Good guys with guns can turn bad quickly

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It mystifies me that there are people like letter writer Dave Burdis who believe that our city would be safer with more guns (“Good Guys’ Guns,” Feb. 15). I wonder if his doctor would tell him that the cure for disease is more germs. He feels that with the increase in gun permits more good guys will have guns and that will somehow save him in a compromising situation. But he is assuming that only good guys are getting these permits. Is there a good guy-bad guy check box on the form?

It is so very rare that a good guy with a gun happens to be in a propitious place and time with the presence of mind to stop a bad guy. Much more commonly, well-intentioned or self-imagined “good guys” shoot other good guys. Incidents abound of good guys with guns becoming “bad guys” during uncontrolled moments of anger when they have run out of words.

The case of Curtis Reeves, a retired police office who shot a man texting in a movie theater, demonstrates all too vividly that even a person trained in use of firearms can lose control and become a bad guy in a most fleeting and regrettable instant.

Mr. Burdis buys into the specious National Rifle Association subterfuge that only good guys with guns can stop bad guys. But if a good guy were shooting back at a bad guy, a third guy hearing the shots might panic and start shooting without really being sure who the original shooter was, and a fourth would join in, and pretty soon there is chaos and bullets are flying everywhere. Afterward Mr. Burdis would probably say that the guns didn’t kill, the people did. Perhaps, but it is inarguable that without the guns there would have been no shootings.

Mr. Burdis states that “no amount of legislation will ever keep guns out of the hands of criminals.” True, the determined criminals will find a way, but why make it easy for them? In the meantime countless accidental and impetuous shootings by careless or angry good guys would be prevented with common-sense laws.

Sorry, Mr. Burdis, but more guns equals more killings, no way around it. After all that’s what they are designed to do.


First Published March 4, 2014 12:00 AM

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