Yes Virginia, There is a Good Guy With a Gun
He's the one they call Dr. Feelgood
He's the one that makes ya feel alright
He's the one they call Dr. Feelgood
He's gonna be your Frankenstein
Having been dubbed by a reader long ago a Left-leaning Libertarian Lawyer, I make it no secret that I am a firm believer in the personal right to keep and bear arms. I believe that it is as sacred under the Constitution as the First Amendment right to free speech and the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.
I grew up with guns and was trained by my father on gun safety. Every gun is presumed to be loaded. You don’t point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to shoot and you don’t shoot at anything (other than targets) or anyone that you aren’t willing to kill.
As a boy, I hunted with Dad, Grand-Dad, uncles and friends in North Florida. We went target shooting in the pasture and rabbit and quail hunting in the fields and groves around my house. When not in use, the guns were cleaned and safely stowed, but a well-placed handgun was near enough if needed for home defense.
Thank goodness we never needed that handgun as I grew up in rural Lutz, but it’s a different world out there now, kiddies. I still have not had to draw or use a gun in self-defense or to defend my home, but in my practice I have represented many people who felt the need and, in most cases, it was a good thing for them that they had a gun to use.
I have a license to carry if I so desire and I’m a member of the NRA but I try to stay on a more even keel than some of their positions. I read articles and studies from proponents of gun control as well as those against more gun restrictions.
I got a kick out of the uproar caused by NRA President Wayne LaPierre’s comment, “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I remember all the commentators saying that’ll never happen.
And I watched with interest the attempts by the CDC and the medical community to weave gun control into their agenda to admonish patients that guns in the home are a hazard to your health and a public health issue. I just read one article saying that while guns are not a disease, the damage they cause is a plague and embraced the idea of giving the CDC $10 million dollars to study the effects of guns in America. Isn’t the CDC the Centers for Disease Control? I thought you said guns were not a disease.
But in a bit of curious timing there was a recent incident involving guns, doctors and a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun as he assaulted a group of innocent, unarmed people.
A doctor in Pennsylvania, a psychiatrist actually, was the good guy with a gun and one of his patients was the bad guy. The bad guy pulled out a gun in the hospital complex and began firing, killing a case worker. Who knows how many more people would have been killed or wounded if the doctor hadn’t, in violation of hospital policy, had his own gun with him and was able to shoot the assailant before he could continue his attack.
It is also worth noting that others in the hospital saw the patient with his gun before the first shot and called 911. But as we all know, the police cannot be everywhere to protect everyone all the time. By the time they got there, the doctor (good guy with a gun) and another caseworker had subdued the shooter (bad guy with a gun), holding him for the police.
Where’s the curious timing, you ask? The very next day, as reports of the hospital shooting were coming out, the 11th Circuit Federal Court ruled in favor of the Florida law restricting physicians and health care providers from asking about or counseling against home ownership of firearms.
Doctors are not firearm safety counselors, the law says. They are medical professionals and sometimes, as we’ve seen, they are good guys with a gun. Let’s see how the gun-banners spin this!
(Randall C. Grantham is a fifth generation Floridian and lifelong resident who practices law from his offices on Dale Mabry Highway in Lutz . He can be reached at LutzLaw@aol.com. Copyright 2014 RCG)