September Editorial Winner

Moore tragedy makes case for gun education

Adam Brooks, The Journal Record

Some gun-rights advocates have, once again, taken the wrong lesson from a violent crime.
Last week, the Vaughan Foods plant in Moore fired Alton Nolen. He returned moments later and grabbed a knife that was used in the facility. Within minutes he beheaded one woman, stabbed another repeatedly and was shot by Mark Vaughan, the company’s chief operating officer.
A good guy with a gun stopped a tragedy from turning into a mass-casualty event. Examiner.com called it “prima facie evidence that Americans need and should have unfettered access to personal firearms.”
Perhaps. But we must remember this: The man who stopped the bloodshed with a bullet was an off-duty Oklahoma County reserve deputy. Put another way: The attack was ended by a man with training, licensing and a gun.
Firearms have a legitimate place in our society. But they also kill an average of more than 11,500 people each year, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. And that’s if you don’t include more than 18,000 suicides.
Discussions about strengthening our laws are often shouted down by people who fear a world where only outlaws and jackbooted thugs have guns. The arguments start with an assumption that people who want more rules on firearms hope to eliminate guns from private hands.
If there are people who want to erase firearms, they’re a very small sliver of the discussion.
Most people who favor more regulation simply envision a country with less crime, and fewer scenes of destroyed schools and blood-drenched movie theaters.
We know there’s no realistic way to make every situation safe – including more people carrying. Maj. Nidal Hasan’s spree at Fort Hood, Texas, shows that.
But we can hope to lower the number of people who are assaulted, robbed and shot. That can be accomplished by putting some reasonable requirements on gun owners: more background checks, mandatory training, and licensing.
Simple limits, similar to the restrictions we put on people who control the potentially deadly hunks of metal we put on the roads every day.
Uniform wait times and other restraints could also help ensure that people like Nolen don’t walk in spraying bullets.
The Vaughan Foods killings show we sometimes need an armed response faster than police can provide. But the situation also demonstrates that we are all better off when the people with the guns have education and training.

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