Much has been made in local news recently about two Louisiana police officers who were shot and killed in the line of duty. The weekend before last near Lake Charles, State Trooper Steven Vincent was shot by a man who had a long criminal history when Trooper Vincent approached his vehicle which was stuck in a ditch. The trooper did not know that the suspect had also apparently killed his roommate earlier or that the vehicle was stolen.
This past Wednesday, right up the road from me, Sunset Police Cpl. Henry Nelson was killed when a domestic violence suspect took his service weapon from him. Earlier this month, a Shreveport officer was shot when responding to a call of a suspicious person. In New Orleans, two officers have been killed by suspects so far this year, both with guns.
In 2015 so far, 24 police officers have been intentionally killed with guns – 5 of those have been in Louisiana, more than any other state in the country by far. Yet, mention to almost anyone here in Louisiana that the state has some of the most lax gun laws and highest levels of poverty in the United States, and suddenly you’re an insensitive jerk. I know this because I pointed this out a number of times on my local station KATC-TV3, and was swarmed with angry comments claiming that only prayers and more guns would keep officers safe. It sounds crazy, but that seems to be the overwhelming mindset here in the murder capital of America – as well as throughout much of the country.
These people love to counter the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag with their retort of #CopsLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter, but these are just mostly empty excuses for the very real problem of violence in the United States, especially gun violence. As much as they claim to support law enforcement, they’re unwilling to do anything about the ridiculous number of deaths that happen every year thanks to guns. To much of America, changing their Facebook profile picture to honor a fallen officer and posting #CopsLivesMatter while saying that they’re praying is about as far as they’ll go.
There is no doubt about it, America has a very sick love affair with guns, and it doesn’t look like our culture will end it any time soon. As a gun enthusiast, this deeply concerns me. Since when does being a gun owner and supporter of the 2nd Amendment mean you have to oppose all checks and balances to make sure that the mentally disturbed and criminals don’t have easy access to firearms?
The sad fact is that the NRA and the gun lobby have opposed any reasonable regulations when it comes to guns. Can you imagine what the public outcry would be if the alcohol lobby pushed for open container laws and more lenient penalties for drunk drivers? Imagine if they claimed that alcoholics were to blame for fatal car accidents, but not easy access to convenience stores for habitual offenders? Using gun fanatic logic, we shouldn’t have laws preventing minors from buying alcohol because they’ll just find a way to get their hands on it anyhow.
If you say that you support law enforcement, then how about supporting universal background checks and stricter sentencing for crimes committed with a firearm? We can protect police officers and the public in general by having laws that do not restrict the rights of responsible gun owners, but do make it much harder for criminals and the violent mentally ill to obtain guns. Don’t let the gun lobby tell you otherwise.
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