Thursday, May 1, 2008

Let’s Make Camping Safe Again-Concealed Guns the Answer

“Critics say there's no data showing the public would be helped by visitors with concealed handguns. One group calls it an effort to "solve a problem that doesn't exist."-The Guardian

Not satisfied U.S. policy changes any Republican can be proud of, from spreading democracy via war and neo-liberal economic policy resulting in rising food prices and shortages, The Bush administration legacy may include concealed guns in National parks. For the US gun lobby, it’s a dream come true. For nature loving families, it’s simply a nightmare from which there is no escape.

The interior department, the over sear of 390 national parks and 548 wildlife refuges, would repeal an age old ban of guns in the park system.

In the Bizzaro world, made famous in Superman comics, Bizzaro citizens would say something that would meant just the opposite. For instance, Bizzaro Superman might say to Bizzaro Jimmy Olsen, “You carry loaded had gun in park so you won’t have to shoot someone.” Hell, you don’t even have to use comic book analogies when you have Bush’s Interior secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s recent comment, "The safety and protection of park and refuge visitors remains a top priority.” Huh?

Just in case you don’t want to believe a word I’m writing because I’m your typical biased liberal anti-gun advocate (true), how do you explain Park law enforcements concerns about the whole idea of people with handguns and assault weapons parading along our camp trails? National Park Service employee advocacy groups and the National Parks Conservation Association rightly identified the intent of the change when they said, “This is purely and simply a politically-driven effort to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. There are no existing data that suggest any public interest to be gained by allowing visitors to parks to possess concealed handguns. This proposed regulation increases the risk to visitors, employees and wildlife rather than reducing it.”

Republicans have joined with the National Rifle Association to get guns in parks before a possible Democratic president takes office. Despite the quiet, back to nature concept of visiting our national parks, Bizzaro world inhabitants would be impressed by the gun advocates logical explanation for packing heat; “Me take gun camping to shoot scary looking animals and criminals that live there.”

According to the Guardian news service story, “Although threats to rangers in national parks have risen according to some independent research, the sites remain highly safe for visitors. The chance of becoming a crime victim in an official US refuge is 1 in more than 708,000."

But if national parks and reserves weren’t dangerous enough already, perhaps we should think of bringing law and order to crime ridden pubic trains and restaurants that serve alcohol.

That’s what the gun lobby wants Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to do by signing House Bill 89, allowing permits to carry concealed weapons on MARTA trains, state parks and restaurants that serve alcohol.

In a great story exposing the clichés of the gun lobby, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote, “Lobbyists offer no facts to support their position, only the bumper-sticker argument that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

“Fortunately, that statement has been put to a real-life test. New York has enacted some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Unlike Georgia, New York is a "may issue" state, which means an applicant must show good cause or justifiable need for a concealed weapons permit and that law enforcement can refuse to issue such a permit. New York City limits individual gun purchases to one every 90 days, maintaining a gun offender registry and requiring firearms dealers to review inventories and file reports with police twice a year.”

“According to the Georgia gun lobby, New Yorkers should now be at the mercy of well-armed criminals and violent crime should be rampant. According to the gun lobby calculus, this should add up to more criminals with guns and more bodies of innocent people strewn in the streets. But in fact, New York now has the lowest crime rate among the 10 largest U.S. cities. Since 1991, violent crime has fallen 75 percent. Last year, gun homicides fell 22 percent; shootings dropped 16 percent. The city has 5,000 fewer police officers than in 2000. In other words, less access to guns has not translated to more gun crime. Fewer guns have meant less gun violence, not more.”
“New York's progress is even more impressive when you consider the impact of guns brought in from beyond its borders. City police have found that 87 percent of guns recovered in crimes there —- including weapons used in 60 percent of the murders —- came to the Big Apple from other states with lax gun laws, including Georgia.”

“But what about 'the gun lobby fantasy' that common-sense gun laws lead to more blood in the streets. The United States has more guns in private hands than any other developed nation, so if more guns make us safer, the United States should have a very low rate of violent crime. The opposite is true. In 2004, 11,344 Americans were murdered with a firearm. Compare that to Australia, where guns were used to murder 56 people, and to England and Wales, where guns were used in the murders of 73 people. The gun lobby explains those numbers by claiming that people in Australia and England are inherently more peaceable than Americans. But is the gun lobby now going to tell us that New Yorkers are more gentle and law-abiding than Georgians?”

Like they say in Bizzaro world, “Me could say it better than that, even if I try.”

No comments:

Post a Comment