I understand all the emotion behind the anti-gun rhetoric and the gun-violence prevention campaigns we're seeing with more and more frequency in this state and country.
We live in a reactionary world, where people respond to crisis events -- the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., for instance -- by wanting to ban anything and everything that contributed to the crisis.
Sometimes that's warranted. Sometimes it's not.
Since the Newtown shootings, all the talk has centered on banning guns, controlling guns and ammunition and creating harsher gun laws.
I'll be the first to suggest society would be a lot better off with fewer guns in the hands of the weak-minded among us rather than more guns in the hands of the weak-minded among us.
To me, that's just common sense.
But I'll also admit, given the state of the world today, that I'm considering the purchase of a handgun or a shotgun for my own personal protection. I haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking about it.
And the main reason I'm thinking about it is I'm convinced there are just too many nut cases out there running around with guns, and realizing the police can't be everywhere at once. Like it or not, I might have to be responsible for my own safety.
Or be killed.
A lot of people are probably having the same thoughts these days.
In fact, I just read a story about how the demand for gun permits in Newtown, Conn., soared (more than doubled) after the school shooting there about eight months ago.
Twenty-six people -- 20 first-graders and six educators -- were killed there by one deranged gunman, and the first thing many of the people in that town could think about was buying a gun to better protect themselves.
And that makes sense to me. It seems like a reasonable response.
So I understand both sides of the argument, because to one degree or another I agree with both sides of the argument.
Then I received an email from CeaseFirePa, an organization that's dedicated to making Pennsylvania a safer state in which to live. Its focus, obviously, is guns.
Sometimes I agree with CeaseFirePa's point of view, and sometimes I don't.
This time, I definitely think it's taken a stance I can't support.
It is asking for donations -- $4 per person living in this state -- so it can develop a public campaign that would eventually lead to stopping a New York gun manufacturer, Kahr Firearms Group, from being able to move its manufacturing operations to Pennsylvania.
CeaseFirePa is against guns, so by extension it's also against the manufacture of guns. And it wants no gun manufacturers setting up shop in Pennsylvania.
"A New York firearms manufacturer, seeking to avoid New York's new gun violence prevention laws, says it plans to move its operations -- and expand -- into another state," CeaseFirePa stated.
That state, of course, is our state.
"Can we count on you for $4 to help us fight back and prevent Pennsylvania from becoming a safe haven for gun manufacturers and those seeking to avoid reasonable regulations?" it asked.
It's true that Kahr Firearms is considering a move to Pennsylvania because, according to Frank Harris, the company's vice president for sales and marketing, it's "... looking for a more friendly environment for our business."
That doesn't happen often in this state. Too frequently, businesses decide not to move their operations here because they don't find the environment as friendly as they'd like. But usually that has to do with taxes or environmental restrictions.
So what we have is a company engaged in the manufacture of a perfectly legal product, and it wants to move to Pennsylvania because it finds the business environment better here than in New York.
Would we give thumbs down to Ford or General Motors if they decided to move their manufacturing operations from Michigan to Pennsylvania, because we know their products contribute mightily to air pollution -- already a problem in this state -- and are a factor in the deaths of thousands of Pennsylvanians each year by traffic accidents?
I'd say not.
Would we discourage or deny a company that produces beer or whiskey-- say, Anheuser-Busch or Heineken or Jack Daniel's -- from moving their operations to this state because we know alcohol contributes significantly to traffic deaths and a variety of other social ills?
I doubt it.
If CeaseFirePa is serious about making the state safer from gun violence -- an admirable goal -- then it needs to do it the right way, by twisting arms in the General Assembly to write laws that will accomplish that.
Because guns (cars and booze, too) are products manufactured and sold legally in this state and country.
Should we deny gun manufacturing in a state that doesn't ban their sale or use?
Sorry, but that's going too far.
It defies logic.
Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.