A Liberal On Gun Safety
Written by Guest Article / Contributor , in Section Facts About Guns
By Elaine Wilson, a liberal gun owner
The Internet is afire this week with the news over a two-year-old shooting his mother with her own gun. In a tragic set of circumstances, the toddler found his mother’s “concealed” firearm, and in the mere moments that she left it unattended, picked it up and used it, hitting his mother squarely in the head.
Naturally, this once again sparks the debate over gun rights, how some see a nation of panic (in which “every” conservative believes they must carry a gun), and others see one of stupidity (in which “every” liberal believes that guns must be abolished).
Once again, neither side gets it right, but that doesn’t stop the assumptions from flying. Sadly, neither does it stop a two-year-old from finding a weapon that wasn’t meant for him.
Let’s look at the facts plainly for a moment. The mother, who her father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, describes to Huffington Post as “gun people,” was not as responsible with her gun as her family is claiming. Her weapon was inside a purse—which, as gun enthusiasts will insist is a bad idea to begin with in the case of it being grabbed by an attacker—and it was left unattended beside an inquisitive two-year-old. Rutledge insists that it was in a “zippered compartment,” but as any parent will tell you, zippers are never toddler-proof. This completely negates Rutledge’s angered statement that, “They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case.” Leaving a gun—most especially a loaded one—alone near a toddler for a fraction of a second is not responsible.
However, this seems lost on those who are just arguing about gun rights in general. Of course, the news has made the rounds all over Facebook, which tends to invite ignorant comments from angry, or merely uneducated souls.
“See,” one commenter wrote, “this is why we shouldn’t have guns.”
“Idiot liberals and their agenda against guns!” another one raged. And plenty of posters agreed.
This is where I stepped in. Because not every “idiot liberal” is against guns.
It’s a running joke amongst those I work with that my “liberal” views set me apart, and I respond accordingly. While it is all done in good humor, I find that online, there is nothing so black and while to many gun-rights activists than liberals and how they feel about guns. Nothing, it seems, elicits insults faster than an angry conservative, certain that me and my liberal cronies are going to take his guns away. So it surprises each of them when I step in to let them know that this liberal—a strong-minded woman—appreciates guns, and doesn’t believe that she needs to break into the houses of conservatives and take them away.
I have grown up with guns, and the main thing that I knew from the time I was old enough to understand was: “Always treat a gun as if it is loaded. ALWAYS.” I am currently taking lessons on shooting from a former police officer and working on my concealed weapons permit. As a victim of violent crimes, the thought of having one on me gives me a sense of peace. But none of this will work unless I properly learn to use my gun, practice the way in which I should use it, and always, always, always keep it out of the reach of my children. Otherwise, the sense of protection I wish to instill with a concealed firearm—like Veronica—will instead become a tragedy that is not worth a million thoughts of my own safety.
This is not a political issue—it’s one of safety and responsibility, and a momentary lapse of judgment that will tragically affect a family for the resist of their lives. Not all liberals hate guns. Not all conservatives hoard them like candy after a Halloween bash. Rather than throwing insults and ignorant judgments against one side or the other, let’s come together instead to learn how to keep our families safe—however each family chooses to do so.