GUNS AND KIDS: PREVENTING TRAGEDIES
By Geoff Kashdan,Co-Chair of the LWVPBC Gun Safety Committee
It is estimated that there is almost one gun for every person living in the United States. Now consider that there are about 330,000,000 citizens in our country and you have an astounding fact: there are significantly more than 300 million guns in private hands in the U.S.A.! This abundance of guns has the tragic effect of an abundance of gun fatalities – 90 per day, more than 33,000 each year! No other country on the planet has statistics like these, gun ownership and gun fatalities per 100,000. And these statistics do not encompass the problem because they do not include the even larger number of people who are injured by the discharge of the ubiquitous gun. The costs in human lives and suffering are astronomical! If this human toll was from disease and not guns, we would be calling for extraordinary measures to control what would be called an epidemic, a medical crises. This is a medical crises!
After a thorough study, the LWVPBC has taken positions on this critical issue in the form of supporting sensible gun legislation in Florida.
The League of Women Voters opposes:
1. Campus Carry laws that would allow guns to be carried on state college campuses by anyone holding a concealed weapon permit and everywhere that person has a legal right to be . Campus Carry laws would be imposed on all state colleges regardless of the positions of the administrations of those colleges. Concealed carry means that guns must be hidden by some item of clothing.
2. Open Carry laws that would allow anyone with a concealed weapon permit to openly carry a gun anywhere that a person has a legal right to be. Open carry means that it would be permissible to carry a firearm without the need to conceal its presence. The visuals of guns on someone’s hips is a throwback to the days of vigilante justice in some parts of the Old West.
3. Laws that allow people to carry arms without a permit. “Without a permit” means no requirement for any mode of accountability for skill sets and knowledge for a person to be armed.
4. Laws that allow K-12 school staff to carry guns on school grounds.
5. Laws that expand Stand Your Ground to shift the burden of proof from the shooter to the prosecutor. In as the prosecutor must prove a negative, i.e. that shooter did not fear for his/her life in the confrontation leading to the incident, these laws would provide a virtual “get out of jail” card for almost everyone who shoots someone.