When a tragic incident involves an infant and his mother which results in the death of one of the individuals involved, is this the result of a criminal action or the cause and effect of a gun crazy nation? The NRA is fond of its innocuous statement; “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It wasn’t a truism when a two-year-old was able to remove a loaded handgun from his mother’s purse and pull the trigger, killing the woman.
While shopping in the electronics department at a Walmart in Hayden, Idaho, Veronica Rutledge was carrying her two-year-old son. With her were three other children, all family members. The young boy somehow took the gun from his mother’s purse and discharged it. The gun either had no safety, or it was not in the proper position. Ms. Rutledge had a conceal carry permit from Spokane, Washington. Idaho recognizes permits from other states.
Gun enthusiasts called the tragic incident a ‘perfect storm.’ They claim it could never happen again. How convenient for them to forget the past.
With gun ownership comes great responsibility. Firearms should be locked up in the home and the ammunition kept in a separate location. In this case the mother’s purse should have been zipped shut, or closed in some way which would have prevented access for the child.
Media reports multiple incidents when children obtained access to loaded weapons and caused harm to themselves or others. Among them are: a three-year-old boy who was playing with a loaded gun and shot himself in the face; another three-year-old boy shot himself in the head; a four-year-old girl found a loaded gun, shot and killed her four-year-old cousin; a five-year-old shot a three-year-old; a five-year-old boy accidentally kills himself; an 11 year old girl is shot and killed by her two-year-old brother; there are many more. Unfortunately the truth about how many of these incidents occur is unknown; there are no records.
The right to bear arms is sacred to millions of Americans; so much so that there are more firearms in the United States than people. Contrary to the NRA, there are no attempts by organizations to ‘take away America’s guns.’ Individuals and groups do want legislation and education to make sensible gun ownership safe for all citizens.
Should there be a form of gun control universally applied to all states? Once again, contrary to NRA rants, the statistics prove the answer is yes. Our unique liberal laws regarding guns and their owners has resulted in thousands of deaths yearly. Records for 2013 reveal that more than 12,000 Americans died because of gunshot wounds in the United States. That figure translates to 30 every single day.
Should all guns be outlawed? Of course the answer is no. However, no citizen needs military type weapons, or high-output magazines.
Should there be universal background checks, including private gun sales over the internet and at gun shows? Without a doubt. Statistics prove that multiple fatalities have likely been prevented through denial of a sale to a mentally unstable person or convicted felon. If the NRA was truly an advocacy group and not simply a lobby for gun manufacturers and gun sellers, they would support the initiative as logical and necessary.
This is more than a tragedy. The event at a Walmart in Idaho could easily have been prevented. Sadly, it was not as unusual or unlikely as gun advocates would have us believe. The NRA is wrong; it’s up to the people to make it right.
By James Turnage