While America frets about the alleged “national crisis” on its southern border, the true catastrophe has been some 1,500 miles northeast of El Paso, in Chicago, where during the past 365 days more than 400 people died by gunfire. ...

     Our gun-crazed culture continues its movement away from civilized society as incidents of gun-caused deaths — via homicide or suicide — continue to climb. We don’t have to stand blithely by as the culture of death pervades our present and threatens our future.   

     After a Nov. 29, 2018 Commonwealth editorial called for repealing conceal-carry in Wisconsin, this newspaper published some passionate letters to the editor objecting to limits on handgun possession. Typical was the observation from one that the Second Amendment is the “cornerstone of our society and when some fringe group wants to remove any part of that cornerstone it weakens the structure upon which it is built.”

     Well, not really.

     You can’t bring a gun on an airplane, into a school or in any setting that expressly prohibits firearms. Such limits put no cracks in the Second Amendment; they fortify it by making our society safer. Gun rights are tempered by proper time, place, manner restrictions that minimize misuse.   

     The most compelling letter to the editor came from a Ripon resident who noted that when his home was broken into by an intruder, his armed wife was able to hold the criminal at bay, at least temporarily until the burglar went outside and climbed on the couple’s roof before surrendering to police, who held the man at gunpoint.

      Revisit this story with a single factual change and the danger of widespread gun ownership becomes more pronounced.

      Let’s say the intruder was armed. Seeing the wife pull out her pistol the intruder shoots her. He then puts a bullet in her husband to eliminate any witnesses.

     The same conceal-carry that empowered the woman in the actual incident could just as easily have led to two deaths.

     More guns, more killings. The data bear this out. ...

     In America, we’re becoming numb to the stories of people being killed for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time when some hothead misuses his concealed firearm. ...

     Certainly, firearms also have prevented further violence, such as the Ripon police officer who drew his weapon on the homeowner’s intruder.

     But it is undeniable that our country is becoming more prone to gun violence as more of its citizens have chosen to rely on Old West justice rather than law and order.  

     Conceal carry is unnecessary in Wisconsin and elsewhere, but common sense begins at home.

     State legislators should halt our regression into anxiety and fear, and instead, abide by the state motto pushing it ever “Forward” into civilization where law and order trump frontier-style barbarism and brutality.  
                                                          — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the Feb. 28, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.