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Iraq vet survived war but may have died due to America’s lack of sensible gun laws

November 4, 2015, 8:33 am

So three-tour Iraq War veteran Andrew Myers, who was randomly gunned down by a mentally ill man in Colorado Springs on Halloween, repeatedly risked his life overseas to defend a nation where the Second Amendment to the Constitution arguably allows virtually anyone to own a gun — even the mentally ill — without a background check.

The O Zone by David O. Williams

The O Zone by David O. Williams

And Colorado’s open carry laws may have contributed to Myers’ death because a neighbor of the shooter, whom I will not name in case publicity was one of his motivations, called 911 and got a primer from the dispatcher on open carry laws before police were sent check on her report of a disturbed man wandering the street with a rifle.

Open carry laws, the National Rifle Association will tell us, make our nation safer. According to the gun lobby’s logic, Myers should have been riding his bike with an AR-15 strapped over his shoulder. Then he could have stopped riding and returned fire if he survived the initial salvo.

Likewise, the two mothers who were also randomly killed by the Springs’ shooter should have been carrying guns and trained to use them — especially if either one was a school teacher. Math, science and language arts aren’t as important as owning a Glock 9mm and knowing how to use it.

Or, we could just pass a national background check law, close waiting-period and gun-show loophoes and build a national database that makes it much tougher for people like the Springs’ shooter to acquire a gun in the first place.

Law-abiding people who want to own guns may have to wait a little longer. Isn’t that a price worth paying in a nation where time-sucking post-9/11 airport security measures aren’t even questioned anymore? It’s also way past time to remove laws absolving the gun industry of legal liability — here and in Mexico, where we’re flooding a drug-ravaged nation with cheap weaponry.

Every year in the United States more than five times the number of people who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks are killed in gun-related homicides, and yet we’ve spent multiple trillions of dollars invading two different nations to avenge those terrorist deaths. Wouldn’t that money have been better spent ending the daily terrorism of gun violence on our streets and in our schools, offices, churches and theaters?

Finally, Democrats cowed for decades by the gun lobby, are waking up to the reality that we are one of the most senselessly violent countries in the world, and they’re making gun safety and homicide prevention a 2016 presidential campaign issue.

On the subject of gun laws, however, most Republicans — like Jeb Bush — will continue to tell you that, “Stuff happens.”

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington),, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of and

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