Now before you read this and make a snap judgement based on whether or not you support gun control I’d like to lay a few ground rules.
- I think it’s unwise to equate 2nd amendment rights to patriotism. Someone who wants to have a conversation about gun control as a way to save innocent lives is not unpatriotic. Unwillingness to engage in any conversation that puts firearm regulation on the table can be very counterproductive. Think about it this way, if you are closed to the notion that there should be any regulations at all regarding your right to bear arms and you don’t want the government to dictate how you exercise your 2nd amendment rights, you firmly in the Pro Choice camp, with all the implications that holds…
- I am a gun owner. I put in for the deer hunt every year. I have guns locked in a safe, unloaded and separated from ammunition. I teach my children to respect guns and show them how to handle them safely.
- I’m tired of hearing that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. It is certainly true but it skirts the real point that guns kill people better. Let’s start working towards solutions not excuses.
I still remember where I was the day that I heard about the shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. I have elementary age children and the events that played out really hit home hard to me. It was the first time I really felt that something needed to be done about assault rifles. I have friends who own assault rifles and they’re really cool. It’s almost easy to forget how lethal they are. They come with optics, stabilizers, oversized magazines and bump stocks. The recent assault in Las Vegas demonstrated how deadly these guns are. One man was able to fire approximately 1,100 rounds over 400 yards into a crowd. Concealed Carry is no good against an AR at distance.
What is the solution? I don’t have the best answers but I have some ideas. Let’s start there. Saying that our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims each time this happens without actually working toward solutions is beginning to sound trite. The first step is to require all firearms to be registered to their owners. This is similar to vehicle registration. Aside from the fact that Utah changed the legislation to make vehicle registration a fee instead of a tax so we can’t claim in on our income deductions I think that most reasonable people will be amenable to this responsible solution. Legislators can craft stiff penalties for non-compliance. There will be no retaliation for owning a gun (or a hundred guns) legally, but you better believe that owning a bunch of assault rifles will be flagged. I strongly feel that regulating the gun market is a step in the right direction in getting ahead of potential incidents.
Second, let’s take a look at open carry and concealed permits. I am supportive of the right to carry but I believe that it should be done responsibly. Let’s ensure that those who carry in public have the proper training. My litmus test for this is a close acquaintance. In her zeal to flaunt her 2nd amendment rights she took a concealed permit class and was soon carrying a loaded pistol to the supermarket. The problem is that my sister is 1,000% more likely to discharge her firearm in a bathroom stall or a restaurant than actually defend herself in an active shooter situation. Many of you might know someone who is also likely to be unintentionally dangerous to others. Can we agree that requiring training and passing a more rigorous course than what is currently out there is a positive way to allow the citizens of Utah to exercise their 2nd amendment rights in a responsible manner?
Finally, if you made it this far I appreciate your time. I may not have the best answer to this issue but I hope we can agree that something needs to be done. If we can save just one child I’d like to think our efforts will have been worth it. Let’s stop making excuses and start working on solutions. I found a really good article written by former NBA All-Star Steve Nash that I thought was really well written. While I don’t agree with him line-item, I do think he articulates this issue well, it’s worth a read: (https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/steve-nash-gun-violence)