Guns are not toys
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 00:11
We support the 2nd Amendment, but there is a time and a place for guns. Courthouses, high schools and university campuses are among the places guns do not belong.
The Oregon University System and the State Board of Higher Education issued a new gun policy in March. No one may possess a firearm in any Oregon State University grounds. This, we fully support.
Guns are not toys. Sure, there are plenty of corporations that exploit the idea — NERF guns, airsoft guns or squirt guns — but guns are not toys. Sometimes, through this exploitation, innocent people are put in dangerous situations.
In 2007, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that police shot and killed a 12-year-old boy because they mistook his toy handgun for a real one.
This tragic reality is only a stepping stone toward the issue of gun violence. According to FBI crime statistics, 67.5 percent of all murders were a result of firearms. In Oregon, 36 of 78 — or 46.5 percent — of murders were a result of firearms in 2010.
We can’t imagine why anyone would actually need to own an AK-47 — or other superfluous firearm — aside from simply wanting it because they’re “cool.” There are reasons for having a gun, and “cool” is not one of them. Self-defense and hunting — the kind where you kill for the meat on the bone, not sport — are among the situations we find suitable for owning a weapon.
According to the Just Facts webpage, with the most recent data being from 2010, 47 to 53 million households have a gun. Sixty-seven percent of gun owners have their gun for protection.
Fortunately, the FBI crime statistics also reported the United States has seen a 4 percent decrease in overall gun violence from 2009 to 2010. Even better, Oregon has seen a 12 percent decrease in overall gun violence.
So the question is, as crime rates go down, does the public still feel the need to own a gun for the number one reason, self protection?
Just in case you do, we caution against frivolously pointing your weapon at anyone. According to ORS 166.190, anyone who, “with or without malice, purposely points or aims any loaded or empty pistol, gun, revolver or other firearm, at or toward any other person within range of the firearm, except in self-defense, shall be fined upon conviction.”
Again, guns are not toys.
Released in a timely warning, 25-year-old Daniel T. Meyer was caught trespassing in Rogers Hall on Oct. 11 with a toy gun. Four weeks later, on Nov. 8, Corvallis police arrested Meyer for unlawful entry of a motor vehicle. Meyer was also found in lawful possession of a 9 mm Ruger handgun.
Officials are cautioning against contacting Meyer if you see him.
Editorials serve as means for Barometer editors to offer commentary and opinions on issues both global and local, grand in scale or diminutive. The views expressed here are a reflection of the editorial board’s majority.