The VIEW from here

Gun reference was ill-researched in column

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Last week when I made a reference to the gun control argument in my column, I apparently hadn’t researched all my facts properly.

And boy, did the readership let me know it.

The reference was in regard to Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot and nearly killed during an assassination attempt.

I said I thought it was wrong of Kelly, who testified in Colorado in favor of gun control, to go out and buy a semi-automatic pistol, an assault rifle and some high capacity magazines from a gun store the day after his testimony.

Had I researched further, I would have discovered Kelly bought the guns to make a point — about how easy it is for someone to go purchase firearms in this country — not because he wanted them for his personal use.

The rest of the story, as I understand it, was Kelly made comments regarding his purchase on Facebook while he was in the waiting period of the background check and the gun store owner caught wind of his motives. The store owner then decided to terminate Kelly’s request because he had only bought them to make a political statement.

Since I published my gaffe, I’ve heard from readers who said the column was sloppy, had misinformed the public and that I lacked “journalistic integrity.” The column was also criticized for touching on too many subjects and trying to paint them all with a broad brush.

Indeed, the column probably was one of those topics I should have approached differently, maybe sticking to one example of politicians overstepping their boundaries (like Mayor Bloomberg in New York and his crusade to ban everything bad for us from the shelves of the city’s stores) and stayed away from a complex, decisive issue like gun control.

Gun control is an issue I try to avoid, both in my column and in real life discussion. I can see arguments on both sides of the issue, but like most political hot topics in the U.S. it is one of those that can go to extremes.

For some people, a law banning all guns would be preferred, for others, exercising the right to bear arms means maintaining an arsenal.

I get some of the arguments on both sides, I just tend to think there is a place in the middle where the two could meet.

I don’t think it is an issue, however, that can be properly addressed when the nation is already in an uproar about the subject. It has to be looked at rationally and logically — and I don’t think either side of the issue right now possesses these qualities.

My reason for staying out of the quarrel is this: I don’t own a gun, but I also don’t believe we should ban them.

I think people kill people and guns are just a means of accomplishing this. I think owning a gun may be a right, but I think gun owners should have to show responsibility before they are granted a license.

Beyond that, I’m not saying much more to avoid setting off a bigger firestorm than I already have. Regarding last week’s column, I’m sorry my lack of research on the topic upset or offended readers — I’ll strive to do better next time.

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