Sunday, July 14, 2013

A gun violence survivor reacts to the Zimmerman verdict

Perhaps we should pay more attention to who is carrying concealed weapons and why they are being carried.

For the record, I was gunned down point-blank in the back with a .45. In my case it was in the hands of a presumably prohibited purchaser.

Having said that, and if I am agnostic about the verdict, I think that we can agree that Mr. Zimmerman did not thwart a crime. An innocent teen was gunned down and killed. Had Mr. Zimmerman not been carrying a concealed handgun, he probably would have stayed in his vehicle and waited for police to arrive; Which is what he was supposed to do. The altercation that caused Mr. Zimmerman's "injuries" was a result of his own aggressive actions. No gun, no aggression.

In fact, had Mr. Zimmerman been carrying a rifle, it would have been obvious to Trayvon Martin that Zimmerman was armed and dangerous. In all likelihood there would not have been a scuffle. Martin would still be alive and Zimmerman would not have had his life on hold for a year.

New York State has had the very sensible Sullivan Act on the books since the early part of the 20th century. With respect to handguns, New York is a may issue state as opposed to Florida which is a shall issue state. Police and local ordinances determine who gets to carry a concealed weapon. In general very few New Yorkers get concealed carry permits.

In Florida, municipalities are prohibited from enacting separate gun safety ordinances. New York City prohibits carrying concealed weapons unless there is a demonstrated need to do so. Mr. Zimmerman would not have qualified and Trayvon Martin would still be alive.

With some common sense that does not insult the Second Amendment we can be a safer and more compassionate nation. Sometimes I think that some conservatives are determined to abandon common sense when it comes to our weaponry only to oppose liberals who they view as elitist and over-educated.

Japan and South Korea have .06 gun deaths per 100,000 people per year. Our rate (10.3) makes us just slightly more civilized than Mexico and about 175 times less so than Japan. I am not proud of that.

Surely there should be room for some purposeful conversation and deliberation.
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