Update Mid-2014: When I wrote the article below, our pitbull, Fletcher was under 2 years old. Today he is seven and a half years old.
I've handled and trained large, strong dogs all my adult life. I've never had a better, more well behaved, dependable family pet than him. He is absolutely dependable with everyone in our family.
He is defensive of our house and sounds off when strangers come around, but cordial when we welcome people in. He wags his tail, does a little sniffing and accepts who we accept.
He has never shown an ounce of any type of dangerous behavior to any member of our household. He can be petted while he's eating, disturbed when he's sleeping or corrected when he does something we don't want him doing.
His response is a wag of the tail. That's often followed by just rubbing his head against us or dropping upside down on the floor to be petted. Training has been a big part of all that, but the dog's nature plays just as much into the equation.
He is typical of a well bred, well raised pitbull. The ones people want controlled, purged or exterminated.
What do guns and pit bulls have in common? Nothing. One is a dog, the other is a mechanical device. One is a flesh and blood, breathing animal, the other is inanimate steel. One will greet you at the door when you come home. The other will sit where it is until you pick it up and use it.
But what is there in common with the owners of firearms and pit bulls?
Well, quite a bit.
If you handle either one wrong, it's likely that somebody or something will get hurt. If you ignore them except for once in a while, either will have the potential to get out of your control when handling them. If you take either one to the wrong place, it can get you arrested.
On the other hand, if you spend time with them, handle them correctly, and act responsibly, they will give years of enjoyment and protection to you and your family.
But the alarming trend of our government, from small local municipalities to the halls of our federal government, is to ban anything that anybody misuses. In other words, if somebody does something bad with it, take it away from everybody.
Forget the statistical facts, just "do something", regardless of how senseless.
If somebody across town robs a liquor store, take my right to defend myself away. If a loose running dog bites somebody, ban mine, in a fenced in yard, from the city.
If somebody inexperienced with guns accidentally shoots somebody, take my guns away from my experienced hands. If something goes wrong with yours, take away mine.
My favorite pet and my favorite hobby are both the subject of internal battles across America with gun control issues being constant, and now a recent phenomena: "Breed Specific Legislation". This refers to local governments passing bans on certain types of dogs that they consider "vicious".
Pit bulls are always included in these no matter that in breed temperament tests, they score in the 85% acceptable range, which is up with the best of all breeds. There are numerous cities and towns in Arkansas that have implemented these ridiculous bans.
One town, Beebe, Arkansas enacted such a ban including Pit Bulls, in spite of the sheriff being quoted as saying the city "does not have any more attacks with pit bulls than other breeds." Just to be "doing something".
Gun control is just one of many "control" issues that local, state and the federal governments are seeking to impose upon our citizens. We are no longer free to do much of anything. Because anything can be misused by somebody, everything is fair game for a "ban".
The good news about "Breed Specific Legislation" is that dog owners across the country are starting to organize, hire lawyers and sue cities and towns that pass these useless, unconstitutional laws. And the bans are falling when forced to pass constitutional muster. Thank God.
When any government entity in America will do something that will cause hundreds or even thousands of families to have to give up their family pets, it's time to turn it back on those local governments and make it expensive, financially and politically.
What do guns and Pit Bulls have in common? There it is.