I am not against guns, or gun ownership, or the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I own two shotguns. I grew up hunting with my grandfather, uncles, and cousins. I played with, created, and loved toy guns as a youngster. And, as evidenced by the photo above, I’m fine with my son and his cousin playing with their Nerf guns. I don’t have a concealed carry permit, but by all accounts I’m a gun toting American.
And I believe it is high time that some of us gun toting citizens speak up about the NEED for stricter gun laws.
Please set aside all of the political rhetoric and partisanship. Let’s think logically for just one minute about regulating something that is DESIGNED to kill. I have shot and killed many animals in my life; I’ve held their still warm bodies in my hands and I’ve carried bloody bird carcasses in a bag in my jacket. The only way I was able to kill those living beings was with a gun. So we need to stop being so passe about things that are intended to end life!
I would suggest that there are two or three simple things that would be a good place to start:
- Ban the sale of all automatic weapons and large capacity magazines. No educated person can make a logical argument that a common citizen needs one of these mass killers. The only people that need these types of weapons are police officers and military personnel and I’m cool with them having whatever weapons they feel will help them protect the rest of us because it is their JOB to be trained in the proper use of guns. If you go to a bar in North Carolina today and order a high volume beer, they’re going to serve it to you in a smaller portion than a regular beer. Shouldn’t we at least consider applying the same logic to the weapons that proved in San Bernardino that they can kill 14 people in a matter of minutes?
- Expand the waiting period to purchase ALL guns and require mandated safety classes for all first time gun buyers. If you want to purchase a gun for a legitimate reason – hunting, sport shooting, defense of your home from intruders – you will not only be diligent enough to want to get the proper training, but you will also be patient enough to wait a few more days if it is important to you. We make first time drivers take a pretty involved training course, pass a written and field test, and then wait for the DMV to issue them their license before we allow them to get behind the wheel of something that is built and designed for SAFETY. Seems logical to me that before we hand anyone something designed to DAMAGE that we should ask them to get some training on how to use it and wait a few weeks to make sure they really want it and need it.
- Allow the industry to sell the guns they are designing that are designed for SAFETY. This might be the easiest one of them all…it is very clear that many manufacturers and entrepreneurs alike have working Smart Guns ready for the marketplace. However, in the name of the Second Amendment, gun lobbyist have gone to great lengths to stop the sale of these weapons that have been proven to prevent an un-authorized user of a gun from firing (thus preventing children from picking up a gun and shooting their friend or a thief from using a stolen gun to murder). I’m not sure if I even need a comparison case, but it is hard for us to imagine the auto industry preventing seat belts from being introduced to cars because they’d prefer their products kill more people when used inappropriately.
None of these steps will completely stop the mass shootings. None of these steps will keep law breakers who really want a gun from getting one either. None of these steps will end tragic stories of kids killing kids with their parent’s loaded weapons. But that should not stop us from passing laws that make us all safer around one another. Since 1968 when the first seat belt laws went into effect, motor vehicle fatalities have dropped from 26.418/100,000 people to 10.345/100,000 people. That’s a 39% DECREASE in the number of people killed in auto crashes because we passed laws to ensure they were safer.
So, please, if you’re a gun toting American like me who hasn’t allowed your opinions to be owned and operated by one of the largest lobbying groups in Washington, speak up. There is no need to take guns away from people or keep them away from people who enjoy them for sport. There is no need to go into panic mode and take all of our kids’ toy guns away either. We just need to take some simple, logical steps to HELP make the country we live in a safer place for all of us. And we need to keep talking about it until it happens.