Opinion: Senate gun vote makes it easier for nut cases to harm others | al.com
HUNTSVILLE, AL -- From two short stories in Friday's Huntsville Times, just a page apart:
"The Alabama Senate has passed legislation that would make it easier for people to keep guns in their cars."
"A vehicle parked at a home ... was burglarized between 6 p.m. Feb. 1 and 2 p.m. Wednesday. A Smith & Wesson .38 caliber handgun was stolen."
The first story tells us that the our state Senate won't permit businesses to establish rules that prevent employees having guns locked in their cars.
The second tells us that a gun was stolen from a car at someone's home, at some time during a 24-day period. If I'm missing two quarters and a nickel from my console change tray, I notice it the next day. But it's maybe 24 days and you don't know your gun is gone?
You might remember some slightly bigger stories in recent newspapers. For instance, the one about a 15-year-old boy who brings a gun to school and murders a fellow student. Or the one about a professor stripped of tenure who comes into the workplace with a gun and kills three co-workers.
There's a more delicate, diplomatic way to put this, I know, but here's the deal: We have more nutjobs in the world than ever before. We have more stressed-out employees, on edge in a tenuous economy, than ever before. Still, hey, let people hide guns in their cars.
The bill in the Alabama Senate was sold by Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and it passed 26-2. "This vote is about one thing only: Do you support Second Amendment rights?" he told his colleagues.
A cynic would say it's about this thing, too: It's an election year.
And the National Rifle Association, of which Bedford is a member, is a generous donor to election campaigns, including Bedford's.
I'm a big fan of the U.S. Constitution, even if that "well-regulated militia" part before we get to "right to bear arms" is outdated. I don't happen to believe that having sensible gun control laws equates to "you can never hunt deer again."
I'm a bigger fan of common sense.
There's a right to bear arms. There are also rights for employers to make their rules and establish a safe workplace.
Does a gun locked away in a car really provide protection? From what? A mugger using a walker?
Or does it make it easier for somebody who's angry, insane, insulted or a combination of the above to pop open the glove compartment, grab the gun and cause problems?
And what a bonus a gun in the car can be for thieves who thought they were just getting a CD player, a set of golf clubs or a joyride.
Studies show that approximately 25 percent of gun-related crimes involve stolen weapons. And that 25 to 30 percent of stolen weapons are from vehicle break-ins.
There was another short story in our paper that ran last summer. A Mobile police officer named Brandon Sigler was shot and killed. Richard Hollingsworth shot him with a weapon that had been stolen from a deputy's car.
Maybe its just me, but there's an even older bit of legislation than the Constitution.
"Thou shalt not kill."
So why does it seem like we keep making it easier to do so?