Two people are lucky to be alive after an incident involving a firearm last weekend.
A man was taken into custody when he allegedly pulled a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his waistband and tried to raise it toward a Safford Police officer. The man, who was reportedly intoxicated, dropped the weapon, and officers were able to tackle the man to the ground, handcuff him and take him into custody.
The police officer was lucky because the man was apparently so intoxicated he couldn’t handle the weapon and the weapon was unloaded.
The suspect is lucky because the officer, seeing the gun being drawn, would have been justified in drawing his own weapon and using deadly force if the gun was not dropped.
Quite frankly, it scares us that anyone could have a handgun at the ready for any perceived slight. And when alcohol is mixed in, it becomes even more likely that handgun will come into play.
Before we go any further, can we address the position recently put forward by a letter writer on this page that more guns in the hands of “good people” would prevent incidents such as this, or could decrease the number of people killed in a domestic terrorist incident?
More guns in any situation mean more problems. First, not every gun owner has undergone firearms safety and proper usage training.
Second, almost no civilian gun owners have undergone the training police and military have when it comes to chaotic situations where weapons are present. Helmuth von Molkte, chief of staff of the Prussian Army for three decades in the late 1800s, wrote, “One cannot be at all sure that an operational plan will survive the first encounter with the main body of the enemy.” If a military expert knows things go sideways when weapons are pointed at one another, how likely is it that things will go swimmingly for untrained civilians?
Finally, more people with guns mean law enforcement doesn’t know who is — and who is not — the perpetrator in any given situation. An officer coming on the scene, seeing two or three guns being waved around, would be unable to correctly address the situation, delaying appropriate action and putting more people at risk of injury or death.
There have been 11 mass shootings in the United States in the last two weeks, resulting in 12 dead and 39 injured. In none of the incidents did “good people” with guns stop the shooters — police apprehended a few, but searches are under way for most of the shooters.
We bring all this up because we, like the majority of American gun owners, believe it’s long past time for common-sense gun reform — which does not mean taking firearms away from responsible gun owners who hunt and target shoot for sport.
Rather, we support comprehensive background checks that identify those who should not have access to a firearm, such as those with domestic violence arrests and convictions, as well as those who are undergoing treatment for mental illness.
We agree with “red flag” laws, where a family member or domestic partner may petition the courts to temporarily prohibit access to a firearm for those who may be a danger to themselves or the public.
And we agree with closing the gun show and private seller-to-seller loopholes, where some states do not require a federal background check to purchase a firearm.
We reiterate: We do not believe hunters should be prohibited from purchasing firearms, nor target shooters. We just want to see fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them — for the safety of the public and themselves.