Lenny Pozner

Gun ViolenceArchive

Feb 19

A survey published in USA Today makes no sense. The question: “Should parents of kids with mental illness be allowed to have guns at home?” The answers: No 60.6% and Yes 39.4%. (The original source is Parents magazine and a place called the Child Mind Institute.).


The numbers are puzzling and the question itself is poorly worded. Nearly 40% of the people polled think it’s okay for kids with mental illnesses to be in homes with firearms? Did the risk of homicide, suicide, or accidental discharges not cross their minds as they were answering?


The scope of the question is flawed. Children are not often (accurately) diagnosed with Axis disorders until their late teens or early adulthood. Are all children diagnosed with conduct disorders dangerous to themselves or others? No. What are they really asking? Because your child has been diagnosed with a mental illness, you should or should not be allowed to own or possess a firearm? Or would a better question be, “If you own or possess a firearm and your child was ever diagnosed with a serious mental illness, which of the following gun protection devices would you use?” a. trigger lock, b. gun safe, c. all of the above, d. none of the above. The only answers are a, b, c, whether your kid is mentally ill or not. Unsecured firearms and children are like unsecured pornography and children; no matter how good you think your hiding place is in your home, they will find it.


A case from June 4, 2013 in San Diego illustrates this point as only tragedies can: a man’s 9-year-old daughter was playing in the garage with a 10-year-old boy from her neighborhood. The girl’s 14-year old brother was supposed to be babysitting both kids but wasn’t. Somehow, the two young children got their hands on the man’s 9mm pistol. It discharged and killed the 10-year-old boy with a shot to his chest. San Diego Police have not said publicly who fired the gun. The gun’s owner turned himself into police and was charged with involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and criminal storage of a firearm.


The man’s attorney has said the police search warrant which identified the gun’s hidden location is wrong (insert usual gasp of shock here). SDPD said their investigation suggests the gun was stored in a plastic bin in the garage, but the attorney (who was not there at the time of the incident, of course), says both the gun and the ammunition clip were hidden separately and in an “inaccessible place.” Well, then how did those two devices come together to produce the accidental but avoidable death of a child? While it’s unlikely both children possessed huge magnets, which they waved around the house and were able to attract the gun and the magazine, some act of extreme carelessness certainly occurred to put both into the hands of one child or the other at the moment when the firing pin fell on a live round.


Since the Devil is always in the details, the results of the investigation will tell the real truth. Fingerprints from the gun and photographs of the scene and the house may help. Certainly the prosecutor will use the test conclusions from the gunshot residue (GSR) swabs taken from both children’s hands to accurately determine not just who handled the gun but who fired it. Statements from the 9-year-old girl should help, as she is more likely to tell the truth at her age than any adult covering it up.


None of this will bring the dead boy back to life, of course, but if the man’s attorney can prove her client used all due diligence to keep his gun safe, then maybe he will not be convicted. But that’s a big if.


Some gun owners who believe their guns should be at the ready don’t always like impediments like trigger guards, trigger locks, gun safes, or storing their unloaded guns away from the ammunition. They say these devices or methods can be defeated and no approach guarantees complete safety. They don’t like any delay that keeps them from immediately protecting themselves or others with a loaded gun. Perhaps. But most kids don’t have safecracking or lockpicking skills. Trigger locks and gun safes offer the best line of defense for the accidental discharge of a firearm, or even its theft.


Most burglars know right where to look for a gun in a home they target: bedside nightstand, under the bed or mattress, in the bedroom closet, or in the bedroom dresser drawers. If your gun safe is locked, well-hidden, and heavy enough not to be carried out (bolting it to the floor helps), then your guns are mostly safe from misuse or theft. And even crooks who steal guns with trigger guards often destroy the gun when trying to cut the lock off.


Responsible gun owners, know that the debate about gun control in this country is complex and not possible to solve with pat yes/no, do/do not answers, platitudes, or yelling. Few issues in society create such strong feelings. But with 300 million people in the US owning an estimated 280 million guns, can’t we at least agree that an important part of gun ownership is gun safety?


A report on “60 Minutes” in the aftermath of the Newtown school shootings said that Adam Lanza’s mother had a gun safe for her collection of firearms. Unfortunately, first for her, and then for the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary, and our nation, it was kept in his bedroom and it was not locked.


This piece of information is shared by Leonard Pozner whose six-year-old son, Noah, was killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in December 2012. In 2014, Leonard Pozner founded the Honr Network, an organization through which he brings awareness to the cruelty and criminality of Hoaxer activity that perpetuates tragedies such as Sandy Hook and, if necessary, criminally and civilly prosecutes those who wittingly and publicly defame, harass, and emotionally abuse the victims of high-profile tragedies and their family members.


You can learn more about the organisation by visiting here: http://www.honr.com/

Dec 19

Another tragedy, and yet another baffling and muted response


Once again the debate on gun control was reignited following another mass shooting, this time at a bible meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which 9 people were slain by a lone gunman.


It was widely reported that the perpetrator had immersed himself in an ideology of white supremacy, with photos released of him wearing a jacket adorned with flags synonymous with apartheid and racial segregation. In the pictures he is also holding the Confederate flag, now viewed by many as a symbol of racial oppression with its historic links to slavery in the Deep South, and an outdated and offensive relic that should now be consigned to history, and of course a pistol.


America’s love affair with the gun continues to hold sway, a political hot potato, with the familiar arguments batted away by gun lobbyists to counter any dissenting voices to their modus operandi, and maintain the status quo, as if this was a ‘rite of passage’ that should not be denied them. Chastened and dismayed their opposition are left will little option but to back down.


Distrustful of their government, could it be that many gun owners in the USA prefer a more combative lifestyle on some profound level, and gun ownership is one extension of this? Protection against any perceived threats, real or imagined. Perhaps taking the view that if there are casualties then this is only to be expected, as if in the midst of a battle, and it is therefore the mission that matters most.


The USA has had countless opportunities to change course down the years and has to date failed to achieve this. One might even conclude that if the killings of 20 school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School couldn’t stimulate enough true desire for change then alas nothing will, and all the bickering and politicking will likely be in vain.


With the passage of time, one fears it will not be long before the shock and revulsion of this latest tragedy subsides, if it hasn’t already, and normal service is resumed. America has chosen its own destiny, and we are its powerless bystanders.

Also read here: Ways to Make Your Community Safe from Gun Violence by Eliezer Pozner