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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions August 01, 2014

4/21/2012 9:59:00 PM
Letter: Most people can't be trusted with guns in a conflict


I am a family medicine physician in the community, concerned with the idea of private guns in public places. From the articles I have seen in the Courier, I do not have the confidence that these gun-carriers have the training to hit the broad side of a barn in a combat situation, nor the conflict resolution skills to defuse a bad situation without gunfire. To have the privilege to maintain health or save lives, physicians are monitored for competency, continuing education and malpractice coverage. The private gun in public places is to be attached to a human who has satisfied similar criteria in order to have the privilege of taking a life and dealing with unintended consequences of innocent bystander death, should that arise.

Paul Nault, M.D.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

@ Diann Gardner

"But because I carry I may save many oinnocent people"

Hopefully Diann your shooting skills are better than your typing skills because remember, there are NO errors allowed when handling a weapon, because one of those “innocent people” just might be who you end up killing because you had a slip of the finger.

Posted: Saturday, May 05, 2012
Article comment by: You may view them as necessary, but...

Nothing good comes from guns, EVER.

Posted: Saturday, May 05, 2012
Article comment by: Diann Gardner

I have a conceled carry permit from WY, where I have lived for 20 years. I recently moved to Montana where the local sheriff was only too happy to register me in the state of Montana. With all due respect Dr Nault, you must PROVE you have attended a gun saftey course and that you know how to use a fire arm. I am SURE I will not shoot anyone innocent in a time of crisis. But because I carry I may save many oinnocent people.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: A face in the crowd.....

@ Rita

In your case Rita, aren't you already a prohibited possessor?

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: BIG E

@full metal jacket: Your ability to speak your "mind" came from guns, the reason you don't speak Japanese or German came from guns. And my ability to tell you to hush came from guns.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Doctor Doctor

I'm being philosophical here, because it's easy to understand Dr.Nault's point: if people whip out a pistol in a crisis situation and use it then it's possible for an innocent bystander to get killed. Noone can argue with that. And if in fact an armed person kills an innocent bystander that armed person will go to prison for manslaughter no questions asked.
But why do people carry handguns to protect themselves and their family? There can only be one reason: they are afraid of some yet to be seen person. I'm not afraid of that person, but I am afraid that I might make an innocent and fatal error should I use a weapon. Nuff said.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: New Fashions Solve Dilemma: Where to Hide the Gun?

Guess it beats having your weapon fall out of your waistband or backpack.

Woolrich's new $65 chinos feature an additional pocket and stretchable waistband—and not so you'll have a place to stash a Hershey bar and a way to feel comfortable after you've downed it. The features are custom-built for holding a gun, specifically, for hiding one, explains the New York Times in a look at fashion designed with concealed weapons in mind. The permit-holding masses have grown from 5 million in 2008 to 7 million three years later, and clothing companies have taken note.

And rather than creating shirts and pants befitting commandos, they're designing clothing with function and fashion in mind. The style even has a name (actually, two): concealed carry or covert fashion. 5.11 Tactical will roll out a vest this fall that contains a frontal "stealth compartment," which seems like the kind of place you'd warm your hands, but actually allows you to be somewhat secretly holding your gun. Under Armour is getting in on the action, too, and boasts that its signature moisture-wicking fabric prevents rust. And Woolrich notes that its concealed-carry line features pockets made for storing things beyond a gun: like a knife, flashlight, or plastic handcuffs.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Zig E.

The difference between the two "paranoids" is that only one of them has the ability to kill.

Just wondering - Did you not find the gun laws sufficiently liberal enough in this state before they were changed a couple of years ago to allow everyone to carry concealed without training or permitting ? Honestly are you okay with everyone you see carrying a loaded gun ? I can tell you I bump into people all the time who I don't think should be trusted with anything sharper than a spoon. Your right about some "older" drivers - they're a danger on the road. So we should test them regularly to make sure that they're competent enough to handle a car. But not a gun ?

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Rita Stricker

And who, in your twisted little reality, gets to decide who deserves to protect themselves from danger, Doctor? You? I don't think so.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

@ Kenny H and Five-Oh

No Kenny, I did not miss your point. And I agree, almost anything can be used as a weapon.

But, as I have said numerous times: Just because something "can" be used as a weapon, that "does not" make it inherently a weapon.

