Let’s Teach Philly Kids to Use Guns — Properly

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Over the weekend, a 2-year-old boy in West Philadelphia shot and killed his 11-year-old sister. The gun —a .357 Magnum — had been stored on top of a fridge; according to reports it was then moved to a master bedroom in the family home. One way or another, it ended up in the toddler’s hands. He fired it, of course. Now both of their lives are destroyed.

It’s a stupid, senseless tragedy. It never should’ve happened. We can all agree on this, right?

So I want to offer a proposal I believe might well reduce the number of gun deaths in Philadelphia. It’s also a provocative proposal. I suspect our gun debate is too polarized for it to become reality, at least for now. But I suspect it would reduce the number of stupid accidents we see — and, by teaching respect for the deadly power of firearms, might even lead to better behavior overall among this city’s criminal elements.

This proposal: Every junior-high student in Philadelphia public schools should take a gun-safety class.

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One Against the Gun

Sandy Hingston One Against The Gun Pins

Photograph By Claudia Gavin

It seemed like such a reasonable argument.

“The fact is,” the column on the back page of the December issue of Guns & Ammo magazine stated, “all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be. Freedom of speech is regulated. You cannot falsely and deliberately shout, ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater. Freedom of religion is regulated. A church cannot practice human sacrifice.”

But longtime G&A contributor Dick Metcalf went and touched the third rail:

“The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads, ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ Note carefully: Those last four words say ‘shall not be infringed.’ They do not say ‘shall not be regulated.’ ‘Well regulated’ is, in fact, the initial criterion of the amendment itself.” Metcalf then laid out an argument for responsible gun use, and for the United States to enact regulations requiring adequate training for those who own guns.

Within a week, in response to a torrent of social-media hatred from readers, Guns & Ammo editor Jim Bequette abjectly apologized for running the piece, saying, “I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.” He then announced that he had fired Metcalf and that he himself had resigned, effective immediately.
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