By Mick E. Finn
In late May Honolulu Civil Beat reported here that Hawaii is one of the 43 states in the U.S. that does not require gun owners to file an official report in the event that they lose a firearm. The idea behind such laws is to make gun owners more accountable in the event they lose a weapon that eventually finds its way into the hands of a criminal or, heaven forbid, a child. To find out more, we recently spoke with Tom Westfield, the executive director of Gun Owners For Education and Responsibility (GOFER), a Dallas-based firearms advocacy group that has been outspoken on the issue.
MAUI TIME WEEKLY: Thank you very much, Mr. Wakefield, for speaking to us today on this rather, well, explosive subject, if you’ll pardon a slight pun.
TOM WESTFIELD: Think nothing of it. Fire away.
Um, yeah. Does your organization support state laws requiring gun owners to report lost firearms to police or some other law enforcement agency?
Oh sure, absolutely. Hell, we’re for one federal law requiring notification. In fact, we think the laws currently on the books don’t go nearly far enough.
Oh yeah. This is a deadly serious issue, and even now most people have no idea how big a deal lost guns can be. Think about this little number: every year, something like half a million guns are stolen out of households every year. Half a million!
Yes, I read that in the Honolulu Civil Beat story. It’s a terrifying number.
Damn straight. That’s why our organization wants no expense spared in locating these lost guns. Mandatory reporting to law enforcement is fine, but that’s only a start.
Yes, that was actually going to be my next question. I noticed on your organization’s website a number of well, to be honest, unorthodox ideas on how to curb the problem of lost guns.
Well, I’m not sure they’re unorthodox, unless you think George Washington was unorthodox for taking up arms against the Redcoats, or Abraham Lincoln was unorthodox for wanting to preserve the union. Our board of directors has been working on this issue for some time, and these ideas represent what we feel is a solid, pro-active approach to solving the problem of lost guns.
Yes, I understand that, but milk cartons?
Oh yeah! What’s better to get the word out than by using milk cartons? Look at all those little kids that got lost or kidnapped or whatever and police found them because someone saw their picture on a milk carton. If it worked for kids, why not guns, too?
And this, what is this – a “chrome alert?”
Well, you’ve heard of an Amber Alert, right? Where the media and highway billboards and such put out the word on a kidnapped child?
Of course. But are you saying this would be the same thing, except for lost guns?
So your organization is saying the local media should put out some sort of “alert” – and yes, I’m putting quotation marks around that word – every time a person’s gun goes missing?
Do you have any idea how traumatic an event this can be for the gun? To be safe and secure in their owner’s home one minute, and then next thrust out into a dark, scary world of crime and poverty? I challenge you to pick up a firearm and hold it close to your ear. Caress its barrel and chamber – let it know you mean it no harm – and just listen to it. I mean really listen to what it says –
Wait – you talk to your guns?
Um, is that a problem?
[This story was a work of satire]