Catching up to Kansas seems to be a Missouri cliche when it comes to guns.
The September issue of the AARP Bulletin contains a Databank USA graphic, showing the percentage of adults owning guns in 2013. In Missouri, it reports that only 27.1 percent of adults owned guns that year.
Kansas was ahead of the Show-Me State with 32.2 percent of adults owning firearms in 2013. Action by the Missouri legislature on Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto on a gun bill that the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed earlier this year could shoot Missouri ahead of Kansas in gun ownership.
By overriding the Democratic governor’s veto, Missourians wanting a gun won’t have to pass a criminal background check and complete a gun safety training class before being able to legally carry a concealed firearm in public.
To people who favor gun control, the state will feel more dangerous because no one knows who’s carrying a gun and who isn’t, who is well-trained to do so and who isn’t, who is too paranoid and too mentally unstable to have a deadly weapon and who isn’t, and who is too dangerous for his or her own good, and who isn’t.
To gun advocates, having more guns in the hands of more people makes them feel safer in public because then the so-called bad guys won’t know which of the so-called good guys has a gun and might use it on anyone who might try to do something terrible. The bad assumption there is all gun owners can be trusted and know what they are doing with firearms so that no innocent persons will get hurt.
The new Missouri gun law also would reduce the penalty for carrying a firearm into a building where guns are not allowed. In addition, the law would make Missouri the first state in the U.S. since the February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida by George Zimmerman to implement a so-called “stand your ground” provision, saying people no longer have a duty to try to retreat before using lethal force if they think their life is in danger.
Again, to gun control advocates the liberalization of laws governing firearm use by the public is taking public safety in the wrong direction. What gun advocates aren’t seeing is that killing anyone with a gun — whether the laws determine it’s justified or not — profoundly affects the dead or injured person and that individual’s family as well as the shooter and his or her family.
Once the trigger is pulled, there is no turning back. Most people are not psychologically capable of handling the horrors that follow gun tragedies, and they are all nightmares.
What also has to be underscored is the effect the new gun law will have on law enforcement officers’ daily interactions with the public. What people are forgetting is that every time a police officer stops anyone, that officer has to be deeply concerned over whether the person being pulled over has a firearm, whether that individual might use it on the police or just pull it to force the officer to kill him in a suicide by cop. Either way, the police officer’s life and his family’s lives are forever changed.
Normally tense traffic stops are likely to become a lot more intense especially if people try to argue with the police.
The new gun law takes Missouri in the opposite direction that gun control advocates had hoped for in the aftermath of Dec. 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which a gunman killed six adults and 20 children ages 6 and 7. The law could push gun ownership in Missouri into the top five now held by Alaska at 61.7 percent; neighboring Arkansas, 57.9 percent; Idaho, 56.9 percent; West Virginia, 54.2 percent; and Colorado, 53.8 percent.
Gun advocates hope that more people who are on the fence about firearms will join them in owning guns, and it might happen in the interest of self-protection. But for staunch gun control proponents, that’s just not for them, and don’t expect them to wave any white flag and surrender on putting more sense into gun laws.