Talking about guns

Why is it so hard for us to talk about guns? I think it is because there is so much emotion involved.  One side feels threatened by any talk of control. The other side feels like no one is listening to their heartbreak.

I think a good first step is for all of us to stop demonizing the other side.  I have heard people say that gun owners are heartless and don’t care about the kids who were killed. I know some people who are friends and family members who are gun owners. And I can tell you that they feel just as much grief and pain as anyone else. They are not demons. They are people with a different point of view.

Some gun owners believe that anyone who wants stricter gun control laws is defying the Constitution and trying to take away their 2nd amendment rights.  But they are just people with a different point of view. They are not demons.

So let’s try to put emotion aside and see if there is any common ground in common sense. ( I know that is hard. I tear up when I see the pictures of the kids gunned down in school.)

The second amendment was written at a time when you had to fire a musket. It took about one minute to fire a single shot.  We can’t know what the framers would think about a weapon that can fire 45 rounds a minute.

Is it possible for us to defend the 2nd amendment and still limit the kinds of weapons that an individual can possess?  For instance an individual cannot own a tank or an Apache Helicopter with a 50 mm gun on it. Is it really unreasonable to limit A R 15 rifles while still allowing people to own hunting rifles and shotguns and handguns?

Guns are not the only reason for these horrific mass shootings.  Mental health is indeed an issue that needs to be addressed. We need more funds to employ more health professionals. We need to have screening procedures to identify troubled kids. We need stricter background checks to make sure that people with mental issues will not be able to purchase guns at stores or on line or at gun shows.

Another thing that we can do is to ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines. It should be illegal to manufacture, sell, buy or possess these weapons whose only function it to kill a lot of people in a short time. The A R 15  and other such weapons should be collected and the owner reimbursed for the cost of the gun. After a period of time anyone still in possession of one would face serious jail time.

I can already hear my NRA friends angry responses. THE SECOND AMENDMENT! It is a limit on that Constitutional right. But doesn’t that have to be weighed against the rights of our children to be safe and the rights of a parent putting their child on the bus in the morning to have a reasonable expectation that they will still be alive at the end of the day?

I also think we need to take measures to make our schools safer. I envision a buzz-in system where a person with no legitimate business in that school would not be able to get in. The schools should also have metal detectors and bullet proof glass at the entrance. The schools should also have an armed security person on duty.

And even if we did all of these things, there would still be shootings. But we would have taken reasonable common sense measures so that there would not be as many and perhaps not as many deaths if there was one.

I don’t want anyone to take away anyone’s right to own a rifle or a shot gun or a hand gun.  These all have a purpose that does not harm innocent people as long as the owners are responsible for the security of those guns.  But an AR 15 has no other function but to kill a lot of human beings in a short period of time.

So anti-gun people, stop demonizing responsible gun owners. And NRA people, stop and think about your own child being gunned down at school. Isn’t it worth a compromise of one right to make our kids safer?