What Can We Do? Ideas On Gun Safety

In this post I discuss gun safety and some possible procedures that can be taken to help avoid an incident like Sandy Hook from happening again.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is easily one of the worst tragedies of my lifetime. It has led to many questions that haven’t been answered and probably never will.

What could motivate a man to shoot innocent children? How on Earth could he pull the trigger when he’s sighted in on a child? These are the kinds of questions that have fueled debates on every major news network. I don’t claim to have an answer that can cover everything that’s been asked, but I can help clear up some of the issues regarding guns and give my two cents.

Back in my junior year of high school I decided that I really wanted to go hunting. Since none of my immediate family members hunt, I got more than a few odd looks. But they supported me and helped me enroll in the hunter’s safety course.

The classes were held over one weekend with a combined total of 17 hours of class time. We were taught the parts of the gun, how to handle a gun, where to hunt, how to make sure a shot is a safe shot, and all sorts of other valuable safety tips.

Once I had my certification to buy a hunting license, I went to Dunham’s with my dad so I could buy my own rifle. I walked back to the hunting section and realized just how many different rifles and shotguns are available to the public.

My mom loves deer so I can’t kill any until I’m on my own. I decided to look for a good .22 rifle. A .22 is a very small caliber rifle that is used to kill mostly vermin like squirrels and groundhogs.

I ended up looking through the massive catalog they had and ordered a Savage Mark 2 bolt-action rifle. You can only legally hunt with a bolt action rifle, a semi automatic would lead to a “spray and pray” mentality since it would be so easy to unload an entire magazine. The bolt-action forces you to pick shots wisely and only shoot when you feel like the shot will be a kill.

As I was checking out I saw what appeared to be AK-47 rifles stocked on the shelves and asked the employee how they can sell assault weapons. As it turns out many of the “assault” weapons we see on sale are only assault weapons in an aesthetic sense.

The guts of the rifle have been reworked so they aren’t automatic and they shoot a smaller caliber than their wartime counterparts. They are generally semi automatic so they would only be good for target shooting. Some still come with a banana-style magazine, which can generally hold up to 30 rounds.

I find it ridiculous that these are sold to the general public. While hunting or at a range, you are only allowed to have five bullets in your rifle at any time. The gun itself has no malicious feelings towards society, yet we offer the tools of destruction to the sociopaths who do.

That’s all a gun is though, just another tool. It doesn’t do us any good to fear them and demand that they all get destroyed after a tragedy like Sandy Hook. Instead, we should learn about them and realize that the gun is only as dangerous as the person holding it.

I believe the reason any of these mass shootings happen is because these people need psychiatric help but can’t get it or the help is ineffective.

Although it won’t completely fix the issue, I believe that everyone who wants to own a gun should have to go through the safety course I went through. Having to sit through a 17-hour course will deter people who want a gun because they think it’s just a high-powered toy. Plus it will guarantee that the people who own the gun know its mechanics and the dangers that can be present if the gun is handled improperly.

We don’t need to arm the public with guns to defend against another mass shooting; we need to arm them with knowledge.


