Everyday Notes

A Good Neighbour with a Gun

Twice this year I’ve been awoken by the sound of gunshots. The most recent was when a man living in a nearby house shot at his girlfriend during an argument. There was a stand-off with police, and then SWAT arrived and fired tear gas through a window to get the suspect out. Nobody was hurt – a fact I’m incredibly grateful for as I watched the whole incident unfold.

I don’t often see everyday citizens carrying guns, but there has been an increasing number of them that I’ve noticed. And while I’m prepared to admit that the gun culture differences between the UK and USA may play into this, seeing them around me doesn’t make me feel safe. It actually makes me feel very ill-at-ease.

Could this be the much-lauded “good guy with a gun” that is touted as the answer to potential gun violence? Or could this be the same type of person as the man across the street from me who decided to weaponize what should’ve been an ordinary argument? How do I know that the person carrying a gun isn’t having a really bad day? Or a mental break? Or is so angry about something that they reach for their gun and arm their words and actions?

Although this video is satire, it raises some valid issues

It doesn’t matter which side of any gun debate you fall on because nobody can know for sure how good a day the good guy is having. I don’t panic when I see someone with their firearm on them as these questions come to mind, but I do understand that human behaviour is flawed, as is the systems here in Ohio for vetting gun owners.

No state permit, registration or licensing is required by law to purchase a handgun, rifle or shotgun (a permit is required to carry a handgun), background checks are not required by law if you buy from an unlicensed or private seller, and the background check system that is in place, which is meant to be updated weekly through local courts with the names and details of people who’ve been barred from owning a gun, is often not updated for months allowing people to slip through the cracks.

I know some of the staunch supporters of their 2nd Amendment rights don’t want any debate or changes to be made to gun control, but I would at least hope that even they can get behind making sure that laws already in place, like the weekly updates that courts are required to make to the background check database, is actually being followed. This surely is reasonable to facilitate and falls under being “well regulated”?

If stopping a bad guy with a gun doesn’t include making it harder for them to get one in the first place, and only relies on a good guy with a gun, then all that means is both are being armed. I know there are some really responsible gun owners who are level-headed, take all training and regulations seriously and have a love of guns rooted in respect, but so did my neighbour who was a good guy, until he wasn’t. And if he ever wanted to buy another gun, he could bypass any check that should stop him, by purchasing it privately. Essentially making the good guy turned bad guy, a bad guy with a gun.

2 thoughts on “A Good Neighbour with a Gun”

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