The caliber of thoughtful conversation and debate on guns these days is as useful as an empty .22 cartridge.
On one side there are those folks who insist that the government is coming. They are the Paul Reveres who are shouting many mistake volume for substance warnings that we must heed. Failure to heed means that a government sponsored Gestapo-like force will move house to house and take our weapons away.
On the other side are those who truly believe in severe restrictions on gun ownership. This approach was tried in Washington, D.C. This case was clearly decided by the Supreme Court in 2008. A detailed account of this case, Heller vs. District of Columbia, is the basis of the book "Gun Fight" by Adam Winkler. Anyone engaged in talking about the gun issue should read this book. It is a window into the history of these issues and a balanced description of all views.
Bottom line: There is room for gun possession and gun control. They are not mutually exclusive.
In addition to encouraging a debate based on facts and not emotional hyperbole stoked up by various organizations or the president for that matter, I am astonished at the lack of discussion on alternate forms of personal self-defense other than having a gun. For our schools there has been some discussion of restricted entry, safe rooms, etc. However, all discussion on protecting your self at home seems to be focused on being armed.
If you are a responsible gun owner, your weapons are locked in a safe. If they are rifles or shotguns, the safe is tall, heavy and bolted to the floor. The idea is that a robber or your kids will not get your guns. For your handgun, the responsible gun owner will have the gun locked in a safe or a gunlock on the weapon. Finally the ammunition should be in a separate location.
So I pose this question: How quickly can the average person find the gun, unlock it or open the safe, get the ammo, load and then have a steady enough hand to accurately fire the weapon? My guess is way more than 15 to 30 seconds.
So may I make a simple non-gun suggestion? A can of hornet/wasp spray shoots a wide stream out 15 to 20 feet. One can in the bedroom, at the hall table by the front door and any other easily reached place. Time to initiate spray is faster than unlocking the handgun and less likely to put holes in walls or injure someone in the next room.
Arm yourself with mace or hornet spray and set the home alarm on stay.
As for the hunter, be kind to the deer, kill it with one shot or stay out of the woods.
The right to bear arms has been clearly settled. The Constitution also affirms sensible regulations for the good of society. It is not necessary to go ballistic to the left or the right. Aim down the middle. On most targets, the bull's eye is in the center.
LeFevre is a Modesto doctor and a former visiting editor. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.