I haven’t had much interest in writing lately but every now and then the urge hits me – this is one of those times. I recently came a across an advice column written by Amy Dickinson that I simply can’t not comment on.
What caught my eye was this letter and reply on firearms:
Dear Amy: This week, I discovered that my intelligent, hard-working, responsible 24-year-old daughter (who lives with me) is a gun owner! And it’s not a normal gun, either — it is a 40-caliber semi-automatic, and she has hollow-point bullets to go with it.
Amy, this is the kind of weapon a criminal would possess! She says it is for emergencies. There have only been two home invasions in our neighborhood in the last 11 years.
I’ve given her three choices: She can either give her weapon to me, sell it or move out in three weeks.
I love my daughter and would be so sad for her to move into a place that she would hardly be able to afford, but now I have to lock my bedroom door at night because I don’t know what she’s going to do.
Now she says that I don’t trust her, and is barely speaking to me. How can I convince her to stop endangering us?
Dear Dumbfounded: According to my research, possessing hollow-point bullets is illegal in 11 states; is it legal in your state to own this sort of exploding ammunition?
In a report published in 2015, researchers at the University of Chicago found that 31 percent of households reported having a firearm in 2014, down from about 48 percent in 1980.
According to this study, there are more guns, but concentrated in fewer households. Why must your household be one of them?
Where did your daughter get this weapon and ammunition? Has she received any safety training or certification? (Accidental gun death is a substantial risk of owning a gun.) Is she perhaps engaged in another activity outside of your household that exposes her to increased risks and makes her believe she needs to have a weapon?
I have news for you: A locked bedroom door is no match for this weaponry; as I write this, just five days ago a father in South Carolina tragically shot and killed his own 23-year-old daughter through a closed door — when he mistook her for an intruder.
I agree with your ultimatum; I also weep that there is yet another (likely unsafe) gun owner in this country.
Ok I’m not really sure where to start, there so many false assumptions and flat out falsehoods here it’s hard to keep track of them.
First hollow-point bullets do not explode; they expand or mushroom when they hit something. They are widely used by law enforcement and civilian shooters alike because their expansion and controlled penetration greatly reduce the risk of over penetration that could injure innocent bystanders.
Ms. Dickinson further claims that hollow-point ammunition is banned in 11 states.
This is completely false – only one state – New Jersey – and one city – San Francisco – specifically prohibit that possession hollow-point ammunition by civilians. And New Jersey and California have both long treated gun owners as second class citizens and the Second Amendment like the bastard stepchild of the Bill of Rights.
Second a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol is a perfectly normal gun. In fact semi-automatic pistols are the most popular firearms in America today.
Although their popularity has waned a bit in recent years .40 caliber semi-automatic pistols are still widely used by law enforcement agencies and civilian shooters alike. Millions of law abiding Americans use them every day for everything from self-defense, to target shooting and competition. Just because Dumbfounded Father’s daughter owns .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol doesn’t mean she’s involved in anything nefarious. I can’t find any data that shows .40 caliber pistols are especially popular with criminals.
As an aside .40 caliber semi-automatic pistols were, until fairly recently, standard issue for the FBI.
Third Ms. Dickinson claims “Accidental gun death is a substantial risk of owning a gun.”
I looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics which shows otherwise. According to the CDC there were a total of 38,658 firearms related deaths in the United States in 2016. Of those, just 495, were the result of the accidental discharge of a firearm. Compare that with drowning, 3,786 deaths, or motor vehicle accidents, 40,327 deaths. Simply put, statistically, the swimming pool in your backyard or the car in your garage is more likely to kill you than a gun in your home. Hell, you’re more likely kill yourself by falling in the tub or falling down the stairs than by accidently shooting yourself (falls caused 34,673 deaths in 2016).
Fourth Ms. Dickinson assumes that Dumbfounded Father’s daughter is likely an unsafe gun owner. Why? What evidence does she have to support that conclusion?
Dumbfounded Father describes his daughter as “intelligent, hard-working and responsible” so I think it’s safe to assume she bought her gun legally from a licensed dealer. Like most people do. That means she would have undergone a background check (which she had to passed) in order to take possession of the firearm.
And if she’s as “intelligent, hard-working and responsible” as Dumbfounded Father claims she more than likely would have sought training. Once again that’s what “intelligent, hard-working and responsible” gun owers do.
The dealer she bought her gun from more than likely offered her training or refered her to a local training class. At the very they least would have shown her how to safely load and unload her pistol. Which is also something that’s covered in the instruction manual that came with the firearm. Even if she bought the pistol used from a private party she could have easily downloaded the manual from the manufactures web site.
Firearms training classes aren’t difficult to find either – there are literally thousands of NRA certified trainers all over the United States. They even offer online classes. Just go to https://firearmtraining.nra.org/ or https://onlinetraining.nra.org/ to find out more.
Lastly let’s talk about Dumbfounded Father’s ultimatum to his daughter.
- Why would she give her gun to father? What training does he have? Judging the tone of his letter I doubt he has any.
- Why is he suddenly locking his bedroom out of fear of what his daughter may do? Does she have a history of violent behavior or mental illness that makes her a danger to herself or others? If she does, she mostly certainly should not have a firearm. But assuming she’s the “intelligent, hard-working and responsible” person he says she is I don’t know what he’s afraid of.
The simple truth is, in this country law abiding Americans have a God given, constitutionally protected right to own and use firearms for lawful purposes.
Frankly, I think Dumbfounded Father is allowing his irrational fear of firearms cloud his judgement. DF needs to think long and hard about what’s more important to him: his relationship with daughter or his fear of guns. As it is his he risks allienating his daughter and permenantely damaging their relationship.
My advice for Dumbfounded Father, take a firearms training class with your daughter. Go to the range with her, learn to shoot with her. She’ll probably surprise you!
And it’s actually a lot of fun and will probably bring the two of you closer together.