Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Tracie's Thoughts: Let's talk about guns

With the 2020 elections there is an item of interest that has me completely baffled; getting rid of Americans' guns. Why would anyone in their right mind want to take away, for some, the only form of protection law-abiding citizens have?

I live 37 miles away from the nearest law enforcement, which means that if I call for help it will be at the very least 30-40 minutes before an officer arrives, unless I am super lucky at the time and there is an officer close by. What should I do if someone is trying to break into my house? How am I going to protect myself? With a knife? A knife will do the job but it means having to get up-close and personal with the criminal and could easily be taken away and used on me. A gun allows me to protect myself and my family from a distance.

I honestly don't understand the concept of disarming the American people over the crimes of mentally ill people (to me if you can shoot someone, other than in self-defense, you must have some sort of mental issue). I don't understand the idea that responsible gun owners should be punished by the actions of a few.

To me that is like taking cars away from the American people because many people like to drink and drive and text and drive, not to mention all the other stupid things we sometimes do when we are driving.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 40,231 people died from motor vehicle accidents in 2017. stated that of the 40,231 deaths 10,874 were caused by drunk drivers. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) states that 3,166 of those deaths were related to distracted driving.

The number of gun fatalities, 39,773, in America, in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center, was lower than motor vehicle fatalities. "Though they tend to get less attention than gun-related murders, suicides have long accounted for the majority of U.S. gun deaths. In 2017, six-in-ten gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides, 23,854, while 37 percent were murders, 14,542, according to the CDC. The remainder were: unintentional 486, involved law enforcement 553 or had undetermined circumstances 338. Three-quarters of all U.S. murders in 2017 – 14,542 out of 19,510 – involved a firearm. About half, 51 percent, of all suicides that year – 23,854 out of 47,173 – involved a gun," the Pew Research Center stated.

Now you might be thinking that the difference in numbers isn't much but when you add the fact that there are, according to, 270.4 million registered vehicles in the United States and that there are, according to the Washington Post whose numbers came from the latest edition of the global Small Arms Survey, a project of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, 393 million registered guns in the United States, it is a huge difference.

Guns cannot harm anyone unless someone pulls the trigger. I have yet to see a gun attack anyone all by itself. But I have seen motor vehicles cause accidents without anyone in them. I know because it happened to me.

I was around 8 or 9 years old when my parents stopped at the vets office for our sick kitty. The office was at the top of the hill and the driveway and parking area was on an incline. I was told to stay in the backseat while my parents took our kitty in. So, I was happily reading in the back seat when the car started rolling down the driveway! My parents hadn't set the emergency brake and the transmission didn't hold. At the end of the driveway was a very busy two-lane main road and the car I was in was gaining speed as it headed for the main road. Luckily, thanks to God, the car traveled across the main road at the best moment, missing all oncoming cars and slammed into a ditch across the road. I was unhurt, but it could have been tragic. So vehicles can and have hurt people without human interaction.

Do I have an answer to the problem of people using guns to commit crimes? No, I don't, but I believe that part of the problems boils down to lack of family structure. Both mother and father have to work full time to make ends meet and the children aren't receiving the attention and education from their parents that they used to. Another problem is that people are embarrassed to seek mental health help because of the stigma surrounding it and now more than ever they are afraid that if they see a counselor they will be first on the list to have their guns taken.

If guns are taken away from the law-abiding American people, the only people who will have guns are the criminals and everyone will be sitting ducks to be robbed, raped, tortured and or murdered.

Just because something is made illegal doesn't mean that it will disappear and that no one will have it. Look at drugs, they are illegal and for years the prison sentences were huge for drug-related crimes, yet the drugs are still here and worse than ever. The war on guns will be as effective as the war on drugs has been.

That's just my opinion.