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From The Editor | Are You Scarier Than A Gang-Banger?

From The Editor | Are You Scarier Than A Gang-Banger?

It’s rare when those who oppose private firearm ownership actually say what they mean when talking about guns and gun owners. So it’s refreshing—albeit somewhat disturbing—when they remove their “I-support-the-Second-Amendment-but” filter and get brutally honest.

Such is the case with Tricia Bishop, deputy editorial page editor for the Baltimore Sun, who last week went on a tirade that went where few gun-ban advocates are willing to go. In her op-ed, Bishop declared her fear, not of violent criminals, but of law-abiding gun owners—everyday people like you and me who appreciate the Second Amendment and even regularly practice our right to keep and bear arms.

“I’m less afraid of the criminals wielding guns in Baltimore … than I am by those permitted gun owners,” Bishop wrote.

Such a proclamation seems strange at best, and if she really means it she is seriously misguided. With Baltimore setting a new murder record in 2015, writing a column in the local newspaper aimed at demeaning law-abiding gun owners seems illogical at best. Why fear those who follow all of the laws, use their guns wisely and take firearm safety quite seriously?

Does Bishop fear the single mom living in a dangerous neighborhood who owns a handgun to protect herself and her children? Does she fear the competitive shooter, who hones his skills regularly and heads to the range every other weekend to shoot a local USPSA match? Does she fear the deer hunter, who keeps a couple of rifles in his home so he and his son can head to the fields each fall in search of venison? Does she fear the single woman who has to walk through a dark parking garage each day when leaving work, so carries a handgun for protection from rapists and murderers? Does she fear the collector, who is proud of his dozen or so historical Winchester 1873s and Colt Single Action Army revolvers?I’m less afraid of the criminals wielding guns in Baltimore … than I am by those permitted gun owners.

While she doesn’t say for sure, apparently she considers all of these gun owners—and others—to be more dangerous than Baltimore gang-bangers shooting each other in the streets.

So what is Bishop’s answer to this fear of law-abiding gun owners and their guns, which she describes as, “whose chief purpose is to injure or kill, whether in self-defense or otherwise”?

You might be surprised.

“And so,” she writes, “as President Barack Obama announced plans this week to tighten background checks for gun buyers and increase gun tracking and research, I thought, that’s all well and good, but how about adding something immediately useful: a gun owner registry available to the public online—something like those for sex offenders.”

While Bishop is quick to point out she is not equating gun owners with sex offenders, in fact that’s exactly what she has done. “I want a searchable database I can consult to find out whether my kid can have a play date at your house,” she writes.

Federal law prohibiting gun registration aside, if such a searchable database were in place, there’s no doubt that her child wouldn’t be allowed to play at my house. And that’s a shame: We love kids, and since we live on an acreage, there’s tons of safe fun to be had here. And Bishop wouldn’t have to worry about her child’s safety at all: Our guns are secured where there’s no way her child would be exposed to any danger.

Fact is, I don’t hate or even dislike Bishop for her fear of legal gun owners, or even for advocating that law-abiding gun owners be treated like sex offenders. It’s a free country, and she’s well within her rights to express her opinion.

I just wish she had a law-abiding gun owner in her life that could take her under his or her wing and show her that firearms are simply tools, which can be used properly for good, or misused if in the wrong hands. Gaining that understanding would likely help her move forward with much less fear in her life.