Gunshots on Gun Appreciation Day

Just being around guns is dangerous, it seems

As you may know, Saturday, Jan. 19, was the inaugural Gun Appreciation Day. There were gun shows and related events in cities all across the country. Their purpose was to build support for gun lovers’ effort to thwart implementation of President Obama’s package of regulations designed to keep lethal weapons out of the hands of people with criminal backgrounds or a history of mental illness.

What you may not know is that five attendees were shot at three different gun shows on Gun Appreciation Day. Oops.

At a show in Raleigh, N.C., a gun accidentally discharged and shot three people at—ironically—the safety check-in booth. At the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Ind., an individual shot himself in the hand while trying to reload his gun in the show’s parking lot. And in the Cleveland suburb of Medina, Ohio, a gun dealer was checking out a semi-automatic pistol he’d bought when he accidentally pulled the trigger, wounding a bystander in the leg and arm.

Just being around guns is dangerous, it seems.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA spokesman, says the best way to solve the problem of gun violence in America is for more people to have guns. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he famously said following the Newtown massacre.

Tell that to the two young people, a man and a woman, who were riding in a Chico taxi last Saturday night when a man driving a Dodge pickup pulled up next to the cab and started shooting at them with a semi-automatic pistol. Both ended up in the hospital with non-life-threatening wounds (the cab driver was uninjured). Imagine what would have occurred if someone in the cab had pulled out a gun and started firing back.

Or consider what happened last week to Galt police officer Kevin Tonn when he approached a man he suspected of having committed a nearby burglary. Somehow a struggle ensued, and the man shot Tonn, killing him. The sad lesson here is that sometimes the bad guy stops the good guy, even when the good guy is a trained police officer.

Since 1999, more than 400,000 Americans have died after being shot—nearly as many as die in automobile accidents. We’ve had the good sense to regulate automobile use, and as a result the number of deaths has steadily declined. We’ve failed to regulate gun ownership and use in significant ways, and gun deaths have gone up.

No more snail-mailed letters, please: I still receive occasional letters to the editor sent the old-fashioned way, typed or hand-written and mailed in envelopes. Some arrive on beautiful greeting cards and written with elegant script. I enjoy reading them, but I don’t have time to type them into the computer.

From now on, therefore, it will be CN&R policy to publish only letters received via email. We’re also reducing the word limit from 250 to 200 so we can fit more letters into the available space. If you need to write more, please contact me about writing a guest comment.