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CEO: Guns, Guns, Guns, Guns and More Guns

Sep 3, 2019, 16:25 PM by Chris Coker

Readers Note: I ask you to read the whole piece before you form an opinion about what I am saying. Then, feel free to judge, share and debate with each other.

I am a proponent of the Second Amendment — but what are the limits?  

I know about guns. I was a policeman. The difference between me and most of you is that I am highly trained, and I keep in practice. Right now, in this country, there are 329 million people and about 390 million guns. There are approximately 17 million concealed carry permits in the United States, and in Colorado, there are more 388,646 concealed carry permits that are active. In the US, 14 states do not require a permit at all to carry. 

All of this means there is more than one gun per every adult, and a decent percentage of adults do not need a permit to carry a concealed firearm. 

Gun that is all twisted up

So what?  

The numbers around guns are not worth arguing about, other than to point out that there are so many guns in the U.S. that the horse is literally out of the barn. The questions we need to ask ourselves are: What is reasonable and acceptable gun policy? What is the uncomfortable medium that makes a difference in people dying but also preserves our constitutional rights?  Just ignoring this discussion is not OK, and being staunchly committed to either extreme is not OK. 

We are an intelligent, articulate nation of educated individuals. We thrive on data, we need information. We need to decide what will help us curb the problem of gun violence because currently our thoughts and prayers aren’t cutting it!

We do not let habitually drunk drivers drive; they lose the right to a deadly machine once they cannot control their behavior. Driving is not a constitutional right, so the analogy breaks down there, but it is an example of how we have decided what is acceptable behavior and the consequences for failing to adhere to that behavior. We also addressed the issue of smoking in this country as well as highway safety, but we are going to draw the line with guns?  

And please, Red Dawn is not a realistic example of why we should not have any gun control.  

Here is what I am advocating for: research. Currently, there is a federal law in place that does not allow taxpayer dollars to study gun violence. This bill was enacted in 1996 and stripped the CDC funding for research into guns. Future presidents would ask for the CDC to research the issue, but this research did not occur because there was not a specific funding mandate to the CDC; no dollars, no research. 

Gun control versus gun rights

Why does the CDC have to do the research? I trust a lot of our universities as much as the CDC. The dollars needed are not ridiculous; it is millions, not tens of millions. With research, we can look at what actions would preserve our rights but at the same time save lives. That just makes "common sense," which is a phrase our Founding Fathers bandied about a lot.   

This is like someone being afraid to go to the doctor to see if they have cancer when they have a huge growth under their skin. You know something is obviously very wrong, but you cannot face hearing the words — even when your life is at stake. 

Instead of knowing the truth, knowing the solution, would you rather die? 

As they say, “Houston we have a problem.” 

After the Parkland shooting, 92% of Democrats, 59% of Republicans and 68% of Independents were in favor of stricter gun control, according to an NPR poll. However, as it relates to school shootings, there was significant disagreement on how to make schools safer, from armed teachers and metal detectors to in-school SWAT-style teams. 

Why the disparity in ideas? No data, no research, no understanding of the situation.  

The same goes for gun policy in the US; how do we create an effective and realistic policy on an issue that is a constitutional right without understanding the scope of the crisis? Is this a mental health issue? Is this a high-capacity magazine issue? Is this an assault rifle issue? Is this an issue of buying a gun at 18? Is this an issue of requiring proper storage? Is this a background check issue? Or do each of these represent a percentage of the problem? 

I am seriously asking the questions. 

We already regulate the gun industry, so we cannot hide behind an argument that it cannot be regulated. Go and try to buy a machine gun or a silencer without a permit. Permits are regulatory by nature.    

What I can say for certain is that this is a safety issue, and it is dividing our country. This is a constitutional right, and it needs to be protected, but our children and innocent bystanders need to be protected as well. Let’s please figure out what to do and act accordingly together as Americans, as parents and as good neighbors.

Let’s do the math, see the results and then have a conversation as adults — bi-partisan adults.  

CEO Chris CokerChris Coker
CEO/President
YMCA of Northern Colorado

 
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