Native Writes: Keep the guns, learn the lessons

Once again, people everywhere in our nation are faced with the question of gun control.

Hundreds of young people are marching on capitol buildings across the nation asking that something be done to prevent another massacre in another school building, such as the one that took 17 lives last week – on Valentines Day, a day of love.

They are being treated with disrespect, both by elected officials and gun owners who recoil in fear of losing their weapons.

Recalling when the voting age was dropped from 21 to 18, I remember the people who opposed it because they didn’t think “children” knew enough about life to vote for the common good.

They know now. We are seeing the faces of students who watched as their friends and peers died needlessly. These young people and many of their parents and other supportive adults are begging for help in preventing future schoolhouse massacres. This should be a message to the people who can do something about it.

The youngsters marching for gun control today are aware that it won’t be easy. They already have been targets of disrespect, up to accusations of being “tools” of the “horrible people who would confiscate all the guns.”

Many of the children marching today will be 18 by 2018 and almost all will be able to vote in 2020.

Refusing to hear them now may change the picture of government tomorrow. Wouldn’t doing something today be a good investment in the future?

We were warned that Ronald Reagan would send troops to take away all weapons and ammunition outlawed by the Brady Bill. It didn’t happen and “Saturday night specials,” cheap handguns sold through magazine ads and “newspapers” at grocery store check stands.

Later, we heard warnings that Barack Obama was coming to take our guns. I put the one handgun I owned next to the front door, put several bottles of Samuel Adams beer in the fridge and had some green chili in the freezer, ready to heat when he came. Why? I would ask him to come in and talk about his intentions toward gun owners.

He never came. I pretty much knew he wouldn’t.

His successor promised, while running, that all guns would be safe, so I heated the chili, popped the cap on a beer and enjoyed the peace.

Here in the San Luis Valley, we have had the good fortune to live with weapons. We have great hunter safety programs and families who send forth the message that the rifles and shotguns should be used properly. “Don’t kill anything you aren’t prepared to eat.”

The schools have law enforcement officers on board and stringent security measures preventing unauthorized persons from entering the classrooms. Putting armed guards in every school may work in the cities, but wouldn’t a required hunter safety course for every student entering junior high or even high school do the job?

Keep the guns, just teach what they are for and how to use them.