David Dunn-Rankin

David Dunn-Rankin

The state legislature is set to loosen the requirements for carrying guns. The new law appears to allow any gun owner to carry a gun in public with little training and no permit required.

Of course, our state government exempted itself from this legislation. We can carry guns anywhere except where our state government elected officials are. Clearly, they think guns are dangerous and need to be restricted if you are on government property, but everywhere else, carrying a gun is just fine.

If we are pro-gun, we should be insulted by this message from the governor and the legislature. If carrying a gun without a permit or training is fine, it should be fine everywhere. Our governor and your Republican legislator believe in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, unless it causes them potential danger.

If you are anti-gun, look at the data before condemning this bill. While more guns might make you uncomfortable, there is no good data suggesting that carrying more guns in public turns us into a shootout at the OK Corral. Take a deep breath.

People on the left must understand that we are not going to eliminate guns any more than we are going to eliminate smoking or alcohol, which kill more people than guns. Just as we live with and have learned how to manage the harm from smoking and alcohol, we must learn to live with and reduce the harm from guns.

People who grew up around guns, learning to use a BB gun as a small child and then gradually graduating to a more powerful gun as they gain experience, are not the problem. There are almost no shootings among those who grew up with guns and consider guns as part of their lifestyle. Think of it this way. More people are murdered via knives and more people are murdered with just hands and feet than are murdered from a rifle.

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. If you are a woman over 50, your peers commit less than 100 homicides of any kind in a year. If you are a man under 50, your peers kill more than 500 people yearly with their hands or feet. And kill 7,000 a year using guns.

We can reduce potential harm by doing a better job of keeping firearms from people under 21 or those over 21 who have a record of violence, threatened violence, alcohol or drug abuse, psychiatric care or some other red flag that they may be a threat to themselves or others. The legislature should include more of these restrictions in their current bill encouraging additional carrying of guns in public.

What’s hard for me to understand, if this bill passes, is that it will be harder and more paperwork to adopt a dog in Florida than to carry a gun in public in Florida.

Can’t we work together to allow gun owners to enjoy their guns while making it much more difficult for the known dangerous demographics that cause most of the violence to have a harder time getting their hands on a gun?

Our country has found ways to reduce the harm from alcohol and smoking while still allowing people to choose those personal pleasures. We can do the same with guns.

What do you think? Share your thoughts: David@D-R.Media.

David Dunn-Rankin is CEO of D-R Media, which owns the Triangle News Leader and Clermont News Leader, as well as newspapers in Highlands, Polk and Sumter counties.

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