Even gun owners should support sensible controls

Frank Brocker /

Published Feb 1, 2013 at 04:00AM

It is absolutely amazing to me to see the resistance of our elected leaders to attempts at controlling gun violence in the U.S. Even moderate efforts of the Biden group toward an assault rifle ban or more complete background checks are resisted. The strongest opposition seems to come from an organization that should know better, the National Rifle Association. The NRA seems to have a number of congress members and state legislators marching to “NRA instructions.”

That is sad because one can only imagine how effective NRA leadership might be if combined with a total effort toward sensible gun control.

Why would any responsible person oppose such efforts? The idea that an attempt to control the selling and use of guns would weaken and erode gun owners’ rights is ludicrous. Escalating and increasing gun violence in the U.S. is, or surely ought to be, the concern of every citizen. Guns are obviously not the sole cause of death-dealing violence, but they most certainly have made the problem worse.

When I was a young boy, I had my share of youthful arguments and fights. Most were verbal, a few got physical. I remember a time or two when I feared losing a few teeth in such fights. But never once did I fear losing my life. Today’s young people or adults cannot be so confident.

I grew up on a Wisconsin farm where I learned to shoot a rifle early and well. While never a hunter, even today I could find much pleasure testing my marksmanship on a firing range or plinking tin cans in a gravel pit. I have no quarrel with the responsible ownership of guns for hunting or target shooting. But it is painfully clear that gun use in the U.S. has gone way beyond responsibility and accountability.

How many school children, patrons of a movie theater or other innocents have to die before we say enough? We are involved in escalating violence made worse by misuse of guns. No other Western nation even comes close to our per capita rate of violent death caused by guns. The bumper sticker slogan, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” may be true on the surface. But guns sure make that killing easier!

No one is suggesting that proposed legislation or control efforts would end all gun violence or curtail all criminal activity. This is a beginning of an effort to bring order back to our lives and our streets. If gun control laws can keep one gun off a school ground or prevent one emotionally disturbed person from adding to the arsenal on our streets, they are well worth passing.

I call upon all thinking people to call our leaders to responsible leadership. Challenge NRA members to use their significant influence to work with political leaders and law enforcement to help curtail the spread of violence. Ask them to put the well-being of everyone above the self-serving interests of the few. Let’s all accept the challenge facing us, seeking an end to the death-dealing violence that threatens to overwhelm us.

I’m sure I join all Americans in never wanting to see again the pain and suffering of parents — parents who have just lost a little girl or boy killed at the hands of a crazed individual who all too easily obtained the means to kill.

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