OPINION – The gun people are getting all hot and bothered again, fabricating yet another instance of persecution.
They are getting vocal about Second Amendment rights in regards to a shooting range in Washington City next door to the Erin Kimball Memorial Foundation’s shelter for battered women.
The foundation, which bought the property and is locked into staying there for at least five years because of a grant it received to provide services and a facility, is upset that the city council approved a permit for a shooting range next door to the facility. It has gone to court to have the permit overturned.
Quite frankly, I agree with the foundation. And, according to reports I have read, so does former Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith.
The gun crowd, however, sees this as an affront to its right to bear arms.
In fact, I saw a post to a news story we ran on the STGnews website where somebody claims that had somebody with a gun been present when Erin Kimball and her two children were murdered by her abusive husband 30 years ago, which is why her family created the foundation, the outcome would have been different.
Sorry, that is simply ludicrous.
But, let’s not get into the vagaries of guns, who should or shouldn’t own them, or how some cowboy with a quick-draw mentality can or cannot save the innocents of the world by dropping the hammer on some scumbag. That argument is irrelevant to the matter at hand and, in all honesty, I won’t change your opinion and you won’t change mine.
The error here was made by the Washington City Council, which approved the permit for Dixie GunWorx to open the gun range there.
Let’s be fair and honest. We need shooting ranges. We need good shooting instructors. We need every bit of training we can manage so those who choose to own and operate firearms do so in the safest manner possible. We need places where gun owners can become familiar with handling their weapons without shooting up the landscape and endangering innocent people who may be out enjoying that beautiful landscape. I’ve been to a lot of places where people gather to shoot and, in a word, they are disgusting trash heaps where people bring stuff they would like to shoot up, riddle it with bullets, then leave it. It is irresponsible. Just as irresponsible as the decision by the city council.
Every indoor gun range I have been to has been located in either industrial or commercially zoned areas, far from homes.
Then, there is the human factor to consider.
We have a wonderful organization that is offering shelter to a segment of the population that is vastly underserved and ignored.
Domestic violence is the dirty little secret nobody cares to air in public so it often goes unreported. That does not lessen the brutality and trauma experienced by the women, children and, yes, sometimes, men who are on the receiving end. The penalties for domestic abuse are a joke and the judges often not capable of fully understanding the lifetime scars these victims must bear, the tears they shed forever.
Some of these women are battered physically, some emotionally, some sexually, some at gunpoint. There is a trauma that will never be alleviated, a threat that remains etched within their hearts and brains, robbing them of the comfort of security within their relationships and diminishing self-esteem.
Violence, contrary to popular and political belief, is never the answer in a troubled relationship, is abhorrent, and should be unacceptable in civilized society.
But, instead, it is held behind closed doors, hushed up.
Experts will tell you that the instances of unreported domestic abuse are outrageous because women are fearful of what would happen if they called the authorities, that they have been beaten down so much – physically and mentally – that they truly believe they are responsible for the violent outbursts, that somehow it is their fault. Nothing could be further from the truth.
But, these concepts are lost on people like the Washington City Council members who allowed this permit to go through without realizing the impact it would have on the shelter and the people who seek services there.
This isn’t about gun rights and even if, by some slim congruence it was, always remember that your rights end the moment they endanger another or interfere with their life.
I don’t know the folks at Dixie GunWorx. I would guess, however, that they are good, honest, upstanding business people who are trying to provide a valuable and needed service to the community. And, I would bet a bottom dollar they were not looking for this controversy when they went before the council for their permit.
But, somebody has to think things through, and that is the council’s job.
More importantly, somebody has to stand for these women and children.
It was a dumb move on the part of the council and an even dumber move to defend the decision by arguing that they are protecting the Second Amendment.
Our women and children are more important than that.
No bad days!
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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