Sometimes I think this site should have one of those little counters like you see in the workplace, only instead of listing the number of days since a workplace injury it should be “number of days since an Oklahoma politician made national headlines for saying something dumb.” Enter Broken Arrow Republican Nathan Dahm.
Last week Dahm went on Piers Morgan’s popular CNN show British Guy Interrupts People to argue with Morgan about gun control. Dahm has introduced a bill that would get rid of all basically all licensing requirements including background checks for mental illness and criminal records. His reasoning is that all gun violence is caused by sin, and not by guns.
From Tulsa World:
“Sin nature in mankind” causes gun violence, not the guns themselves or mental illness, state Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, told combative CNN commentator Piers Morgan on Monday night.
Dahm appeared on Morgan’s program in connection with a bill Dahm introduced for the upcoming legislative session.
The legislation is called the “Piers Morgan Act,” a dig at Morgan’s outspoken criticism of the United States’ relatively lax gun laws.
Dahm’s bill essentially would eliminate all handgun licensing requirements in Oklahoma. Dahm said he opposes all background checks, including those for mental illness and criminal records, as unconstitutional….
“If the key issue in gun deaths is not the guns and it’s not mental health, what is it?” Morgan asked.
“It is the sin nature of mankind,” replied Dahm. “It’s that somebody is willing to take someone else’s life.”
I don’t know what to say other than that is just objectively not true. Some gun violence is caused by sin, sure, but some gun violence is the result of other things, like mental illness. Or something else entirely.
Here are just a handful of the shootings that took place in Oklahoma in 2013. Read them carefully, because contrary to what Senator Dahm claims, it doesn’t appear that anyone was willing to take someone else’s life.
Rocky Point — According to authorities, a woman was wounded when a gun accidentally discharged inside the residence.
Tulsa — Cheyenne Monique Cunningham, 22, told police that her boyfriend, DeAndre Wilson, 22, had recently purchased a gun and wanted to show her how to use it, Solomon said. The small semi-automatic weapon accidentally fired, striking Wilson once in the stomach, police said.
Chickasha — “Bingaman began to spin the gun on his finger, playing around when the gun fired,” said Hendrix. “The bullet entered the top right of his head bouncing off the skull and exiting from the top of his head.”
Tulsa — The victim’s friend, a 16-year-old who thought the weapon was not functional, tossed the gun to the victim, and the gun fired when it struck the floor, they told Tulsa police.
A Bartlesville gun shop — “The victim had taken a pre-1950 .22 revolver in to have it looked at, and it accidentally went off and shot the customer in the groin.”
Milton — “At this point, I don’t believe there was any foul play in her death,” Seale said. “It looks like maybe the gun hit the floor and just went off or that sort of thing.”
Jay — Gardner and James were playing with a small handgun, passing it back and forth and twirling it “cowboy style” as they cruised down New Life Ranch Road between Colcord and West Siloam Springs, Wells said. Gardner was playing with the gun when it discharged, and the bullet passed through the front seat into the back of James, he said.
Edmond — Today at the Edmond Police Department firing range there was an accidental discharge of a gun. The accident resulted in a minor injury to one of the officers. The officer was treated and released from Integris Hospital with a “burn” wound on the leg. At the time of the incident there were eight officers and two instructors conducting firearms training. There was another accidental shooting at this facility January of this year.
Midwest City — …she was getting ready for a birthday party around 5 p.m. Saturday inside the Chestnut Square Apartments when an old rifle fell, discharged and shot Destanie. Her family says she was painting her nails with a friend at their neighbor’s apartment, who kept an old rifle from 1891 loaded on his dresser. Destanie’s friend said the rifle fell and hit the wall and shot Destanie.
Tahlequah — Chennault said it appears Lane was cleaning the handgun when it fired, and the bullet struck him in the chest.
Logan County — A teenager remains in the hospital after investigators said he stuck a gun in his mouth and it accidentally went off.
Spiro — LeFlore County Sheriff Rob Seale said Saylor Slone Martine and her 12-year-old sister were handling a .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun when one of the girls placed the gun on a counter. When the 15-year-old reached down to get her cell phone, Seale said the gun discharged.
Seale said the girl sustained life-threatening injuries and was immediately flown to a hospital in Tulsa where she later died.
Chickasha — The minor then grabbed the barrel of the gun, identified as a 12 gauge Mossberg 500A shotgun, when it went off hitting the minor in the right hand. -
Braggs — The Muskogee Phoenix reports that 54-year-old Steve Williams died at about 9 p.m. Thursday at his home in Greenleaf State Park. Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson says Williams was cleaning his gun when it went off.
Spencer — The sheriff’s office was doing some routine training when two deputies went inside a classroom. At some point, sheriff’s officials said, one of the deputies checked his weapon and it discharged.
Miami — “After thorough review of the OSBI’s reports, it would appear that the evidence is consistent with the fact that the gun accidentally discharged one time into the chest of Mr. Largent,” Ottawa County District Attorney Eddie Wyant said. “Therefore, the State of Oklahoma will not pursue any charges surrounding Mr. Largent’s death.”
Tulsa — At the scene, police discovered a 21-year-old male with a gunshot wound, the report said. Investigators said the men were playing with the .45-caliber assault rifle when it discharged.
You can find stories like these almost every day. These incidents are all always described in the passive voice, as if nothing caused them except for the gun just accidentally shooting out of nowhere. The weapon “accidentally fired.” The gun “just went off.” My personal “favorite” is the one talking about how there was no foul play, but “It looks like maybe the gun hit the floor and just went off or that sort of thing.” Oopsie daisy, the gun just happened to hit the floor and go off! You know, like happens sometimes!
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, we’re told time and time again. Until a person accidentally gets shot and then it’s all the gun’s fault.
I don’t think you’ll find sin as the cause for any of these. Basic human stupidity is a pretty common thing, but I don’t remember my Sunday School teacher telling me Thou Shalt Not Be Dumb was one of the Ten Commandments.
Teaching personal responsibility is great and preaching responsible gun ownership is all well and good, but these are guns and when mistakes are made with them people often die. I’m not sure what the entire answer to gun violence is, but eliminating all restrictions and trusting anyone that wants to use one to do so responsibly doesn’t seem like a great way to go. Neither does just shrugging your shoulders and saying, “Sin, man. What can you do about it?”
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