As always, sportsmen caught in middle of gun debate

Lewis Gordon

Betwixt and between. That’s the position legitimate gun owners, hunters, and recreational sport shooters find themselves in these days.

The tragic nature of events in Parkland, Fla., brings home certain ideas that this type of events call to the fore.

The various antagonists are aligned on opposite sides of this controversial subject, seemingly unwilling to give an inch to the opposite side. Spurred on by a news media seemingly unwilling to yield until the last mileage is wrung from this tragedy.

The factions, both pro and con, argue, attack and defend constitutional rights while the failure of personal responsibility, as well as the causes and effects of crime in the United States, seems lost to all.

As a gun owner myself, I find myself both represented and misrepresented by both sides of this political fire storm. Most of the time it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad ones.

In a variety of ways the factions involved in this debate lose sight of the real issues at hand. Crime and the resulting effects on the populace by the criminal element, and some cases is lost by a red herring distraction over private gun ownership and the influence they have on our society.

The news media, glaringly in particular the television news programs, get almost in a frenzy whenever guns are brought into the picture. Gun owners are portrayed as low level, semi upright lifeforms just ticking away unnoticed as potential social timebombs or, at the very best, incapable of any reasonable thought.

The government, encouraged by the media’s willingness to ally itself against the pro-gun people, preach moderation and sensible approaches to gun ownership. The song they sing is a seductive one, promises of non-interference in legitimate firearms use – only going after criminals, and criminal use of guns.

Sounds so benign, so interested in the average taxpayer’s rights to go out and shoot a few rounds of skeet or target shooting.

Any gun owners move up here from Massachusetts? Let me see; an honest citizen, no criminal record, an everyday person living in Brockton, Worcester or Somerville get a pistol permit from his chief of police. Not likely to happen.

On the federal level, how many of us have had to deal with the internal revenue service for anything? Any government agency? Would you like to explain to them why you would like a 20 gauge skeet gun when you already own a 12 gauge?

On the citizen’s side, there is the National Rifle Association. An organization composed of millions of members. Some not in total agreement with all of the policies. The NRA is basically against gun control – opting for the tougher control of criminals and application and enforcement of the innumerable laws already in place. A hands-off attitude towards government interference of legitimate firearms ownership.

What the NRA lacks in polish and diplomacy, the news media certainly grabs onto and embellishes with feverish gusto. Along the way, someone has to get real and go after the actual problems that sicken our society.

An inanimate object is not the problem.

Teach responsibility and consequences for actions and manners both at home and in school. We need positive role models – not Hollywood.

Only then can we solve the present day riddle of which came first, the crime and drugs. The crime of apathy and selfish disregard for your fellow man? The act of vitriol against anyone who does not agree with you?

We need common sense, responsibility and forbearance. Let’s work together on this.

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