Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Think twice before banning firearms

Butch Meriwether
Butch's Brew

I said I wasn't planning on weighing in on or write about the new policy banning firearms in the Mohave County's administration complex in Kingman, but like life itself, I changed my mind.

I was originally planning on describing the worst case scenario that could possibly occur since the BOS, based upon Mohave County Manager Ron Walker's recommendations, instituted the "No Guns In The Meeting/Building Rule" for the Mohave County Administration complex in Kingman.

Was the No Guns In The Meeting/Building Rule based upon actual research, compiled data from past incidents of violence within the county building and was it well thought out prior to it being instituted? Was it only because of one man's fears and paranoia? I would venture to say it was not well thought out and was based on fear and paranoia. County Manager Walker was the underlying justification and motivation for the BOS approving the rule that is causing people to check their firearms at the front door of the county complex in Kingman.

But after doing a lot of soul searching, I decided not to write a how-to manual for some person that may be a day late and a dollar short of a full load or may be just pissed off enough to take it out on the BOS, Ron Walker and/or innocent bystanders that possibly could be in the way of his or her decision to take lethal action.

No, I'm not speaking of Luca Zanna and the others who have shown up with their pistols strapped to their hips, Mervin Fried with his now infamous pitchfork, any other members of the local minutemen/militia or the numerous residents who have taken the time to go through weapons training in order to receive one of the 8,597 concealed weapon permits that have been issued to people residing in Mohave County. These aforementioned people do not scare me.

What does scare me are the individuals you wouldn't think twice about or would not take a second look at if they passed you on the street or in a aisle of a local food store. I'm speaking of an unassuming and non-descript man or woman who may be mentally ill or possibly believes they have been wronged by county officials and decides to take lethal action. I'm also not saying that it could be a person from a specific age group. It could be anyone; young or old, and please don't say it couldn't happen.

All a person has to do is remember what happened to Suzanna Gratia Hupp in Texas one bright and sunny day on Oct. 16, 1991. She and her parents were not in a drug-infested dark alley where they were not supposed to be, but were sitting in Luby's Cafeteria eating lunch. As they sat there enjoying each other's company, a madman drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of the eatery, got out of his truck and systematically shot everyone in sight. After the sounds of blazing guns subsided, Suzanna's parents and a lot of other people were dead. Could this have been prevented? Maybe not, but if someone had a gun on them, they could possibly have saved many lives by taking out the gunman. If you think I'm stretching the truth about what occurred to Suzanna Gratia Hupp, I suggest you to take the time to go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1u0Byq5Qis and watch the video of her testifying before a committee.

I spent almost 21 years serving our country and the United States Marine Corps prior to retiring in 1984. I also spent two tours of duty in Vietnam. Upon retiring from the Corps, I worked as a private investigator for 18 and ½ years before deciding to retire for good at the ripe old age of 55. I carried various weapons during both of my careers - the military and as a private investigator – and I became vey proficient with them.

Speaking of weapons, yes I still own a pistol, but I personally don't see a need to have it with me at all times. Does that mean I am against people who choose to carry one on them at all times? Definitely not?

If the Second Amendment is ever thrown out and we as citizens of the United States are no longer allowed to carry or own weapons, then I will follow the law and dispose of my pistol. But, until that time comes, I will continue to own a pistol that I have no qualms about using to protect someone's safety, my safety and my life.

Will the crime rate drop if you limit people carrying weapons in certain areas? Not at all. However, if you don't restrict people from carrying firearms, the crime rate will most likely drop, and if some person starts shooting people, then the law-abiding folks carrying weapons can take action by "taking out the shooter." An example of crime rate dropping is Kennesaw, Ga., where gun ownership is mandatory. Yep, the crime rate in that town plummeted dramatically when that law went into effect.

Kennesaw's population grew from around 5,000 in 1980 to 13,000 by 1996. Yet there have been only three murders: two with knives (1984 and 1987) and one with a firearm (1997). After the law went into effect in 1982, crime against persons plummeted 74 percent compared to 1981, and fell another 45 percent in 1983 compared to 1982. And it has stayed impressively low. In addition to nearly non-existent homicide (murders have averaged a mere 0.19 per year), the annual number of armed robberies, residential burglaries, commercial burglaries, and rapes have averaged, respectively, 1.69, 31.63, 19.75, and 2.00 through 1998.

Our county officials are now keeping citizens from carrying their firearms into the BOS meetings and inside the county administration. But one major point that has to be stressed and that is when a business or government agency decides to have a "no guns in my establishment policy," they must understand the ramifications of their actions. When an owner of a property (this includes Mohave County officials) posts their property as a Gun Free Zone, they imply that they will take on the responsibility for the personal self defense and liability for persons who enter that property. Will the actions initiated by the BOS save lives? Not necessarily. If a blood-soaked disaster occurs where an out-of-control or unstable person decides to shoot up the county building, Mohave County officials must realize they automatically assume liability of what occurred. Will they say it isn't their problem and say that even though they outlawed possession of firearms in the building, the liability is someone else's?

Yes, the county is now keeping citizens from carrying their firearms into the BOS meetings and inside the county administration. This appears as if it is a recipe for a disaster. Instead of not allowing guns in the complex, the county officials should embrace those who choose to carry a firearm.

What is most interesting about Kennesaw is that the city's crime rate has dramatically decreased with the simple knowledge that the entire community is armed. The criminals haven't forced the residents to prove it and by knowing that residents were armed prompted the bad guys to move on to easier targets. Most criminals don't have a death wish.

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