Tuesday, March 31, 2009

After North Carolina Nursing Home Massacre That Killed 8, Arming Nurses Is NOT the Answer

When Robert Stewart barged into a North Carolina nursing home and started shooting elderly Alzheimer patients, local police officer Justin Garner went to work.  Garner confronted the well-armed intruder and told him to put his weapons down.  Stewart responded by shooting at Garner, hitting him with buckshot pellets in the leg and foot.  Despite his injury, Officer Garner managed to fire one round, hitting Stewart in the chest and ending the shooting spree that left eight people dead. 

Now that’s police work and we should all be grateful for the long hours Officer Garner put in training to do his job.  

But good police work is apparently not good enough for Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC), a local gun extremist group.  GRNC wants to arm nurses.

Armed nurses in an Alzheimer unit?  Really?

GRNC, and gun fanatics across the country, are seriously out of touch with reality.  The reality is shootings happen quickly.  They can start and end before anyone even realizes what is going on.  

The reality is that even highly trained police officers hit their intended targets less than 20% of the time.

The reality is that these highly stressful situations set off an array of involuntary physiological responses, including trembling hands, tunnel vision, loss of hearing and even loss of bowel control.  

The reality is that adding more guns to a shooting incident will lead to more chaos, more chance for innocent people to be hit and greater confusion for law enforcement in sorting out who the criminal is.

But GRNC doesn’t just want to arm nurses, they want to override the ability of private companies in North Carolina to regulate firearms as they see fit on their private property.  GRNC is currently supporting legislation that would force privately owned bars and restaurants to allow hidden, loaded guns.  

All across the country gun extremists are pushing this extreme agenda.  The goal of the gun lobby is to eliminate any restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons.  Current legislation includes: 

  •          a Montana bill to do away with the need to obtain a concealed weapons permit
  •      a New Mexico bill to allow concealed weapons in bars;
  •      an Arizona bill to force privately owned business to let workers keep guns in their cars; 
  •      a Texas bill that would give permission for college students to keep guns in their dorm and carry guns into the classroom. 

This is just a partial listing of bills being considered in state legislatures.  Unfortunately, there is no lack of legislators willing to sponsor and vote for these dangerous bills, despite the fact that the majority of Americans want tougher, not weaker, gun laws.  But as long as legislators continue to be bullied by gun extremists while the majority of Americans remain quiet, these laws will continue to be introduced and even passed. 

Do we really want to be so dependent upon the judgment of ordinary citizens as to when and where is the right time to use a concealed gun?