What in the world is happening in our community? Can’t we raise our children without fear of losing our loved ones to gun violence? Don’t we care? Where are the police, our elected officials?
Every morning I start the day reading the Herald to learn what has happened to our community during the night. Shootings, murders — such deaths are so common that they rarely make the front page of our newspapers unless they have shocking consequences on our community.
Just look at a recent Sunday’s Miami Herald. The heart wrenching story of 6-year-old King Carter caught between two fighting teens ended his life when his young body stopped a stray bullet. The story of his memorial service at New Birth Baptist Church would bring tears to the eyes of the toughest in Miami. Why must his family, why must our community, have to part with a young man with such a glowing future?
Just how common are shooting in Miami-Dade County? A child dies from gun shoot wounds almost every week in our county. That’s almost 52 deaths a year. Insane! Why do we accept it?
In the same edition telling of the King Carter funeral was a small article on page 3 of the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy while he and his buddy were playing with a gun —his parent’s gun? Such stories go on without end.
Buried on page 5 of the same edition is the story of two shooting at The Falls shopping center and Dadeland Mall. The shooting at The Falls occurred when two men got into a fight and a third man shot his gun to end the fight. The shooting at Dadeland involved a husband-wife argument when a detective fired a weapon trying to end the fight. Fortunately no one was hurt in the incidents.
The arguments for and against gun ownership are endless.
Must everyone qualify to buy a gun? Must gun shows be required to qualify a buyer before turning over the weapon? Should gun ownership be registered like an automobile? Should anyone possessing a concealed weapon permit be permitted to carry in a church, a government building, a local grocery store or on the street? Would prohibiting gun ownership in general leave weapons only in the hands of law enforcement and criminals?
Is the statement “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” true? What about our constitutional right to bear arms? Don’t we need an effective national system to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and those with a criminal history? Do hunters and home protectors really need an AK47 with the ability to fire hundreds of rounds a second? Arguments notwithstanding, I must admit that if someone can have a collection of cars shouldn’t they have the same right to own a gun collection?
These questions are tough to answer. They should be answered without the tactics of gun manufacturers and the NRA twisting legislators’ arms with tons of money to support political elections. Our elected officials have the capability to resolve these pressing legal questions — decisions that reflect their personal, independent opinions and their constituents’ opinions, not those of lobbyists representing special interest groups.
Lastly, a thank you and a thumbs up to Republican State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, of Miami, who is purported questioning the right to carry weapons on college campuses, in stores and on the streets of Florida as well as questioning the then proposed expansion of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Not easy for a Florida Republican senator, but right on for the citizens he represents. We need more elected officials in Tallahassee with his courage. Thank you, Senator.