O.K. folks, here is the follow-up article. I think we can turn him!
With gun, I will aim for safety
Posted at 12:09 AM on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009
By Bill McEwen / The Fresno Bee
Now that I've written of my intentions to buy a handgun and apply for a concealed-weapons permit, readers are stuffing my mailbox with advice, opinions and invitations.
The advice from gun owners is almost unanimously sober. They talk about the duties that go with carrying a weapon: picking the right gun, taking safety classes and practicing shooting.
Writes a Turlock man, "I would ask of you these things if you are serious about pursuing a [permit]. Never forget that doing so brings upon you a huge responsibility to practice and to constantly think about the terrible consequences that come with having to defend yourself with deadly force, whether a firearm or anything else. Carrying a weapon of any sort brings with it an awesome responsibility."
Some gun-control advocates say I've lost my mind or am trying to stir controversy. A friend suggested that if I am worried about the crime rate where I live, I should move back to my old neighborhood closer to Shaw Avenue "and forget about a weapon."
Call me stubborn, but I'd rather stay put than surrender to the bad guys.
So, after the holidays, I'll hang out with a few experts who have invited me to learn more about guns -- including assault rifles, which I bad-mouthed in the column.
Then I'll buy a gun, enroll in a safety class, fill out the permit and see whether I pass a Fresno County background check.
I understand the argument that more guns will create more pain and havoc. I acknowledge that carrying a concealed weapon probably wouldn't have helped Richard Hernandez, the deliveryman who was shot in the back.
But I've seen ample research backing Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims' contention that society is safer when responsible people bear arms. And, heaven forbid, if I face a life-or-death situation, I don't want to go out a defenseless victim.
I know people who have permits and carry concealed weapons. You can't pick them out of a crowd. They don't brag about it. They take the responsibility seriously. The Second Amendment provides the right to own firearms, and they exercise that right.
Responding to my column, a retired registered nurse with a doctorate in education described what led her to get a concealed-gun permit after moving to an isolated spot in the Madera County foothills. She said that she felt unsafe during her daily walk and driving to choir practice at night.
"I had never held a handgun until I retired five years ago," she said. "I was determined not to give up my independence."
Owning a gun is a personal choice for people with clean records. Carrying a gun in California is decided by the sheriff of each county.
Criminals don't play by these rules. They steal guns or buy them illegally, putting us all at risk. And, unlike responsible gun owners, they don't think much -- or care -- about the consequences of firing their weapons.