Commentary: More guns, more places won't solve anything

The Myrtle Beach Sun NewsMarch 25, 2013 

BAILEY ISSAC

KRT MUG SLUGGED: BAILEY KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY MYRTLE BEACH SUN-NEWS (October 31) Issac Bailey is a columnist for The Sun-News, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Please note the correct spelling for Issac, not Isaac. (smd) 2003

STAFF — KRT

I want to claim shock that in a state that has among the highest rates of domestic violence in a nation that leads the industrialized world in the rate of gun violence, there are those we sent to Columbia who believe the problem is that we have too few guns in too few places.

Essentially, the bill will let anyone carry a gun openly or concealed if they meet a certain condition – that there is no intent to commit a crime.

Maybe the man who plans to shoot up the next movie theater or school should sign an affidavit stating he has no intention to do bad things?

The bill’s supporters will want me to mention to caveats, such as allowing a private employer or owner to prevent employees from carrying on their property where there is proper signage, and a resident won’t be able to carry a gun into someone else’s house without permission.

But the intent is clear, to make sure guns infiltrate more areas of society and to solidify an overly-simplistic, misleading interpretation of the 2nd Amendment: that there should be no real limits on gun ownership.

The constitution does not say that we can own any kind of firearm and take it wherever we like, no matter how many times people make that specious argument.

That’s a Senate bill.

On the House side, dozens of lawmakers are pushing a bill to make it illegal for doctors to discuss gun safety with patients.

Dr. Deborah Greenhouse, president of the S.C. Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, had it about right when she told The (Columbia) State newspaper: “They (gun rights supporters) are trying to get Big Government to come in and dictate what we can and cannot say, while at the same time, they are trying to tell Big Government to stay out of their right to own guns.”

It’s worse than that simple level of hypocrisy.

If the bills become law, it will make South Carolina a more dangerous place on the front end while making it harder for those trying to keep us healthy on the back end.

We have solid research that shows that the simple presence of a gun in the home increases the likelihood that someone in the home will die by homicide or suicide, and that the “stand your ground” laws have actually increased the number of killings wherever they have been enacted. South Carolina already has that kind of law.

Our leaders would rather ignore that and instead rely upon visions of everyday citizens becoming Rambo-like and saving us from bad guys lurking behind every bush.

There are more than 300 million guns already on the streets of America. That number climbs every time there is talk of any measure designed to bring down our high gun violence rate.

How many more must be flooded onto our streets before we feel safe?

I’d rather our legislators spent their time and influence coming up with sensible reforms that will further push down an overall rate of violence that has been declining for the past few decades – instead of trying to convince us that all we need is another AK-47.

Contact ISSAC J. BAILEY at ibailey@thesunnews.com or at Twitter at @TSN_IssacBailey.

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