I grew up in a family of hunters and farmers in Texas. I understand guns. I even appreciate guns. The venison we ate in my childhood home was healthier than store-bought meat. The memories I have of sitting around the campfire at the end of a day of hunting are irreplaceable. I learned gun safety and the value of life. To kill a creature is a serious matter. My father taught me to shoot with precision because life is important and not to be taken lightly.
Beyond hunting, a gun can be an important farm tool to protect baby chicks from snakes, to keep coyotes from foraging on newborn calves, even to end Old Bossie's life rather than to see her suffer her way to cow heaven.
I get guns.
Today, another school shooting took place. It seems that a student in Littleton, Colorado, used a gun to injure two other students then kill himself.
Friends, we have a gun problem.
Yes, I know all about the Second Amendment. And I don't give a damn what Wayne LaPierre says. (By the way, he makes $970,000 a year. And the NRA rakes in $220 Million a year. I don't think they're in the business for Constitutional rights. I think they're in it for money.)
Since the Newtown shooting a year ago, there has been a school shooting once every two weeks. We have a gun problem. They're too easy to get, too easy to use wrongly, and in the hands of the wrong people.
I think that every person in this country who wants to own a gun should have to undergo a background check and be required to take a lengthy and thorough gun safety course. Even if they're buying the gun from a friend, at a gun show or online. If we require potential barbers to be trained, take lengthy courses and have licenses we should ask the same of potential gun owners.
Will this kind of regulation stop criminals of owning guns? Not all of them. Maybe some. But the shooters at Newtown and in Colorado and Virginia Tech weren't street thugs. That's a different issue.
Drug-related gang violence, mental heath care, and a culture of violence are problems too. Huge, systemic problems. Addressing those is a must. But that will take time.
At the same time, background checks, education, waiting periods and licenses for gun owners make very good sense. Now.
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