Empire State Building shooting brings back the gun control argument

So once again we are dealing with a shooting in a public place – this time New York City near the Empire State Building.

A gunman – a person laid off from his job a year ago – takes to bringing a weapon and murdering a former co-worker. At this point I don’t know whether the gun was legal or not and frankly, I’m not so sure it even relevant anyway.

One of our reporters noted today shortly after the shooting that his Facebook page was filling up with discussions over gun control. Both sides of the issue were arguing their points: pass stronger gun laws, don’t change the gun laws.

And actually I get both sides of this argument.

We are guaranteed the right to have guns. And that shouldn’t change. Most people with guns are law-abiding citizens who have real reasons or simply the desire to own guns. That to me has never been the issue.

I believe the issue has always been and always will be the criminals. The bad people just shouldn’t have guns. There are reasons that drug dealers, armed robbers and other bandits want guns and those reasons include the desire to plug someone full of lead.

There have been laws passed to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental health issues. The process isn’t perfect but it works probably more than it doesn’t work.

But again the issue is access. If the criminals want guns bad enough, they are easy enough to find. The guy who wants to rob a bank or a store usually within one or two phone calls has the problem solved. You can probably check out any number of local bars around Chester County or Philly and find someone who can get you a weapon.

And there’s the problem. It’s not too different from the war on drugs in this country. We arrest people for selling drugs (like the recent arrest of 17 Chester County residents) and think we’ve made a dent. That’s just not reality. For every drug dealer we arrest and put in jail there are dozens of others there ready to take their place.

So what do we do? Quit the war on drugs? Well, you can’t do that if only for appearance that we’ve tossed in the towel. And it’s the same we guns. We offer gift cards to people to turn in weapons, we take confiscated guns and melt them down in a public display covered by the TV cameras. But really it’s not making much of a difference.

The bad guys who want guns (or drugs) will find them.

I am not a personal fan of guns. Being pistol-whipped in a grocery store robbery might be the reason but I respect the rights of those who WOULDN’T pistol whip me to own a gun to hunt or target shoot – or to defend themselves or their families from bad people.

Of course owning a gun through proper channels is legal and again, it’s a right guaranteed every law-abiding American.

Selling drugs, etc., is not legal. Obviously.

I suppose the bottom line, though, is that in this great country of ours, it doesn’t look like the government has ever or will ever be able to really control either evil.

So unfortunately for us, there will continue to be random shooting incidents like the Empire State Building or the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. If someone wants to commit a crime like this there’s really no way to stop them.

And the street-corner drug dealers will continue their trade really unaffected by law enforcement.

The only thing we can do ourselves is be vigilant and obey the laws. The police will continue to do the fine job they do and to the best of their ability. We can’t blame them. For every cop there are thousands of people.

It’s a sad state of affairs but the moment guns came into being and drugs were made all bets were off. So now we just have to make the best of it.

Good luck and be safe.

— Andy Hachadorian

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About fromtheeditorchair

I am the editor of the Daily Local News.
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