Native Writes: Gun control is a family matter


We send our children to school believing it is a safe place and then we go to worship in a church, which also must be safe, right?

After Columbine and Sandy Hook, I still believed in school safety, just more cautiously.

Church has always been a place to go, often alone or with fellow believers, to share thoughts and prayers with God.

I am still shaking over the shooting of men, women and children – young and old – in a tiny church in a small Texas town.

There is pain in my soul. I know many gun owners who would never think of doing what the latest shooter did. In fact, I believe those who might are in a very small minority.

No one should have his or her weapons confiscated by the government; in fact, the government should only do what it can to prevent future bloodshed by looking at the causes of the carnage.

People “flip out” and seek revenge, excitement or notoriety. Human life is unimportant to them at that boiling point.

I do feel some are “empowered” to act by the current political and social climate, but that can’t be a real factor. There is no way to know who the next mass shooter will be, what political party he or she votes with and where – or if—the person worships The Lord.

Most of the weapons were obtained legally, but the past of the shooters should have been on law enforcement radar. The last killer had been convicted of domestic violence and given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force, which somehow failed to enter that info in the National Crime Information Center, which is used by ethical gun merchants, as well as law enforcement.

He bought guns and passed the electronic checks mandated by the government, but there's no guarantee that failure would have kept him unarmed.  Today, one can be bona fide bonkers and denied access at all levels, but still find one greedy person who will sell him or her a gun. Looking at his photo, he appears to be another “good old boy.”

I have long believed mandatory background checks to be the best way to tell who shouldn’t own a gun. I have been called naïve, a believer in right and wrong, the rule of law, the Bill of Rights, the justice of the courts and decency of human nature and I felt that was a better way to effect gun control than confiscation.
People must pass tests to obtain driver’s licenses. Vehicles have been used as weapons of mass destruction recently, so that rigid vetting could be a key. Before being sold a gun, the buyer should take a course such as hunter safety, then pass not only a written test, but a test on the firing range. Not everyone is currently required to take the course. I would make it mandatory for purchasers of all ages.

After Columbine, one of my sons asked me if I, like the parents of the teen gunmen, would not have noticed weapons and bomb making components in their rooms or the garage. I had to laugh. I was probably too aware of what they were doing.

I still am. I know the grandchildren have no access to any weapons and should any one of them want to own one, there will be extreme interrogation at home. It’s family gun control.

Family. That’s the key. Teaching good morals, value of life and respect for others is legal and safe gun control.

The government can’t legislate morality, but families can.

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