The military authorizes the use of deadly force in the safeguarding of weapons. The reason for that is due to their inherent danger to others.

That is the basis for my argument, that something, by design, that is so inherently dangerous to others should not be something that can be so freely purchased and so freely carried.

You and Five-Oh are correct, because of the few that do not comprehend the simple concept of responsible firearm ownership others have to pay the price. It is because "holding the individual responsible" is not working. The media, law enforcement, and the legal system look at and handle the mishandling of firearms as "accidents", there is no accountability. Until that mindset has been changed and people are truly held accountable for the “accidents” (should read negligence) they have handling firearms, there will continue to be opposition to this state’s carry laws (at least from me).

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Full Metal Jacket

Nothing good comes from guns, EVER.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Kenny H

@ Gus Patrick--Let me edit my comment. I realize you are not being anti gun and any implication of mine that you were was wrong. I apologize for that. However, my point still stands that banning guns only moves potential killers to different weapons.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Five Oh

Nobody is "equating" guns and cars and negligent medical professionals. They're pointing out that there are a lot more likely ways to die than being negligently shot by a licensed non-police gun carrier. The misplaced paranoia doesn't just belong on the pro-gunner side.

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Kenny H

@Gus Patric--Way to miss the point completely. Yours and others anti-gun argument is like carrying water in a wet paper sack. The point I was making is that throughout history, people have been killed by every object known to man. We never banned those objects. We banned the behavior and the people who committed them. When a drunk driver kills someone with a car, you don't ban the car. You ban the drunk. You see why your argument doesn't hold any water?

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Article comment by: Mike Kerr

If you had great conflict resolution skills why would you need a gun? And how good do your conflict resolution skills have to be when you confront someone on PCP or someone who just killed someone else or just broke out of prison with a double life sentence? I want to take those classes. Most soldiers in combat cant hit the broadside of a battleship when the bullets are heading in their direction and statistics prove this. As a doctor I would be more concerned with the over thirty thousand people who die each year from alcohol and cigarettes or the thousands that die from legally prescribed drugs. Who are the real terrorist? All the rest is just thinning the herd.

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

@ Five Oh

You, and others like you, belittle those of us that oppose the lax carry/possession laws this state has. You throw out the "what ifs", "my personal experience", point to news articles, and post statistics explaining why you need to carry a gun for protection. Yet, when we do the same thing, you all bash us as know nothing reactionaries, who just wish to "strip you of your rights".

Now, Five-Oh, in my life I have been shot at in combat, seen stabbings, witnessed a man's skull cracked with a baseball bat, car accidents, etc. None of which I care to experience again. Nor do I wish, should it ever occur, to be in a place where an unbalanced individual opens fire with a gun and not only have to worry about the rounds the pumping out, but to have to worry about the rounds coming from a "CCW holder" source.

So, continue to believe me a "Foolish and Uninformed" person, but I will continue to present my beliefs on why citizens should not be allowed to be as freely armed as they are.

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: A Universal Truth

The good Doctor reminds us all you can be highly educated, and yet not very smart outside of your field of specialization. Stick to your knitting Doc, unless you've been shot at and survived through your own reactions, I'll listen to someone else regarding self defense. You're just parroting liberal talking points like a puppet with someone else doing the thinking.

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: Zig E.

Well Doc you can now see the mindset that your dealing with. If you were a psychiatrist you might be able explain their rantings to us. After all It's got to be clinical. Equating medicine and cars to guns would be funny if it wasn't so real in these peoples minds. I'll just chalk it up to paranoia.

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: Jesus of Nogales

Leave the gun in its place. He who takes the gun shall perish by the gun.

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: If we had decent firearm and sex education in the public schools...

maybe we wouldn't need as many doctors?

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

I can't imagine a bunch of people running around killing each other as a result of more relaxed laws. Maybe there could be measures to make the process a little more stupidity-proof, and ultimately that education should start at home. Cars do seem to be more dangerous.

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: Elaine Murray

Don't get me wrong- I feel that we all have the right to defend ourselves. I do not believe that the rights that we do have make us marksmen. People need to learn that this is a priveledge just like driving, you need to learn to operate the vehicle before you are given the right to drive it. Guns are dangerous- but used in the right instance-they will save your children, your wife-your security.

