Gun control: doing nothing is irresponsible

February 8, 2013

Gun control discussion continues to ripple across our land with little national consensus developing. Meanwhile, economic impacts manifest themselves near and far. Local gun shops like Steele’s and Hopkins are seeing unprecedented sales of all kinds of pistols, rifles, shotguns and ammunition. It’s rare these days to walk through their doors and not find several people looking, buying and discussing. And the phones stay busy with dealers calling up the national database for background checks. For the shops, the national attention is a boost to business.

On the other end of the economic spectrum, promoters canceled the huge annual outdoors show in Harrisburg, Pa., which is attended by representatives of local campgrounds, hunting outfitters and charter fishermen to promote their services. Show organizers advised vendors to not bring assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition clips. The company feared that having those guns and clips at the show would deflect attention from the traditional family entertainment focus on camping, hunting and fishing. But the ban drew an immediate and crippling boycott by hundreds of vendors. The loss is siphoning millions of dollars out of the Harrisburg economy, and it removed an important promotional venue.

The show will return when cooler heads prevail, but in the meantime safety is at stake. Over the past several years we watched senseless destruction by suicide bombers in foreign lands. We wondered uneasily when it would happen here. Of course it has and still is. Sept. 11, 2001 was a suicide bombing. Deranged young men gunning down innocent children and adults also qualifies.

Where do we draw the line? We don’t want machine guns or missile launchers for everyone. We don’t want crazy people outgunning our police. Good government amounts to finding the right blend of hands-off and hands-on. Regulating assault rifles and high-volume clips designed to quickly kill lots of people makes sense. Simple, universal background checks make sense. Protecting our children by locking school doors and improving security also makes sense.

Doing nothing in the face of unprecedented loss of innocent lives to killers with sophisticated killing tools does not make sense and it’s not an option.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Dave Frederick, sports editor.