Democracy Tree: Is State Rep. Gamrat a friend to child safety?

Amy Kerr HardinChild with gun

by Amy Kerr Hardin

As the bereaved family of an 11-year old Antrim County boy — the fifth child to lose his life in Michigan this year due to an unintentional gun shot wound — prepares to lay his innocent soul to rest, a 9-year old Saginaw youth remains hospitalized after being shot by a playmate last weekend — he may lose use of a limb and suffer a lifetime of disability, plus there’s a 4-year old from Detroit who’s recovering from a self-inflicted abdominal gun shot wound from a found firearm.

The common thread here is the availability of deadly weapons. And yet, each individual circumstance has its sympathetic apologists lining up to explain them away as mere happenstance.

All this, in the expanse of one week, and the tepid response to this gun culture madness once again is the tired mantra about “educating” children about “gun safety.” Democracy Tree addressed the ineffectual nature of that approach last week, coupled with the media’s ennui over the topic — so quick to label it as an “accident” and move on.

The above mentioned 11-year old, searched out the weapon in his grandfather’s dresser while visiting, then, alongside his brother, identified the ammo stash, loaded the gun, only to trip and discharge the weapon in a fatal shot to the head. Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean took to the media to promote the importance of childhood gun safety training, explaining to UpNorthLive:

“I think getting them involved and used to them and understanding the safety from that point even at that age, locking the gun up, being able to separate the ammo and understanding why you do that for safety issues, I think the earlier you instill it into the child the better off you are.”

Adult gun enthusiasts too often under-appreciate their dangerous influence on children — with their covetous admiration of their personal arsenals on full display for the young and impressionable to absorb and mimic. At the same time, gun lovers grossly overestimate their ability to reason with youngsters on basic firearm safety issues. Executive function and impulse control require time to physically grow and mature within the developing human brain.

And some individuals never quite achieve that critical level of maturity. Case in point:

Gamrat Gunz

In the photo above is Michigan lawmaker Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell (R-80) this week posing with some of her 2nd Amendment buddies with their guns. Take a closer look at the weapons. Yes indeed, they certainly do look like super cool toys.

Michigan lawmakers recently struggled with the problem of toy guns that look too real, and here we have real guns that look like toys. Sigh.

The occasion for the above photo-op was Gamrat and friends meeting to celebrate her relentless push for the dismantlement of even the most rudimentary firearm regulatory oversight in Michigan. Last week, she sponsored a package of bills designed to wholesale eliminate the registration of weapons and the licensing of concealed guns in the state.

More lax oversight means more guns, and thus, more dead children. But she is adamantly pro-life on behalf of unborn babies.

The argument for “education” on gun safety invariably has an element of getting children used to seeing firearms, so the guns are somehow less attractive as a plaything — a point expressed above by Sheriff Bean. By way of example, there’s the National Rifle Association’s flaccid response to the horrific death of Idaho mom Veronica Rutledge at the hands of her toddler son last year. He found her loaded gun in her purse while shopping, prompting the NRA to roll out a new video in the Eddie Eagle series advising children that they might “… find a gun in a few different places — in houses, with people who want to protect us, and sometimes your mom or dad…” and they should “stop, don’t touch, run away, tell a grownup” if they find a gun.

The cartoon provides the following image to soothe the kiddies about the ubiquitous nature of guns — even in mommy’s purse, right next to her cellphone and lipstick.

Are we feeling comforted and safe now?

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