Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

Lightfoot: People, not guns, are the problem

  • Updated
  • Comments
Jim Ross Lightfoot

Jim Ross Lightfoot

One of the significant concerns held by the founders of our country was that the government not be allowed to get too big. Our system of government is constructed in such a fashion the people are in charge, not the elected politicians. The politicians are elected to do the will of the people.

The Second Amendment provides that citizens can freely possess firearms. The rationale is for citizens to be able to protect themselves from a government that grows too large. The Second Amendment has been under assault for many years. As the government has grown larger and larger, the pressure in Congress to abolish the personal ownership of arms has been increasing year after year.

The primary argument being pushed to abolish the Second Amendment is focused on civilian gun violence in our streets. Is it a problem? Absolutely. Is removing firearms from the hands of citizens the answer? In my opinion, this is the absolute wrong approach to gun violence in the street. Disarming good, responsible gun owners only gives the upper hand to those bent on doing mayhem in our communities.

The focus on removing gun violence from the streets must be concentrated on the people committing the shootings.

In my 83 times riding this rock we call Earth around the sun, I will raise my right hand and swear, I have never witnessed a gun jumping off the table, running into the street and shooting someone.

A gun is manufactured from metal, plastic, wood and a few other inanimate materials. Some are engraved with beautiful designs. Others are plain and simple. However, to my knowledge, there isn’t a firearm in the U.S.A. that has a brain of its own, has the ability to jump out of its place of storage, run out into the street, pick out a specific individual and shoot them.

The person holding the firearm is the cause of the shooting incident. It is the person who picks up this inanimate object, aims it, squeezes the trigger. And the firearm discharges as it was designed to do once it is in the hands of a person.

It is the person, not the firearm, that causes the shooting to occur.

Knives kill, cars kill, trucks kill, sledgehammers kill, bricks kill and any one of a hundred other inanimate objects used in a manner that results in death.

Where is the cry to eliminate any of these objects? There is none. Nada. Zip. Only deafening silence.

What we need to hear is support for reforming our seriously broken welfare system. Look at the statistics. Where is the highest majority of shooting crimes occurring? In the government housing projects and inner-city ghettos. Interestingly, all were created by government programs to, supposedly, lift people out of poverty. In reality, many of these programs were developed to assure a particular block of votes. It has worked.

Let’s use some of the millions of dollars spent, or should I say wasted each day, to build an education system that works. A system that teaches the young how to survive in the adult business world. Pride in heritage must be emphasized. Law and order brought to the neighborhood. Respect for each other and for people they meet in the future.

Will this fix it overnight? Absolutely not. This project will require thousands of hours and extreme dedication from the people working it even to give it a glimmer of a chance to work. I suspect some will be surprised at the amount of help that will come from the gun owner community. Once it is established, this is not another congressional “feel good” project.

The gun is not at fault; blame for misuse lies with the person holding the firearm.

Train young people to respect firearms and use them properly. Train young people to respect each other. Train young people to take responsibility for their actions. Train young people on the proper way to use a checkbook. Train young people on how to succeed in a work environment. Train up each new generation to leave things in a better condition than they found them.

Will the shootings go away? After a time, yes. Once the young people learn to respect others and themselves, the guns will stay in the drawer and no longer jump out to shoot someone.

— Jim Ross Lightfoot, a resident of White Oak, is a retired member of the U.S. House of Representatives who served Iowa from 1985 to 1997. He is an occasional contributor to the Saturday Forum.

Today's Bible verse

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10