I believe that knowing how to operate a gun becomes a matter of respect for the other good people in this world.

Do what you feel is necessary without dissrupting or disturbing others. If it makes you feel safe-go for it, but remember that there are those of us that didn't make that choice, so please keep the good news to yourself.

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

Recently I was behind a gray Ford Crown Victoria. The car had plates honouring fallen LEOs with a Glock sticker on the drivers side rear-door. Piloting this pseudo-cruiser a man (35-45 yo) sporting a solder's shaved head completed by a Freddy Mercury moustache. Rather humorous. Rather pitiful, accoutrement does not a knight make.

Defence is a right primal as breathing. Beyond that universal concept I respect an American's right to the Second Amendment. Still, must the highly visible firearms enthusiast act and write so foolishly? Be a person first, not the knight you wish to become.

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: Five Oh

"I'm a local MD like Dr. Nault. I agree with him. I've read a number of these gun threads and the same pattern is present in each one: Those who prefess to be current/former law enforcement prefessionals or certain current/ former military persons (specifically those with a lot of weapons training and experience) are very much against the "common man" carrying a handgun in public because like Dr. Nault they fear inappropriate use of the weapon in a pressure situation."

That statement is absolutely wrong. Virtually all rank and file police officers have no problem with a non-police officer legally carrying a handgun. I don't know where you get your information but the only group of police officers I know of who come anywhere NEAR the position you're attributing to them are police administrators who have to toe the line espoused by the politicians who appoint and hire them. The majority of cops who have ever worked the street for any amount of time realize that the police stop very, very, few crimes in progress and fully support a person's right to defend themselves with a legally carried firearm. I don't imagine you travel in "street cop" circles, Dr., or you'd known how blatantly wrong your statement is.

It is interesting that neither you nor the other Dr. have addressed my first point: How many people die annually because of the negligence of medical professionals as opposed to the negligence of legal gun carriers? Should I be more afraid of medical negligence or handgun negligence? What are my odds vs. both potential killers?

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Article comment by: Five Oh

"""@ Five-Oh
LEO's receive weapons handling training and have annual qualification requirements, yet still manage to have negligent discharges (as do military personnel). If those entities, in which the public places their trust in their ability to protect utilizing those firearms, can't control them properly, how do you expect anyone to trust just any schmuck that wants to carry a gun (and please spare me the "training" that concealed carry permit holders undergo – because it is nowhere near as extensive as LEO and Military training)?""""

Your position seems to be that if there are any negligent discharges by people other than military or police, the general public should not be allowed to carry guns. I don't buy that argument any more than I would buy an argument that says because 40,000 people are killed in car crashes every year, only people who the government decides need cars should be allowed to drive them. Police handgun training and qualification is woefully inadequate. It is usually designed to avoid civil liability as opposed to making an officer an excellent marksman and decision-maker. Be that as it may, anyone of a certain age, excepting certain criminals and those subject to certain court orders has a right to own a handgun. If they pass the state's test for carrying, they have the right to carry. I would have no problem whatsoever making CPL AND police qualification courses more difficult than they currently are.

""""Sorry, the facts refute your comment:

For instance, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there are 254,212,610 privately owned passenger vehicles in the U.S. Taking the high end of automobile deaths (12,000). That equates to 1 automobile related death to every 21,184.38 automobiles.

The FBI estimates that there are 200,000,000 privately owned firearms in the U.S. Taking the low end of the CDC's report on gun related deaths (8,775). That equates to 1 gun related death to every 22,792.02 privately owned firearm.

Now, I realize that these numbers are based on estimates. But, I think you see the point. Per capita, guns kill just about as many people as cars do.""""

Your "facts" are way off. The anti gunners argument is "...because there are X number of gun deaths, people shouldn't carry guns." It has nothing to do with a ratio of gun deaths per number of guns. That's just silly. Be that as it may, your "gun death" number likely includes intentional shootings and homicides. Including homicides and intentional shootings in your "formula" is ridiculous. Also, your "high number" of auto deaths is wrong. Annually, it is closer to 40,000 than 12,000. Also, my argument is that if you want to prioritize "life saving", you'll save a lot more by taking away driver licenses than you will by taking away CPL licenses. Guns are just newsworthy. Automobile deaths are not.

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