The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 23, 2013

Which is the best way to be safe?

By B.J. Drye, Editor

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 — So gun permit applications have risen drastically over the last year, according to a special report in Thursday’s SNAP.

Besides religious issues and political affiliation, a person’s stance on gun control seems to be one of the biggest dividers in this country.

On Wednesday President Obama released his plan entitled “Now Is The Time: The President’s plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence.”

The plan includes:

1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;

2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence;

3. Makings schools safe; and

4. Increasing access to mental health services.

On the surface, we agree with all these measures. They all seem legitimate, while still protecting the Second Amendment.

But let’s review the plan a little further to see what else lies within.

The plan calls for background checks, mainly at gun shows where checks are not often conducted.

It calls for legislation to limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. That sounds legit. Many of the recent shooters had a multitude of rounds.

If you are a hunter, do you really need 10 bullets in a row to make a kill? Shouldn’t any skilled marksman would be able to take down their prey in half that?

Speaking of bullets, why are armor-piercing bullets necessary?

While it is already illegal to manufacture or import these types of ammunition except for police and military use, it is not illegal to own or transfer these bullets.

Is anyone out there having target practice at a tank or Sir Lancelot?

The plan calls for improvements in communication between patients, doctors and law enforcement, to clear up when a threat for public safety crosses over confidentiality rules. It also asks for more processes to identify mental illness and ways to seek treatment.

It offers incentives for schools to add resource officers and counselors.

I knew a great counselor once and I don’t know if he would have ever imagined the horrors that we have seen occur in classrooms lately.

The National Rifle Association has — no pun intended — already fired back at the president.

“Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.”

In a news release the organization wrote: “The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset —our children.

“Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”

I’m not a hunter or a member of the NRA, but I don’t believe any of the people I know — who are honest, law-abiding gun owners — need machine guns to kill a deer or protect their family.

Stanly County, for the most part, is a lovely, peaceful setting, with people trying to get along with others and promote a better way of life.

Can we not put our energy to something more positive than attacking the attempt to make the country safer?