23 April 2008

Philadelphia: 'Let's Redefine Gun Control'

"Here in Philly, where curbing the gun-violence epidemic was a staple of Michael Nutter's mayoral campaign, we are witnessing a furor that may reach a national scale. A city judge last week granted the National Rifle Association's restraining order that forestalls Nutter's package of gun control measures, passed by the City Council, and the NRA is calling for Nutter's arrest on the grounds that he's a tyrant practicing "official oppression." Measures that broaden cops' authority to confiscate guns and otherwise limit gun rights may come under discussion in other cities; many agree with Nutter on their utility in curbing crime.
"But before dissing the Second Amendment, let's give some thought to those who've had run-ins with violent thugs and used guns in self-defense, or people who wish they'd been able to. On March 5, in New Cumberland, a homeowner used a handgun to drive away two invaders after surprising and struggling with them in his kitchen, as reported in the local Patriot News and the Civilian Gun Self-Defense blog. On March 1, in Pittsburgh, a cab driver fatally shot a man who tried to rob him after the driver picked up the man downtown, as reported in the Inquirer.

"Or consider the family of Tammy Zywicki. That name might not mean much to you, but people at truck stops throughout the Midwest know who she was. A Grinnell College senior, Zywicki was traveling from Evanston, Ill., to the Iowa campus in August 1992 when her car broke down. Shortly after that, someone abducted Zywicki, took her to an isolated place, raped and stabbed her repeatedly, and then dropped her body by the side of a road in Missouri. It was a tragedy that marred the lives of Grinnell's class of 1993, Zywicki's family and many others."

"A 1993 article by Richard Griffiths, written for Independence Institute, a Colorado think tank, compares the Zywicki case with that of another abducted woman, Kate Petit. After Petit's car broke down on a highway outside Tampa, Fla., a strange man stopped and got out of his car to offer help, then pulled a knife, forced Petit into his trunk and drove to an isolated spot. Petit could have wound up like Zywicki, but when the psychopath opened the trunk, he got a dose of lead from the licensed .38 handgun Petit kept in her purse. It's one more example of how responsible gun owners exercise their Second Amendment rights."

Responsible journalism and a very well thought-out piece in the Philadelphia City Paper.

Click the link above and read the entire story. It's refreshing to realize that at least one journalist in the City of Brotherly Love has their head on straight.


Anonymous said...

While Greer makes a good point, many municipal gun-control laws impose sensible conditions on gun use rather than outlawing guns. E.g., my city of Washington, D.C., prohibits handgun ownership, but allows citizens to maintain rifles and shotguns at home if they have trigger locks or are broken down. Having grown up with guns, I know I can protect my family in my home under these constraints. For me, the risks of handgun ownership here outweigh the benefits. Not to mention other weapons, such as assault rifles, which the NRA has defended in a display of fanaticism. The entire issue has become so politicized that our debate is governed -- on both sides - by sectarian zeal, not reason.

Brent Greer said...

Richard, thank you for writing. I will respectfully disagree with your words about fanaticism, and with your facts. Assault rifles are full out machine guns. While legal in this nation, few people own them, and those who do legally pay a hefty stamp tax to the government to pursue this hobby. So-called "assault weapons," which in actuality are competition rifles, are common in this country. For many, they may be the only thing they have in their home for self defense. Their basic human right to defend themselves should not be taken away because someone with a political axe to grind is afraid of an inanimate object.