Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mass Shootings & Gun Control: An Intelligent Argument From A Pro-Gun Rights Individual

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that
disagreement over e-mail can still remain civil.
After reading my post on the Clackamas shooting and gun control, a Twitter follower of mine responded to me via e-mail. His name is Vitaly Kroychik, and he lives in Aurora, Colorado. He felt it was important to present me with his opinion on the issue of gun control.

Although I have never met Vitaly, he struck me as a caring, intelligent individual who is passionate about his beliefs. At the same time, his e-mail response was respectful. It was a breath of fresh air to discover that people can have different opinions and can discuss them (electronically) without having the discussion immediately break down into name calling and hysterics.

Vitaly made some good points, and I discovered that he and I actually agree on some fundamental issues regarding gun control--namely that merely banning guns will do no good and that education into gun safety is extremely important.

I asked him if he would be willing to let me post his e-mail, and he graciously agreed. Here it is, unedited (with the exception of removing some contact information) and in its entirety. Thanks for sharing your opinion, Vitaly.


Hello there!

I wanted to comment on the gun control tweet and blog article you had and offer up my thoughts, I'm sure you can appreciate me not clogging your timeline with my long-winded opinion.

First and foremost I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Vitaly Kroychik and I live in Aurora, Colorado and was born in Moscow, Russia. I went to school and graduated with a bachelors of science in Health promotion.

My first experience with weapons came when I was 6. My older brother and I were standing outside of our apartment building in Russia playing and a man, obviously drunk, came up to us asking for cigarettes. When the 13 year old and 6 year old stated we didn't have any, he showed us a revolver and said "that is that" and walked away. Our building was adjacent to a police station and we ran over there and told the police, they didn't listen and "shooed" us away.

The next one I had was in the US Army at fort benning, GA when I was learning how to shoot, carry, assemble, disassemble, clean, and do anything else imaginable with an m16, m4 and several other weapons.

Coming out of the military, I have shot recreationally and am planning on obtaining my concealed carry weapons license. I currently own a shotgun and a rifle. 

I am not a republican, democrat, independent, communist, NRA member or any other affiliation of any other extreme thinking party.

To address some of your points: #2 - it is true that guns don't usually go off by themselves. Unless there is a malfunction of an extreme sort (loose spring, retaining pin, etc) guns have a tendency of going off from a user, whether 2 years old, or 102 years old. Having had several major shootings lately, it is certainly a natural thing to pull the "gun control" card.

There is currently an assault weapons ban in this country, meaning I cannot just go out and buy ridiculous weapons and shoot them in our suburban back yards. The weapons that were used in the Aurora and now the Portland incidents were the civilian version of the m16, the Ar15. It is a semi automatic weapon. Many don't know what time means.

While an ak47 can fire it's entire magazine if you pull and hold the trigger once. The m16 (model A2,3,4) have a 3 round burst option, and a semi automatic option. Semi automatic means the bullet fires, the bolt slides back, comes forward and catches and chambers another round WITHOUT firing it. For every round fired, there is 1 trigger pull. It is no different than a hand gun, except it has a longer barrel and is designed to be more of a long distance weapon (50-300 yards). It is also important to point out that the aurora shooter bought his legally, and the Oregon shooter stole it. 

Points 4, 5: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, etc are (or were in the cases of weed and booze) illegal and all are easily attainable within 24hours in most cases to a wide array of people. I knew several kids who owned guns in high school, and marijuana can be found basically on the streets. Making something illegal will not fix the problem at all. 

You note the study by UT, if you look up the states which have least gun control and most, they are pretty close together. Vermont (which currently only has the only no-license concealed carry law) is number one for least gun related crimes per capita, NY is #3 surprisingly, and has a very tough gun laws.

Doesn't make sense right? 

Here is another fact taken from DOJ, bureau of justice website: 
  • According to the 1997 Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those possessing a gun, the source of the gun was from -
    • a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
    • a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
    • family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%
My point here is this: it doesn't matter what kind of laws we put in place, we will not be able to stop those who have an agenda to murder and to kill. 

While I think a gun ban may reduce the number of domestic control instances, it may hinder those who protect themselves and their families and their households.

My idea is education. I had DARE when I was in elementary school and learned about drugs and alcohol and tobacco, but gun education is non-existent. Let's educate kids on the laws and what to do when they see a weapon, let's educate teens that gun violence is terrible, just like they showed us videos of a 38 year old lady who looked 70 due to meth use.

This may not work right away, but it a step in the right direction. We do not need government dictating that we are not responsible with our weapons, because it is not responsible with it's weapons and it's money either and can't lead from the front.

These are just my two cents. 


Thanks again, Vitaly. And, thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.


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