Life saver, not a life taker

John Nieves
People need to understand that gun owners like me have made the biggest, most important choice in their lives with the purchase of their firearm: We will not be victims

JOHN NIEVES

I’m your typical geek. I work with gadgets and all sorts of geekery all day, and I spend way too much time playing with my friends online. I’m pretty much the poster boy of all geeks out there.

Oh yeah, I also carry a gun.

There’s this unfair perception that gun owners are violent, trigger happy criminals, openly flaunting our guns and constantly have our fingers on the triggers, waiting — nay — praying for an altercation so that we have an excuse to finally take out our weapons. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Gun owners are pretty much like everyone else. We’re a fun loving bunch, we respect the law and abide by it. We are not emboldened by our weapons, we are humbled by them. It’s a concept that’s extremely hard to explain to someone who does not own a gun, and I don’t mean that as an insult. Any sane person who buys a gun is terrified by the immense responsibility that now rests in his hands. And yet we still buy guns. Why?

People need to understand that gun owners like me have made the biggest, most important choice in their lives with the purchase of their firearm: we will not be victims. Your typical gun owner is neither violent, nor dangerous. Believe me when I say that the prospect of pulling the trigger to shoot another person is terrifying to us, and anyone who says otherwise needs to have his head checked and his gun license revoked.

Most people need to understand that a gun in the hands of a civilian who intends to use it defensively is a life-saving tool, not a life-taking tool. It’s emergency rescue equipment, the same way that the jaws of life are used to pry people out of cars.

Not evil

The thing is, firearms are not inherently evil. They are inanimate objects that do not possess their own will. They are tools that man created to hunt animals and (sadly) harm others. Like any tool, it is only as dangerous as the person holding it.

I’d happily live in a world that does not require people to own a gun, a world where people respect other people’s possessions and follow the law to the letter. Unfortunately, that world exists only in the minds of hippies and people who are naive enough to think that guns are the source of violence in this world.

Now people are talking about a nationwide gun ban because of recent events after the mandated election gun ban to try and prevent these tragedies from happening again. I’m sorry, but gun bans have been proven not to work. Two countries have had a nationwide gun ban for years, and unfortunately it has not been as successful as proponents thought it would be, even if they don’t admit it.

In 1987, British Michael Ryan, went on a shooting rampage in Hungerford, England and managed to kill 16 people and wound 14 before committing suicide. Shortly thereafter, the English government banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Now it is extremely hard (if not impossible) to get a gun permit in the UK.

Similarly, Australian Martin Bryant went on a shooting rampage in Port Arthur in Tasmania and killed 35 people and wounded 21 others. Much like the massacre in the UK, the Australian government moved swiftly to ban firearms. It is extremely difficult to get a firearms license in Australia.

Right to defend

You’d think that both places would have better crime statistics now that they’ve managed to ban firearms, right? You’d be wrong. Compared to the US, both countries have rising violent crime and murder rates. What’s worse is that the UK publication, The Guardian, has reported that firearms are easily obtainable in major UK cities. And because the UK government has taken guns away from the normal citizenry, law-abiding citizens no longer have weapons to defend themselves with.

In Australia, the banning of guns has not stopped massacres, at all. Robert Paul Long managed to kill 15 backpackers when he lit a fire in the Childers Palace Backpackers Hostel, while Thomas Graham Towle killed 5 teen pedestrians with his car and injured 8 more. Even without guns, sick, twisted people will find a way to kill. What’s even more sickening is that even with the gun ban in place, crime in Australia has exponentially increased, with armed robberies up 69%, assaults with guns up 28%, gun murders up 19% and home invasions up 21%.

Another interesting statistic you need to hear about is that since the implementation of the gun bans in both countries, the incident of rape has jumped higher compared to say, in the US. In 2007, UK women were twice as likely to get raped compared to an American. In Australia, the number jumps to 3 times as likely.

So what does this all mean?

Tighter gun control doesn’t mean you are taking gun violence out of the equation. The only thing you are taking away is the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. If anyone thinks that criminals use duly registered firearms in the commission of their crimes, then they’re fools. Criminals use smuggled and stolen firearms for their crimes. They couldn’t care less about laws – that’s the reason they ARE criminals. If you take away the right of civilians to legally protect themselves with firearms, you are inviting criminals to do as they please, without fear.

I, much like you, grieve at the needless deaths of innocent people who died in the hands of the crazed gunman in Kawit, Cavite and the death of Nicole Ella due to a stray bullet fired by a callous soul who owned a gun. But banning guns is not the answer. If you take away guns, you are removing my right and the right of millions of other legal gun owners to defend ourselves if ever the time comes.

Why do I carry a gun? Because I can’t carry a policeman. – Rappler.com

John Nieves is a technology geek and writes reviews about games, gadgets and guns for Gadgets Magazine. When not in front of the PC playing with his friends, he can be found either playing airsoft with his buddies or practicing his skills on the range.