Just as the US Congress was signing new gun safety measures, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision striking down a New York gun law restricting carrying a concealed firearm outside the home. Prior to the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, it was difficult, if not impossible to obtain a license to carry in New York City. One of the exceptions would be if you’re a business owner and deposited large sums of money.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams responded by saying, “we cannot allow New York to become the wild, wild west.” What a ridiculous statement given the continuing surge in gun violence across the city. He clearly doesn’t understand what’s been happening. Recently a woman was executed while pushing a stroller in New York City, reportedly by an ex-boyfriend. He has since been arrested and is in custody. A 17-year-old was gunned down in Manhattan in the middle of the afternoon. A suspect has yet to be apprehended. A man on a New York City bound train was executed while on the Manhattan Bridge. And this past Independence holiday weekend at least 21 people were shot, three fatally. I highly doubt this law will add to the violence.
While I’m in favor of gun safety measures, (better background checks. limited magazine sizes and raising the age of purchase to 23, side arms or handguns aren’t generally the weapon of choice in mass murders. Case-in-point, the Highland Park massacre. The issue with restricting handgun ownership is that this will have absolutely no effect on the bad guy’s ability to carry guns. All it does it stop law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves. With all the negative press surrounding the NRA, I could not find one case where an NRA member used a legal firearm in the commission of a crime. If the concept is that we need to across the board get guns off the street, I get it. However, it’s never going to happen, any more than the “Just Say No” campaign, stopped people from using drugs.
We read about other countries that remove firearms and how safety improves. Australia is usually mentioned in that conversation. But one thing that’s never mentioned is perhaps their culture is different. Perhaps people are less angry. Perhaps they don’t have the same level of poverty, or they provide a better social safety net. It’s disingenuous to simply blame the guns and laws for the problems that exist in this country. Mental health programs aren’t going to stop the insane person (who decides he has no reason left to live, so he’ll take a bunch of people with him,) from carrying out his evil plan. The only thing that will stop it, is people saying something to the proper authorities. Whether it’s a schoolmate, friend or parent. The parents in the Highland Park case, should be held accountable for aiding and abetting their crazy son.
We have become so out of touch with our kids and with the world around us, that we ignore obvious signs of problem behaviors. People are also unwilling to get involved. They’re frightened or believe it’s not their problem, until it becomes their problem. When our youngest son was in grammar school an older sibling of one of the children, did something that caused a toddler to fall and crack her teeth, bloodying her face. Despite my wife’s protests, I walked over to the boy and had a conversation with him that caused him to start crying. No other parent attempted to do anything despite the fact that at least one other parent must have witnessed what happened. I told him that I would be watching him as his behavior was anti-social and unacceptable. While I won’t repeat what I actually told him, with a smile on my face by the way, he clearly understood what I meant as I made no bones about it. Years later, I saw this young man, who remembered and thanked me for setting him straight that day. I clearly had an impact although today, I would have been the person reported as the menace. It’s as if we have more sympathy for the evil doer than we do for his victims. It’s a crazy world in which we now live. But one thing I have always believed, is that it indeed takes a village to at least protect our children.
As a martial arts instructor, I teach my students that the greatest self-defense technique is situational awareness. Before any technique is used in self-defense, a martial artist must be able to understand potential threats. Once the threat is ascertained, a correct action can be taken. If people remain oblivious or choose to ignore people who might cause problems, then these mass shootings will continue. The Highland Park shooter clearly looks insane. There is no question that with that crazy expression on his face along with the red flags, this massacre should have been prevented. Today, there is a disturbed student somewhere in the United States planning to take out his classmates. The clear signs should not be ignored, and someone has the responsibility to come forward. But we, as a society, have become so numb or afraid to say that a person engages in strange or crazy behavior, that we ignore it.
Those of us who would take the time and go through the effort to obtain a carry permit, in accordance with the law, are not the problem. Just the opposite, that person might be the solution. As I awakened to enjoy another Independence Day, there was a story on the news of an off-duty corrections officer who shot a suspect pointing a gun into a crowd. He himself was shot protecting others. Had he not had his firearm, many more people might have been killed. We can ignore this problem and make believe the bad guys won’t have guns if we simply ban them, but that would be a lie. I’m absolutely in favor of concealed carry permits. Law abiding citizens, who pass a stringent background check, should have the right to protect themselves, and their families, especially if the government can’t. New York and Chicago are prime examples of cities with strict gun laws that have not seen a reduction in gun violence.