100 Million Gun Owners Didn’t Kill Anyone Last Week
By Doug Patton
The Western Center for Journalism
July 26, 2012
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.” – Thomas Jefferson
For my tenth birthday, I wanted a BB gun. Like the mother in “A Christmas Story,” mom simply said, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Dad had a wiser response. He gave me a choice. I could have the BB gun or a pair of Roy Rogers cap pistols I had been admiring. He made it clear to me that once I owned a weapon that actually fired real projectiles — even if they were only BBs — my toy gun days were over. I chose the pistols, and he knew I wasn’t ready for the real thing.
Two years later, at age twelve, with my toy gun days behind me, Dad bought me a bolt-action .22-caliber rifle and taught me how to use it — safely. I still remember the three simple rules he taught me: this is not a toy, never point it at anyone, and always assume that it is loaded.
As I grew into a teenager, I always knew where Dad kept our guns — mine and his. They were not locked up. They were standing in their cases in the closet in my parents’ bedroom, with the ammunition on the shelf above. Yet never once did it occur to me to take those guns to school and shoot my classmates. Nor did I ever contemplate walking into a packed movie theater or a crowded mall and begin firing.