Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Messy Side of Second Amendment Rights

A citizen who wasn't ready for gun ownership...

Most Kentuckians are strong supporters of Second Amendment rights, and I agree that citizens should have the right to own weapons. We have a few guns ourselves. I've always thought that an occupying force would have a terrible time subduing Kentucky, given the armed populace, the love of freedom, and the challenging terrain.

Unfortunately, a very sloppy exercise of Second Amendment rights happened in Hopkinsville last Friday. It was chilling to read about it, but on the other hand, the story has some almost-comical elements.

According to Hopkinsville's newspaper, the Kentucky New Era, Matthew Ashley Hicks went to WalMart and bought some ammunition for his brand-new Jennings 9mm handgun. Then he walked out of WalMart with his purchase and got into his vehicle,

Sitting in the driver's seat of his Mercury Mountaineer in front of the WalMart garden center, Hicks began loading the gun. In the process, he fired it three times.

The first bullet went into the steering wheel. The second bullet went through the driver's side window and the front tire of a nearby car. Glass from the shattered window sprayed onto the hood of another vehicle parked nearby. Police hadn't located the third bullet at the time the report was prepared for the newspaper. The story includes a photo of a policeman on his hands and knees, inspecting the bullet hole in the flat tire.

Luckily, no one was injured. I'm surprised that Hopkinsville police can't think of anything to charge Hicks with, but the newspaper reports that no charges will be filed. Hicks' age and address were not available at the time the story was written.

Dennis and I were leaving WalMart at about the time all this was happening -- 2:30 p.m. on Friday . We were getting groceries for a Boy Scout campout. We didn't hear the gunshots. Fortunately we had parked on the other end of the parking lot!

I don't want you to think that incidents like this happen often in Hopkinsville's parking lots. The majority of our gun-owning citizens are careful, steady, responsible folks who, I'm sure, could hardly believe this story!

(Source: "Accidental gunfire damages 3 vehicles in Wal-Mart parking lot," from staff reports, Kentucky New Era, published in Hopkinsville, KY on Saturday, September 15, 2007.)

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limey said...

To drive a car you have to pass a proficency test. I think there should be at least some basic safety test for anyone wanting to own a firearm, as you read about accidental injuries far too often (fortunately not in this case).

Genevieve said...

Gun safety classes are a great idea. Personally, I wouldn't object to some sort of mandatory class about the safe handling a gun when you buy it. As a minimum, maybe you should have to watch a manufacturer's video about how to safely load and shoot it.

On the other hand, people who are worried about the erosion of the Second Amendment say that mandates and restrictions make gun ownership a privilege instead of a right. They're worried that every restriction dilutes the right.

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