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Gun permits necessary for public safety

Posted on 03.08.2017

State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, is currently proposing a law to eliminate required handgun carry permits in Indiana.

Gun safety is absolutely critical for anyone who owns a firearm. When I was younger, my father took me to a range to learn proper protocol and safety for firearm use. There were three cardinal rules the instructors continually drilled into my head.

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Graphic by Juliana Rohrmoser

The first rule was to never point the gun at anything I did not intend to shoot. The second was to always treat the gun as if it were loaded. The third, and most valuable, is that using a firearm is the ultimate last resort in a volatile situation.

If people are able to purchase and use a handgun willy-nilly, then proper gun safety is in peril. Some people may purchase a gun with no knowledge about how to use it and the immense danger it presents.

I recall an ironic anecdote my instructor once told me. An officer would remove the magazine and un-chamber the bullet. Then he would pull back the top and hammer and shoot his hand.
He claimed to like the feel of the air on his hand.

One day he was doing it, and blood started pouring down his hand. He had forgotten to remove the bullet from the chamber and shot himself.

Granted, it was one man and one story, but the officer had firearm training and still managed to shoot himself.  If members of the general public were too easily able to obtain a handgun, then stories like this would become common.

Action movies and the like, inspire people to want to play hero during dangerous,  life-threatening situations. If nearly anyone can purchase a gun, then nearly everyone has the power of life and death in his or her hands.

Some people are easier to anger than others, and some may not be able to think their way out of a situation and will simply pull out the gun.

The situation instantly explodes when an individual pulls out
a gun. Some claim it would make self-defense easier, but when to pull the trigger is not a decision that can be made lightly or in haste. In that moment, one could take the life of another human being.

Some may argue that the Constitution declares everyone has a right to bear arms and that licensing firearms
is an affront to the Constitution. Sure,
it is in the constitution, but the meaning is quite obscure.

While background checks will still be necessary to purchase a gun, a license requires a second background check, fingerprinting and
registration of the weapon. An individual who has never been flagged by the police may still
be dangerous.

Regardless of record or not, ill intent may come to the surface.

Knowing who has a weapon is a life or death matter for a police officer. If the police raid a home for probable cause, before entry they could gain information on the inhabitants, such as criminal history or whether they have any firearms.

If the carry license is eliminated, police will have no preemptive knowledge about the danger. Someone could surprise the officers, resulting in a more violent outcome.

The process to get a permit is not
difficult. It involves simply filing the correct paperwork, getting fingerprinted, passing a background check and spending roughly $120.

Any law-abiding citizen can easily obtain a handgun. The name of the person purchasing the gun goes into a database, and in the event
of a violent crime the weapon can be traced back to that person.  If the weapon is not in
a database then a crime can be committed without any connection between the gun and the owner.

If this proposal passes, it will open the door to a plethora of catastrophic events.

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