Editor's Note: The writer is the son of Pine-Richland Patch Editor Cindy Cusic Micco.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mark Trombetta January 04, 2013 at 04:18 AM
You really won't like this one Mark A: Section 21 . Right to Bear Arms The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. That is from the Pa State Constitution. OUCH!!!! You will either have to amend it or move. ....Or maybe that is out of context as well? My God!!! a conspiracy? From Merriam-Webster [known right wing nut jobs]: arm noun, often attributive Definition of ARM a: a means (as a weapon) of offense or defense; especially: firearm
cc January 04, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Mark A you are totally off the wall in your way of thinking. Where did Mark Trombetta say that he would pull out his assault rifle and say that he was going to kill someone???? I wouldn't turn over my guns either but that does not mean that I would kill someone to keep my guns.
cc January 04, 2013 at 06:01 AM
Mark the more you open your mouth the more psychological help you need. There are millions of these guns out there owned by law-abiding patriotic citizens. If they ever did one of your "WHAT lF" buy back programs to take these guns off the street, the only ones that would still have these guns are the ones with Mental Health Issues and criminals.who don't follow the law to begin with and wouldn't follow a gun buy back program either.
NE12Ukid January 04, 2013 at 06:56 AM
when cc says: There are more people killed on roads by DUI's ... That's RICH! LOL
Mark A. January 04, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Nice rambling train of thought with random tangents. Also, this thread ended like, last year.
Mark Trombetta January 04, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Sorry, Mark A You are just too smart for me.
Andy Plese January 09, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Gun laws don't stop crime. Period. Newtown already had an "assault weapons" ban. We all see how that worked out. As a matter of fact, Lanza didn't even bring the "assault rifle" in the school with him. He did that shooting with pistols. Nowhere in the 2nd amendment does it say that our right to bear arms shall not infringed as long as we only own bolt action rifles that hold 4 rounds or less. This is not a gun issue, this is a generation issue. Want to know why this is the only generation where we started seeing school shootings? Because this is the only generation that never gets disciplined for anything. These crazy nut jobs that shoot up schools are by products of parents no longer being allowed to discipline their children. or children that are sheltered their whole lives and receive trophies just for participating. I'm 26 years old, thankfully I was brought up to be scared of my parents if I screwed up. I have been around guns my entire life, and let me tell you. I knew better than to even think about taking one of my dads guns out of the cabinet for fear of being disciplined. People will do what they want no matter what laws there are. Im pretty sure there has to be some kind of law against shooting people in schools (School Shooting Ban.) But that doesn't stop anybody. You would never think there are actually laws against people using drugs because half of the population is stoned out of their minds. Gun laws don't prevent crime.
Roger January 09, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Ditto to what Andy says here about stopping these events. Remember that Columbine had an armed guard inside the school at the time of the shootings. The knee-jerk reaction of so many districts to add armed guards makes for great PR and political rhetoric. But, effectiveness, ... well, others have shown this path to be ineffective.
Airdoc January 09, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Roger - the armed guard was not in the Columbine school at the time of the shootings. He was with another guard at a different location where the "smokers" went. By the time he heard about the shootings, he had to protect the students running out of the building and never went into the building at all.
Pat O'Neil January 09, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Art, I would much prefer there be a shootout than a one-sided massacre. Instead of your rhetoric, what is your plan? How do you stop someone that comes into a school intent on murdering as many people as possible? A person with no plans on coming out of the situation alive is not deterred by laws and whatever punishment you might have planned for them.
NE12Ukid January 09, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Point remains that Columbine school had armed guards and that did not stop the shooters from their evil deeds.
Sue T January 09, 2013 at 10:32 PM
You need to look at over all statistics, not just one example, i.e. Columbine. When you pull out one example can can almost always find one to support your opinion. The fact is Columbine HS is a large campus, had one armed guard, who happened to be in his car eating lunch at the time of the shooting. IF you were to put armed guards in schools, that is not an example of how you would do it. I don't know the layout of Coumbine so I'll use my old HS as an example. There are four separate buildings, so at a minimum you would need a guard per building. So, yes Columbine had a guard but he wasn't even on duty at the time of the shooting. My understanding is he still manage to keep several students that were outside out of the line of fire. I'm not saying we need armed guards in every school, but if the approach is used it has to be planned properly for the size and layout of the school. The fact is, something like 20 or 30 percent of schools already have armed guards. Are the instances that have been avoided because of their presences? We don't know. Those don't make the news. All options should be on the table and thoroughly evaluated.
NE12Ukid January 10, 2013 at 12:18 AM
So, if we "just don't know" and we have conflicting stories here about where that guard was and what he was doing, where are the "overall statistics" you want us to consider?
Sue T January 10, 2013 at 03:57 PM
