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September 3, 2015

Straight Shooting and Common Sense

Patricia A. Kelly

Gun control is a hot topic on the national scene right now. Sometimes the media reports it as a solution to crime. At other times the flag the shooter is holding or the uniform he’s wearing is the problem.

No one ever blames the gun if the shooter is a cop, but, if it’s a black male who thinks he’s being persecuted because of his color or gender, it’s the gun’s fault, no matter what the shooter says or what flag he has in his apartment.


The second amendment to the Constitution does give citizens the right to bear arms, to mount a militia and to defend themselves against the government. We’re the only country offering that, by the way.

On the other hand, the Constitution gives us all the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The right to bear arms does not include the right to interfere with the constitutional rights of others.

That would naturally imply that gun ownership comes with some responsibility to keep others safe in the presence of your gun.

Try comparing guns to cars. Both are dangerous weapons. To drive a car, one must be licensed, take a written test, pass an eye exam, and demonstrate proficiency with his car. He can own as many as he wants. This might be a great idea for gun ownership as well.

Guns could be licensed, as are cars. Anyone could own one or as many as they liked, but one would be required to take a test, pass medical/mental health screening, pass a vision test, and demonstrate proficiency and safety knowledge.

In a civilized – often crowded – world, this is common sense.

Sense is so often what is lacking, in the media, special interest groups, and in legislation.

So many are shouting, and so few are thinking.

HIPPA privacy regulations and their faulty interpretation are a perfect example. Medical records are private, and can be shared for the purpose of collecting fees, or collaborating with other health care providers to facilitate care. People generally give permission for this sharing.

A mentally ill person, someone who thinks his car is possessed by the devil, or that voices in his head are telling him to kill someone, has the right to decide who has knowledge about his medical condition. This means his own caregivers, his parents, for example, cannot be told what medicine he should be taking, or his diagnosis, unless he is a minor. This is crazy.

The teacher and the administration at Virginia Tech did not feel that they could tell the family of the shooter that they were afraid to be in class with him because they thought they weren’t allowed to violate his privacy.

HIPPA laws must be modified to allow caregivers of people out of touch with reality to learn what is going on with them. How can someone who thinks he is Elvis Presley be allowed to decide whether to take his medicine or not?

Many Americans have been killed because of this. People who have shown signs of severe mental illness have passed background checks for gun purchases because no one has reported their weird behavior.

People who report aberrant behavior to the police, family or health care providers should be held harmless just as are health care providers protected by the Good Samaritan Act.

If a teacher and the other students are afraid to be in class with a student, someone should be told about it!

There are many other examples out there, one being people interpreting the concept of English as the official language of the United States, as evidence of hatred for immigrants. Nothing could be further from the truth. Understanding among all, fostered by shared language, could just as easily be considered an act of welcome under someone else’s interpretation.

Legal immigration standards now favor elderly parents of citizens over people who could contribute to our society. What’s up with that?

Let’s take a common sense look at current legislation, and current diatribes from protestors, to see what is real and workable, and let’s make that happen. We are running around in nonsensical circles with our feelings and interpretations. Let’s try clear facts, for a change.


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