It’s Time to Ask Some Tough Questions

GOC was recently requested to submit an opinion piece for the California State Treasurer’s monthly newsletter “Intersections.”  In a segment called “Head to Head,” they print present different perspectives each month on current issues before the Legislature “in the spiritbullandbear of spurring discussion…”

GOC’s Executive Director Sam Paredes wrote “It’s Time to Ask Some Tough Questions” in contrast to the piece submitted by Griffin Dix, the Co-Chair of the Oakland/Alameda County chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  GOC appreciated the opportunity to explain (in 350 words or less) the realities of the debate regarding gun control – and gun violence.  To read both articles, click here. 

Note: “Riverside Christmas Party” should be “San Bernardino”

It’s Time to Ask Some Tough Questions
by Sam Paredes, Executive Director

 Gun control: Never has this issue been so fraught with angst and emotion – and now we must be willing to ask hard questions, to have an honest dialogue moving forward after Orlando.

We have to sincerely ask if the attempts to restrict, remove and impede people from owning guns are working. It’s pretty clear that they’re not.

We must ask if terrorists are going to think twice about breaking some law when they have long-planned an execution – whether at a Riverside Christmas party or an Orlando night club. We must question if an inmate can gain access to a gun behind bars, whether legislation will really stop gangs from getting “street” weapons.

And we have to ask why we are passing laws that affect only one subsection of society: the law-abiding.

Statistics alone provide a biased – and incomplete – picture of “gun violence,” particularly when it comes to defining who is a victim. Those killed while committing a crime, whether by another criminal, the police or someone in self-defense, are not victims. The term “victims of gun violence” should be reserved for innocent lives lost because of criminal behavior.  Sadly, gun control proponents have a broad definition of a “victim,” which includes cop killers and gang members –  some even listing the Boston Marathon bomber as one! This may add to statistical numbers and heightened emotion, but does nothing to address the real problem.

We will put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound if we simply place restrictions on those who honor the law.  The same is true if we talk about “gun violence” without addressing the problem of crime on our streets.  The FBI reports that “gangs are responsible for an average of 48% of violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90% in others…”

Let’s not add to the victim list because (yes, it’s true) there are far more who protect themselves with guns than those who commit crimes with one. Until we have a sincere dialogue about the real enemy – the fingers on the trigger, the hands on the suicide vest cord, the feet on car bomb pedals – the horror will continue.

Sam Paredes is the executive director of Gun Owners of California. The opinions in this article are presented in the spirit of spurring discussion and reflect those of the author and not necessarily the treasurer, his office or the State of California.