NE12Ukid---I don't have the statistics. The point is, this is a complicated issue and no one should be jumping to rash solutions based on incomplete facts. Our representatives SHOULD be pulling together all of the information before jumping in and making new laws or executing Executive Orders. It needs to be done on facts not emotion. And it is not my job to pull together those facts for you. It is your represenatives job. I myself have not reached on decision on what I think should be done because I don't have all the facts. So, I have not offered a single opinion in my posts on this subject. I've just asked questions or pointed out holes in peoples arguements. I do have one opinion, basing any conclusions on just Columbine or Sandy Hook is not considering all the facts.
NE12Ukid January 10, 2013 at 04:59 PM
This is not a gun issue, this is a generation issue. Want to know why this is the only generation where we started seeing school shootings? Because this is the only generation that never gets disciplined for anything.>>> Sorry but you can't blame school shootings on just this generation. Consider this history: It should be noted that the following list is mostly derived from the archives of the New York Times news articles, where prior to 1950's, very little information was reported from the Mid West and the West Coast. Although accurate in the actual accounts noted below, this list is most likely incomplete, devoid of any incidences west of the Mississippi River prior to the mid 1900's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States
Andy Plese January 10, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Ok, after seeing that list. I have a new argument. There were over 35 school shootings, minimum, before The AR-15 was even invented and available to the public. There is no ban more effective than one that covers things that don't yet exist. So how could an assault weapons ban stop school shootings if school shootings were happening before these "assault weapons" even existed??
Pat O'Neil January 10, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Your first mistake is trying to argue with these people with logic. Don't you know when something like this happens we're supposed to throw away the constitution to protect the children?
Sue T January 10, 2013 at 06:38 PM
What I notice about the list is that all the early events (with the exception of Bath MI which was a booming not a shooting; and a couple due to drunkness) is that they are all targeted against a single individual, such as a teacher that had disiplined them. That's now how I interpreted the statement on generaltional issue directed at. When we look at mass radom shootings those don't appear to have started until the late 70's. Shootings where if there was a motivate, it's lost somewhere in the mind of the shoter. And there is clear lack of respect for life based on the number of people randomly targeted.
NE12Ukid January 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Not being a mind reader, I don't know about " a (sic)motivate, it's lost somewhere in the mind of the (sic)shoter." But as to "mass (sic)radom shootings", the list certainly shows that such incidents are not new to the current generation of young persons, which was the point. It's not a generational issue.
Sue T January 11, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Did you read the list at the link you posted? I'm not a mind reader either but motivate is provided in a lot of the descriptions. And the list does not such that these incidents aren't new. Up until the 70's all of them were single shottings, a good percent of them accidental. The was a double shotting in the 30's where a man killed his wife and daughter. Obiviously targeted not radonm. There were a couple of muliple shottings in the 50's both at universities and both aimed at professors not students. I went through this list and see no evidence of multiple random shottings of students until the 70's. Well, unless you count the Indians attacking a school yard in the 1700's. Then, I guess there is a repeated pattern. Sorry, I'm in total disagreement with you. This is generational.
MSgt. John DeLallo January 11, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Sue T-I'm inclined to believe its generational as well. When did the military draft end? Most kids either learned self discipline, or were weeded out. In a particular sense, it was the only social welfare program we ever had that worked. And when did Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" begin? The beginnings of the Nanny State, the end of the draft, the great shift away from personal responsibility were factors that lead to today's Little Johnny who we never wish to diminish his self esteem. Of course Little Johnny gets out of the protective cocoon of high school and finds out, hey, its a tough world out here. That could explain the lone shooters who think its cool to shoot up Victim Disarmament Zones. Did you ever note they rarely attack police stations or military facilities, or other well guarded (by force of arms) places? The overarching problem here is not so much the rare school shooting, but rather the particular socio-economic sub stratum that have grown up in a society with no strong male father figure, no incentive to work, and few consequences for their actions. Chicago had 500 firearm murders in 2012. That in a city that is noted for its most draconian gun laws. The teens who turn to drugs and gangs are obviously not impressed with, nor inclined to, obey the gun laws. There is, in my never humble opinion, a direct correlation between the hopelesness brought on by generations of public assistance, and cold blooded murders in the big city. (continued--)
