rights, yet vote of the very politicians who promise to take their guns away. Gun owners need to vote like gun owners! Always!

Far too many gun owners are the worst enemy of gun rights.

Join the NRA today! Tell everyone you know to join.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is Loretta Lynch an enemy of the Constitution too?

I was deeply disappointed when Senator Orrin Hatch voted to confirm Eric Holder as US Attorney General even though it was (and still is) clear that Holder is an enemy of the Constitution and lacks the objectivity and wisdom necessary for high office.

Now, as the Senate considers President Obama's nomination of Loretta Lynch as Holder's successor, I'd like each and every senator to ensure that she is not also an enemy of the Constitution by asking her pertinent questions including:

Will she will enforce the Constitution as if it truly were the "supreme law of the land" or will she allow exceptions for shariah law as well as for federal laws that are not "in made in pursuance" of the Constitution?

Will she continue Holder's policy of rejecting the the right and authority of the states to minimize voter fraud?

Will she continue Holder's practice of pressuring banks to decline banking services to legitimate, but politically-incorrect, businesses such as the firearm industry?

Does she agree with the president and Holder that the president may refuse to enforce laws he disagrees with?

Does she agree that the president may change immigration laws with nothing more than his pen and phone?

Does she agree with Holder that the president may spy on people using general warrants?

Will she issue subpoenas to the home phones of Associated Press and Fox News reporters, as Holder did?

Will she conduct an honest and thorough investigation into the "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling fiasco?

Will she conduct an honest and thorough investigation into IRS targeting of tea party and other conservative groups?

Will she continue Holder's practice of injecting race into situations where race is immaterial as he did in the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases?

Obama has a poor track record when it comes to surrounding himself with people who understand and honor the Constitution. I hope this nomination is a change in that pattern.