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Tom’s Opinion: Gun Control In America

Tom Egelhoff's Opinion on Gun Control
KANSAS CITY, MO – DECEMBER 02: Players huddle in prayer following the Kansas City Chiefs 27-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers at Arrowhead Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

I’m not currently a gun owner, probably the only one in Montana. I’m not a member of the NRA, but I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution. Growing up on a farm in Southern Illinois, I used to go rabbit hunting with my father and brother. Rabbits, quail, pheasants and squirrels were a part of every growing farm boys diet in the 40’s and 50’s. Probably still are in most parts of the country.

My first real experience about what guns could really do was in 1965-66 in the Republic of South Vietnam. We carried M-1’s, the same weapon our fathers carried in WWII and the Korean War. M-16’s didn’t come along until later. If target shooting for prizes or fun is the best use of guns then war has to be the worst. As Clint Eastwood said in the movie, “Unforgiven,” “Hell of a thing, killin a man.” “You take away all he’s got and all he’s gonna.”

Jovan Belcher

On Saturday, December 1st, Jovan Belcher, 25-year old linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs fatally shot his girlfriend then himself. He left a three-month old daughter behind that will be raised by the girlfriend’s parents. It’s very unusual for an undrafted player to make it in professional football. But that’s exactly what Belcher did. By the end of his third year with the team he was a starter and played all 11 Chiefs games until his death.

Unanswered Questions

When tragedy like Belcher’s occurs we always ask, “Why?” Why would a man, in the prime of his life, who worked so hard to accomplish what so few are able to do, wind up dead on the floor of the Kansas City Chiefs offices from a self-inflicted bullet in his brain? We desperately look for a reason to make sense of something that seems so senseless. The only people able to answer those questions are no longer able to give us those answers. Perhaps new information will come to light in the coming weeks to help piece together the events of that terrible day.

Gun Control In America

John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, John Lennon, Tupac Shakur, Selena, Trayvon Martin and Gabrielle Giffords were all victims of gun violence. After each event the cable news channels erupt with calls for more gun laws and restrictions. Congress holds hearings, protest groups are formed, and not much has been done since the Brady Bill was signed into law in 1993. Although the Supreme Court deemed much of the law unconstitutional in 1997, local law enforcement was allowed to continue background checks and almost all still do.

Gun Control and the Second Amendment

The “sticky wicket,” as they would say in merry old England, is the conflict between the second amendment of the constitution that allows private citizens the right to keep and bare arms, and the “promote the general welfare” part of the Constitution Preamble. How can you promote the general welfare if people are shooting up the streets? For congress, it’s a lot like walking a razor blade tight rope. There is no way to get across and not get hurt. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is poised to “shoot down” almost any legislation that any way infringes on the 2nd Amendment.

Some Final Thoughts

Is there an answer to arming the populace and keeping them safe at the same time? Seems like “gun control” would qualify as an oxymoron like “Jumbo Shrimp” or “Original Copy.” The pro-gun crowd screams, “Criminalize guns and only criminals will have guns.” There are also assault weapons, hunter’s rights, police, and military uses to consider. Where exactly, do you draw the line? Who should have a gun and who should not? I’ve been wondering if I should have a gun in the house. Living off the beaten path as we do, I’m not sure how long a police response would take. When you consider Gallatin County is bigger than Rhode Island it makes you wonder.

Gun control would not have been much help to Nichole Brown Simpson or Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims. Should we consider controlling or regulating knives and ropes? The problem is, we live in a free society. To protect the good guys, you also end up protecting the bad guys. Have laws and regulations had much effect in the “War on Drugs?” When the good guys and the bad guys both want the same thing then regulation or control becomes meaningless to both. And the only way to prevent future Jovan Belcher’s has to be done by Jovan Belcher himself. In the military we were taught that almost anything could be made into a deadly weapon to a motivated soldier. But it’s up to that inner voice inside us all if we are prepared to use it. Jovan Belcher was.

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