The recent gun related tragedies have launched an all out attack on guns, and I have decided to write down my thoughts on the matter.
I grew up around guns, and guns were everywhere. The weapons and ammo were readily available, and not under lock and key. My father is a gun enthusiast, a hunter, a wild goat of a mountain man. Most of my time growing up with him we lived on the edge of civilization, and sometimes beyond. At age seventy, he is still out there somewhere, beyond the red line. I was given my first BB gun at age six—and yes—I did come close to putting my eye out. It hit me in the forehead instead. I got my first .22 rifle when I was nine. I had pneumonia at the time, and didn’t have the strength to pull the bolt back on the thing—which annoyed my father to no end.
I’ve watched many an animal gutted and butchered and skinned, and sat out on the peaks of the Rockies freezing my feet off and wondering when it would all end. For I am a lover of books, and warm fires, and hot toasting ham and bean soup eaten in the warmth of the house. I grew up though, knowing one thing for certain. I knew exactly the consequences of pointing a weapon at something and firing. I knew for certain that things died and could not be brought back.
As much as I disliked hunting, I loved target shooting. My dad showed me how to shoot laying down, sitting, and standing, how to hold my breath just right and squeeze the trigger slowly. How to put it all together. I remember the first time I nailed a pop can with a .22 rifle from 25 yards. I still remember the plink sound it made, and the joy of hitting the target right on. My dad beamed with pride. It was a great time.
As I see it, banning guns will only create yet another illegal business. Gun runners. In this time when we are tired of the drug war and the money being wasted on that, why oh why would we want to create yet another illegal trade. Haven’t we enabled the crime-lords enough? Why would we want to do this? Why would we want the criminals to have the guns and citizens to be unarmed? I wish we lived in a world where bad people didn’t exist, a utopian era where peace and safety reigned supreme, and weapons were unnecessary. But, face it people, we haven’t arrived there yet. No, we are far from it. These aren’t the 1800’s, but it wasn’t that long ago when the West was won. And remember, my dad is still out there carving it out of the wilderness with his own bare hands.
And in this world where everything valuable is guarded by armed men and women, why would we not guard our most precious possesions, our children? We guard our money, our jewelry, our art, our important leaders, our COUNTRY! We would we leave our children to such as would go awry? We thought nothing of protecting our airports with automatic weapons when the terrorists came. Do we actually think that if we put gun free zone signs in the Airports that the terrorists would obey them? No, valuable things must be guarded from evil.
Now, that being said, I am a staunch supporter of mandatory gun training and registration. We register our cars, and we have to pass a test to get a license. We have to meet certain medical requirements or people could be killed by an unfit driver. We should require each gun buyer to acquire a license. That license would not be granted unless that person can pass a “I’m not crazy” medical exam. It would also be required that they attend and pass a gun training course. These courses should be heavy on safe operation of the gun. It should also be a pass/fail. The person should be able to demonstrate that they can operate the gun in a safe manner, and that they understand the concepts of gun safety. This license should also expire, and these courses and tests should be performed again at the time of renewal—unlike drivers licenses that pretty much get a free ride on renewals. These seem like common sense measures to me.
I would also be in favor of enforcing a gun design law. All manufacturers would be required to design in a gun lock into each new gun. Something that couldn’t be lost or removed. We do this for cars. Cars must have certain safety features. Why not for guns?
Of course, there are a lot of ideas floating around, and I’m not saying these are the best, and without problems, or the only ones to use. We can figure this out if we work together, and we must.