MSgt. John DeLallo January 11, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Sue T--part 2 of this rant. Do you really think Obama, Biden, or for that matter anyone in Government is going to point their collective finger at the Governments own Frankenstein Monster? Do you see an admission, in your lifetime, that generations of folks living off the dole, often in horrid conditions associated with ghetto living created by the Government, are the real issue? In the end, call it gun control, or just control, or people control, gun laws are racism in its most evil form. Picture yourself as a law abiding inner city resident afraid to walk to the local grocery store, especially after dark, because YOU are lawful and don't own a firearm for your own defense, but children--15, 16, 17 years of age have no regard for the law, or for life itself. What have we, as a Nation, created? Its most certainly generational. Reinstate the draft, and put those who commit crimes with firearms into the deepest recesses of our jails and prisons for a long, long time. Until we teach inner discipline, and instill a sense of responsibility for one's actions, don't look for the gun issue to go away. Politicians like to be voted back into office. Addressing the real problem gets them labeled racists, and their political careers are history.
Roger January 11, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Quoting: "... And when did Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" begin? The beginnings of the Nanny State, the end of the draft, the great shift away from personal responsibility were factors that lead to today's Little Johnny who we never wish to diminish his self esteem. ..." Here, here!!! At the time, Great Society programs seemed very logical, and iniquitous. I think I am in a large majority that never saw the unintended consequences of LBJ's program. Many of us that supported the program fully at the time, now understand what has happened. I am no historian. I have no great insight into societal behaviors. I was never deeply involved with these programs personally. However, in my short hindsight, Great Society sparked a major change in culture, society, personal achievement, work ethic, and the citizen's view of big government. Someday, the writers of history will be able to piece together the changes instituted by Great Society, and the impact. Even in the short time since implementation, and the age of some of us, the patterns are emerging pretty clearly. More time is needed. But, your comment regarding the fulcrum is dead on target, ... at least from my vantage point behind the thick post. You have taken the discussion in the gun violence direction. But, there are a myriad of directions to go with the significance of the GS event.
MSgt. John DeLallo January 11, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Roger: Thanks for the affirmation. I'm retired from the Air Force, did a year in theatre, but not in country during Vietnam, returning to the States in 1974--in civilian clothing with strict orders not to engage in protesters or other ne'er do wells unless absolutely necessary to defend myself. Obviously, with our short haircuts, we stuck out like a sore thumb at San Francisco airport, and believe it or not, the protesters were there to greet every airplane. I never raised a fist, but often wished I had. You commented that I've taken this towards the gun violence end of the argument. I should tell you that I am an ardent supporter of the individual right to keep and bear arms, a member of two pro-gun PACS, a frequent traveler to Harrisburg. Gun violence is, in my opinion, nearly 100% an issue with the lawless, not with the law abiding.
cc January 11, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Mark Trombetta the comment was for Mark A, who has a problem with guns and he thinks people own them to feel Macho. He is the one that made the comment that " I get those kinds of feelings from caring for my family and being a valuable member of the community, i don't have to wave around an instrument of death to feel like a man." Most responsible gun owners do not wave around an instrument of death to feel like a man. I know of no one that waves around an "instrument of death," and I've been around guns all my life. Mark A is off his rocker.
NE12Ukid January 13, 2013 at 03:23 AM
What Can We Do? Ideas On Gun Safety A 17 hour course is certainly better than no course, for sure! But those who are so interested in arming school personnel (and those who are not in favor of such) may profit from viewing this: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/defend-gun-7312540
cc January 13, 2013 at 03:58 AM
In every article that I have read of the Columbine Shooting, they said that the guard was at lunch during the shooting. He did fire back at one of the the ones that was shooting out the window to protect the student that were leaving the school. Columbine is also a very big school which they only had one armed guard and he couldn't be in 20 places at one time. The two that committed these murders brought these guns in school in their bookbags, they had also set up explosives all over the school to go off the day of the shooting.
cc January 13, 2013 at 04:16 AM
John have to totally agree with you. It isn't the law abiding citizen that are going out and committing these killings. It is the ones that are getting these guns illegally that are committing these crimes. Just watch any of the news station at 5-6 am in the morning and see how many drive by shootings, shooting in bars, on the streets of Pittsburgh there are every night. These aren't happening in good neighborhoods, they are coming from areas that have high volumes of people living off the system. They get these guns illegally and then they pass these guns on to others to commit the same type of shootings. I know a lot of people who won't drive anywhere near the North Side, East Liberty because of all the drive by shootings in these area's.
NE12Ukid January 13, 2013 at 04:26 AM
How many generations? even since the 1970s?
NE12Ukid January 13, 2013 at 04:39 AM
These aren't happening in good neighborhoods, they are coming from areas that have high volumes of people living off the system.>>> Like Richard Bauhammers of Mt. Lebanon? George Sodini of Scott Twp? Richard Poplowski of Stanton Heights?: No, this kind of mental sickness behavior does not occur only in low income areas. And FTR, many in those low income areas you point at are not "living off the system", they are working people. Lots of prejudice showing here.


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