Saturday, August 25, 2012

It Doesn't Take Common Sense to Know...Concealed Weapons Won't Prevent Shootings in NYC

It Doesn't Take Common Sense to Know...Concealed Weapons Won't Prevent Shootings in NYC

Recently it seems there has been an inordinate amount of shootings in New York City. Most of which are drug related, and committed with illegal firearms.  Most recently the shootings in front of the Empire State Building have rejuvenated the conversations and arguments about guns in New York City. Both sides have very compelling arguements, one side fighting for stronger tighter regulation of guns hoping to mitigate gun violence in the five boroughs. The other side fighting for looser gun laws and restrictions citing that if there were people carrying guns capable of responding before the police, lives can be spared and the streets will be safer because criminals will think twice before using there gun.

My personal opinions change day to day. Seemingly they change from shooting to shooting but living in New York City it is very difficult to gauge what is really the best solution for ending gun violence in New York City. My personal opinion though, without being misunderstood as taking a liberal stance is that there should be strict gun laws within the five boroughs.

I am a defender of the second amendment. I think guns are cool, fun, and interesting. There is no doubt that they need to be respected and treated as a weapon that will without question severely injure or most likely kill you. But handled and treated properly firearms can be a very satisfying and fun hobby. Beyond that firearms are a tool. A very serious tool that again is to be treated with respect and can be invaluable in home defense, in many cases the last line of defense. Sometimes the police just can’t respond fast enough and when push comes to shove, no matter how fast the police can respond, I would feel much safer knowing that I can protect myself or my family if I need to.

Bringing it all back to the main issue, would the ability for civilians to carry concealed firearms prevent or mitigate loss of life in New York City. I say the answer is no. I am a commuter, I have been a commuter all my life and the people who yell and complain about anti gun legislation in New York City are not people who use public transportation for there daily commute. It is already an extremely volatile situation when you cram twelve million people into a moving underground tube, adding guns to the mix will not help anything. Now, when I say this most people come back and say “do you really believe that honest people with no criminal record or penchant for criminal activity will just start shooting people if they are allowed to carry guns?” The answer to that is undoubtedly yes. Its not that every person will start shooting up subway cars, railroad cars, or buses, but by introducing guns into the mix you increase the possibility of a person using that gun. Even if it only increases the shootings by one person, I believe that one person is one too many who has to die for the sake of making a statement about the second amendment. Everyone who has ever been stuck on the seven train, at Queensboro plaza in August, wearing a suit, has thought about how useful a gun would be. Anyone who has been stuck in grand central during a delay five hundred feet underground with people clawing at each other to be first to get on the 4,5,6, or 7 express has thought that a gun would be very useful. Is that satirical? Yes. In New York City would a few people more die a year if concealed carry permits were allowed? Yes.

That’s what people really don’t understand. New York City is a completely different animal. “Are you saying New York City is so much more different from any other major American city?” You bet your ass I am! Almost two million people live on a thirty three square mile island. On average you have six million people commuting to, through, and around Manhattan, just via subway, ferry, LIRR, Taxi, and Bus alone. Not to mention the people who commute into Manhattan with cars, bikes, and by foot. Almost no city in the world can compete with the congestion to size ratio Manhattan has. So it is my humble opinion that concealed carry laws would not help to mitigate gun violence, I believe it would make it worse. Not significantly worse, but when it comes to peoples lives, again I am not for increasing the death tally for the sake of protecting the second amendment.

How do I feel about Gun control and concealed carry laws throughout New York State? I am strong supporter of the second amendment. Throughout the rest of New York state I see no problem with people exercising there right to bear arms. I feel that concealed carry licensees are essential to maintain order in places in New York that are A) Not as populated as New York City and B) Not as well policed. I am for very loose gun control laws through out New York State. There is no doubt that when your nearest neighbor is three miles away and the average police response time can exceed a half hour personal protection is essential.

Just to be clear about my opinion, my argument for gun control in New York City is not strictly confined to concealed carry permits, but very strict gun control across the board. I know it may sound irrational, but I feel safer with just the police carrying guns on the streets of Manhattan knowing that no one can easily own a firearm in Manhattan. As opposed to everyone being able to buy guns and that someone can just whip one out at any minute. I know that can happen either way but I feel secure in knowing that, if you want to get a gun in New York it’s really freaking hard to get one. I most certainly lost a lot of people who are in favor of loosened gun control laws with that statement. The truth remains that there are just too many people in Manhattan, to say that concealed carry permits and loose gun laws are ok.

What about protection from illegal guns? Well the simple answer is, that is a fear that everyone who works, walks, lives, and visits Manhattan everyday has to live with. Many people make jokes and criticize the NYPD but the truth is that the NYPD is one of if not the best police forces in the United States, if not the world. With the exception of indiscretions in the past, racial issues, and other unfortunate public matters, the NYPD gets the job done. I always feel secure when I am in Manhattan knowing that there is a police car or officer on almost every corner, and an average response time of nearly four minutes. Anyone who has been in a car in Manhattan knows that a four minute response time is pretty damn impressive. Many people say that because of the color of my skin, lack of police record, and family ties to the NYPD I am biased. I say to hell with that, I know that if I am walking to Grand Central, Penn Station, waiting for a bus, or hailing a cab I know that because the police are so close the average criminal, will think twice before acting. So yes I trust the police not many people do, but when push comes to shove I think most people will choose a cop over your Joe Schmo, weekend pistol range shooter.
You can't deny videos and stories like this....

Fifth Ave in front of Empire State building during rush hour
A seventy one year old man thwarts a robbery or possibly worse because he was cognizant enough to know he, his wife, and others were in danger. Its videos and stories like that, which sometimes sway my opinion, but then shootings like the one in front of the Empire State building happen, I get drawn back to the fact that Manhattan is just so different, from a cyber cafĂ© in Florida. The man who owned the gun, in the Empire State building shooting owned it perfectly legally, and passed all of the mental tests put forth in New York to own a gun. Still he went out and shot nine people, killing two, and caused another person to get shot because an NYPD officer missed and hit a civilian. To anyone who wishes to use the argument that the police officer shot an innocent person, please consider the fact that fifth avenue in front of the Empire State building is one of the most congested areas of Manhattan because there are so many people looking up. That sounds like a joke but traffic both street and side walk slow down around the Empire State building because everyone is looking up. The fact that the police officer didn't accidentally shoot more people is incredible considering the area and time of day.

This is an issue that will continue and an constantly evolve. No one can be absolutely right when it comes to guns and other peoples lives. This is an issue that is not cut and dry. It has nothing to do with the second amendment and nothing to do with taking away peoples rights. It has everything to do with common sense. To me, as a person who enjoys, appreciates, and understands the power of firearms, I don't understand how anyone who has common sense can think that introducing guns into an environment as volatile and congested as New York City is a good idea. 

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