Guns in Hell

If it weren’t for the obvious and justified distress these people are in I would just roll my eyes at their insanity:

SOUTH PORTLAND, Me. – Kelly DeCambra made her way through a seven-inches-an-hour snowstorm to a dingy Maine State Police garage where, among the brake parts, transmissions and a flat-bed tow truck, she hoped to find a fragment of solace.

It would come in the form of a Ruger .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk revolver, caked with blood and the memory of Ms. DeCambra’s son, 21-year-old Lionel St. Hilaire, who was shot to death with it last year.

The mother had come to watch the gun that was used to kill her son be sawed into pieces in an acrid plume of white-hot sparks.

Ms. DeCambra’s act of witness was made possible by a law Maine enacted in 2001 that requires handguns used in homicides to be destroyed when they are no longer needed for evidence. Before that, guns were often sold or auctioned by police departments to raise money for other equipment.

Maine’s law came about because of Debbie O’Brien, a Kennebunk woman whose 20-year-old son, Devin, was shot to death in 1996. When she learned that the state police would probably sell the gun used to kill her son, Ms. O’Brien said her reaction was, “Oh, my God, the police are here to help you and the next thing you know they’re turning around and selling a gun, making money off my dead son.”

Ms. O’Brien lobbied for the proposed law, saying that she told the state police, “Look, if you need money, let’s do bake sales.”

“You’re in hell,” she said. “You’re just struggling to have a life, and then I realized that would include the gun.”

William Harwood, a gun control advocate in Maine, and Robert M. Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, said the original proposal was for all crime guns to be destroyed. But because of the state’s strong hunting lobby, they said, the final law included only handguns used in homicides.

“To be candid,” Mr. Harwood said, “the legislation had as much symbolic importance as it does deterrence.”

But the symbolism is powerful, said Ms. O’Brien, who watched the .22-caliber handgun used to kill her son be cut up six years after his death.

“It was just a very important day for my husband and I,” she said. “This was a weapon that changed our lives.”

Yes, their thinking is distorted by the grief they are experiencing but to think that a gun would go to Hell because it was used in a homicide (note, not necessarily a murder) assumes not only that there is a hell, but the gun has a soul, and it was the active agent in the homicide.  You don’t hear about people wanting cars, baseball bats, and kitchen knives used in homicides being destroyed where one would assume there is a similar amount of grief.  I think I see why this is important to them.  As Harwood, above says, this is about symbolism.  It’s about the demonization of firearms.  It’s about attributing motives and evil to a piece of metal as does O’Brien when she says, “This is a weapon that changed our lives.”  These people need grief counseling not laws that take money away from the police.


4 thoughts on “Guns in Hell

  1. I for one am a little sick and tired of grief stricken people being used by the gun banners and the media to push their agenda to demonize firearms and to push additional gun control. I’m sorry for their tragedy, but 1) The gun didn’t do it and 2)Responsible gun owners didn’t do it. By trying to take away my rights they turn any sympathy I might have for them into hatred for what they are doing.

    Also, the bit about only handguns being destroyed is very interesting. This shows the split in the gun rights movement between gun owners that only use them to hunt or shoot skeet and the rest of us. These fuddites(just hunters) have no use for handguns and have only my contempt.

  2. Plenty of people use handguns for hunting too, including .22s for small game, up to the big .500s and such for big game, and some have used evil black autos in .40 S&W to take deer – just for the record.

  3. Joe I was one of those who went to the legislative hearings to oppose this awful bill originally, but it is very difficult to win against the tears of grief stricken moms. Tears go a long way with liberal legislators who have no common sense to start with. These mothers are trying to solve their guilt at not doing a good job of raising their kids by blaming the gun. Both boys had run-ins with the law before they were were killed.

    Bill Harwood is the chief spokesman of Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence and in effect is fostering these poor womens grief to further his goals.

    We of Maine Gun Owwners Assoc. are trying to keep the antis at bay but we get way to little help from the Maine gun owner.If we don’t hang together we will surly hang separately.

  4. George, I appreciate your efforts. I’m an activist on the opposite coast and fully understand the difficulties with the legislature, the anti-freedom people, and the average gun owner. Don’t hesitate to offer tips or request aid from me or other activists. Networking on these sort of issues is very powerful.

    Good luck and keep up the fight.

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