The recent events in Newton CT were horrific. There is really no other way to describe it. As a parent, you drop your child off at school and leave believing that your children are as safe there as they would be with you. And for the most part they are. Those teachers, administrators, support staff all must be commended for their quick thinking, their willingness to do anything to protect their students, including putting themselves directly in the line of fire.
As we know start to search for the reasons behind such an act, each side of the debate is going to try and point the finger somewhere else, But in reality, we are all part of this issue. When it becomes an almost daily occurrence to turn on the news and see stories about shootings in malls, parking lots, hotels, neighborhoods, homes,and schools, what does that say about our society? How did we get here? Why are more people not up in arms about how to effectively stop this?
Before I go any further, let me just say, I am NOT anti-gun. While I never want a gun in my home, I know that there are reasons for having such weapons. I may not agree that a gun is needed for home protection, but I can respect that is your choice. I know that many people hunt. My grandfather was a hunter. I grew up in WI where hunting is often a part of life. Again, while I may not understand that fascination with hunting, or the enjoyment one gets out of it, I can respect that this is something one may enjoy.
So please understand that when I talk about gun control, I am not against guns themselves. More that I am against how easy it is to get into the hands of those who are not able or willing to be responsible. Into the hands of those who are not mentally, emotionally, or psychologically able to handle the tough choices when holding such weapon. And I truly do not believe that the ordinary citizen needs some of the high caliber, fast shooting, multiple round guns that seem to be so easy to obtain.
Please do not quote the second amendment to me. Have you read it? Here it is…A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
As it reads, gun ownership was to ensure that there was a line of defense for the people of the town, state, country. But that there were to be rules, regulations, etc. This was before we had professional armed services. Before the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or National Guard. When you think about it, it is sort of the base of the National Guard. But there are those who simply read it to say “I have the right to any kind of weapon I want”. But that is not what it says…and I am sure our founding fathers could not even fathom the level of weaponry that we have today at our disposal and if they could maybe they would have written that one differently. But okay, you have the right to own a gun.
Now, what do you honestly NEED for home protection? For hunting? How many do you need? Where can you keep them? Who should be allowed to purchase guns? Ammunition? Do you need a license? Do you need to allow a background check? Do you need to register your purchase with some agency?
The problem is not guns. It is how they are used by PEOPLE. But since we can’t actually control people (yet), we have to control the guns. Control accesses to them, control who can buy them, control when/where/why they are used, and most of all…we need to EDUCATE people on gun safety, gun use, etc. One of the biggest lessons I think needs to be that we do not “shoot first, ask questions later”. Using your gun is NOT one of those circumstances where it is easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Firing a gun anywhere other than the shooting range or in a defined hunting area should be the last thought, the last resort, the last action that anyone considers taking against another human being.
Where do you honestly need your gun? Do you need in the mall? In Church? Do you need it in schools? Because the more places we have guns, the greater the risk that someone will either react first and think later, causing loss of life, property, etc. Or that the gun will end up in the hands of someone who is not prepared, trained, or truly capable of handling the weapon appropriately.
I believe that we need to take a long look at our countries approach to guns, how and when they are used, who gets to use them, and where they are welcome. Is it your right to own a gun? I guess that depends on how you read the second amendment. But the fact of the matter is that gun ownership is part of our society. So now we have to look at how to make sure that guns are used safely, when appropriate, and where we can reduce the risk as much as possible of them getting into the hands of those who can not or will not use them responsibly. So, until the time were our society no longer needs guns, we have to have some controls in place to ensure everyone’s safety and rights. Is your right to own a gun greater than someone’s right to life?