I’ve heard it said that changes in gun laws won’t make a difference. How do they know that? What if one change saved one child’s life? What if that one child was yours? I’ve also heard it said that criminals don’t care if new laws are enacted. True, but criminals didn’t commit the rampage at Newtown, a mentally ill person did. “The west was tamed with guns! It is our culture,” I’ve heard said. Well, women couldn’t vote then and John Wayne movies promoted violence against women. I’d say we’ve moved beyond those days, wouldn’t you?
As the anniversary of my father’s passing approaches, I feel him nudging me to speak out. Unlike many people who want zero restrictions on gun or ammo purchases, my father actually faced the barrel of a gun pointed at him with intent. He was an FBI agent and a Peace Officer, sworn to protect the rest of us. He lived for decades with death threats and the threat of retribution toward his family. I remember that fear. He was also an avid hunter and fisherman.
There is no way my father would have ever advocated ‘disarming’ the public. When you see that sort of posting – please know that it is rhetoric used to incite your emotions. I hope you don’t fall prey to that type of manipulation. Disarming the public has not been proposed as a solution to lower gun violence. If you think it has been, give me the name of the politician and the state where it was proposed.
As a Peace Officer, would my father have preferred to face a gun with 6 rounds in it vs an automatic one with 30? That’s pretty easy to answer, isn’t it? Would he have wanted background checks that include mental illness? Absolutely. Did he believe anyone who wanted to (and wasn’t mentally ill or too young without supervision) should have the right to go hunting or sport shooting? Of course he did. Does a hunter or sportsman need endless automatic rounds or immediate access to a new gun. No, they don’t. All of the gun collectors and hunters I know are thoughtful people who comparison shop and think carefully before choosing a new weapon. A waiting period or a background check will not thwart their enthusiasm or love for their sport or their collection.
What is important then as we go forward? The dialog. Dialog can change our culture. Thomas Jefferson said we, as a country, must shed the coat of our youth and put on that of a grown person. We must evolve our constitution as we are enlightened. The 2nd Amendment was written at a time when “arms” meant muskets. Today, arms can mean a bomb strapped around your chest. We need at the very least a new definition.
Our media immediately reports any ugly deed and gives the perpetrator the spotlight. That seems to have become the goal, going down in infamy. It is time to think beyond ourselves, beyond our emotions, and find a dialog that will bring us closer to a new culture for our children to grow up in safely.