The Daily Courier Logo
Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
12:24 AM Wed, Sept. 19th

Friday Catchall: Take action on guns, family, training

Courier file photo

The Friday Catchall (focusing on one important topic this time):

• GUNS — When considering gun control, folks in the Prescott area have a lot to say. In response to our editorial Thursday, “Let’s talk about solutions to gun violence,” I have received more than two dozen emails and phone calls so far — all with ideas and contributing to the discussion.

Lawrence Hinkle wrote that law enforcement needs to do its job — from the deputy who did not enter the Parkland, Florida, high school on the day of the shooting there, I would add, to the FBI needing to act on tips it receives.

“If the Sheriff’s Reserve deputy had done his job many lives would have been saved,” he stated. “Let’s point the finger not at guns and the NRA, but at the failure of (law enforcement).”

My added thoughts: Unfortunately, that was the case with Florida; I cannot say that for all school shootings and all law enforcement though.

A different take came from Susan Banjavcic: “Encourage families to devote time together, to pick an idea out of a hat to do one afternoon each week. Families need to eat together at least once a day, without cell phones present. Eliminate violent video games for kids. Encourage outdoor play, volunteering in the community.”

She added that the state needs to restore funding to schools and provide it “so that they may all pass safety requirements which need to be upgraded now, obviously.” And, we should “increase social worker and crisis staff in schools. Increase pay for teachers. Eliminate the chance for someone to walk into a school classroom with harm in mind.”

My take: I agree that a solid home life and changes at, for and in the schools would make a huge difference. Thank you.

Another note came from John Maher, who stated: “To obtain a license to operate an automobile, 31 of 50 U.S. states require formal driver’s education as proof to apply for a driver’s license. All states require practical testing of auto operation to demonstrate competency. Buying a gun of any kind should require state licensing including a thorough background check and a reasonable waiting period, as well as formal state-sanctioned training in the use of firearms.”

And I say: Unfortunately, John, Arizona does little of that. The training is available, and you can apply for permits, such as concealed-carry – but it is not required.

“I believe most Americans are not looking to ban guns or take away anybody’s weapons,” Maher stated, adding that “yes, there is a contingent that espouses this, but they’re a small minority. … I’ve heard the argument that driving a car is a privilege and owning a gun is a constitutional right. My answer: Horse-hockey.”

My conclusion: As for banning guns, that minority is certainly vocal, John. And, plenty of people disagree with you on the “rights” issue.

Watch for more on this issue. In the meantime, chime in by emailing editors@prescottaz.com and/or visit dCourier.com to take part in our poll: Are stricter gun laws the answer? (http://dcourier.com/polls)

• BUSINESS – You would think it would be difficult for businesses to go along with gun control. Not necessarily so. Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods have announced immediate steps to limit or eliminate sales of rifles or assault-style weapons.

Walmart has raised its minimum age to 21 for all of these purchases; echoing but ahead of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s proposed legislation. And, Dick’s has banned (call it: stopped) sales of assault-style rifles in its stores.

A different tack came from Gunsite Academy, Inc. in Paulden, the oldest privately owned and one of the leading shooting schools in the world, said Sheriff Ken P. Campbell (Ret.), who is COO of Gunsite. They are offering “free training to those who vote for policy in our schools in the use of firearms. … That is, we are offering a $1,800 scholarship to ‘educate the educators’ so they can make better decisions as to training and arming our school staff. It is a full (40-plus hours) course, including night shooting, live fire house clearing and outdoor simulators (decision making).”

Nice. It’s not all about banning weapons, but looking for solutions that can make a difference.

Have a great week; stay safe out there.

Community Editor Tim Wiederaenders is the senior editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or twieds@prescottaz.com.