Reflection on School Shooting and the Need for Gun Control

Now that my kids are hugged and safely in bed, and I am sipping a glass of Shiraz, I am trying to come to grips with today’s events.  I feel the need to express my thoughts on the topic of gun violence and gun control.

Glock 17 handgunI feel that taking up the call of gun control is critically important in our nation for our kids and our families, but the calling is not mine to champion.  I believe that addressing climate change is far more important and my true calling.

That said I have a number of things to express on the topic.

I am a gun owner, shot pistol competitively in college, was trained as an NRA instructor and am the parent of three young children.

Now is most definitely the time to engage in a thoughtful, heated, impassioned debate on gun control and gun violence, but the debate must remain civil and at the end of the day accomplish meaningful change.  I have already witnessed pointless name calling like “Libtard” and “kooks” today and all it did was derail any actual useful dialog.

The slaughter of 20 kindergarteners and 6 adults is horrible.  They were shot by 20 year old with multiple guns.  Before we jump to banning this or that, we need to figure out what happened.  Questions like, what guns were used? how large were the magazines? how did he acquire the guns? what led up to this? all need to be answered before we talk about specific methods for addressing the issue.

We must figure out what problems we are trying to solve with legislation.  Only then we can debate what measures might be effective at accomplishing that.

  • Will we be able to ensure another mass shooting like just happened in Newtown, CT will never happen again?
    NO!
  • Will we be able to keep criminals from obtaining firearms?
    NO!
  • Will we be able to make it harder for some people to obtain guns?
    Yes
  • Will that prevent future shooting deaths of children?
    I hope so

We need to study gun violence, mass shootings and individual murders, so that we can determine if legislation will actually have the impacts we desire.  What portion of those guns used in such crimes were obtained legally?  What reasonable hurdles could have been imposed to prevent those murderers from obtaining lethal weapons.

I am in favor of citizens being able to obtain and safely possess firearms.  Should there be limits? Yes.  Should some people be prevented legally from obtaining guns? Yes.  I am not under the illusion that it is exclusively people that kill, not the guns.  Guns are a tool.  A tool that was designed with the sole purpose of killing.  In the end (except for true accidents – many of which could and should be avoided) there is a person behind the gun that is pulling the trigger and killing someone in front of the gun.  To me the key is in preventing people who are at a high risk of committing such a horrible act from legally obtaining a gun.  How we do that is going to be a big challenge and should be a heated debate.  One that we must begin now and refine as we go forward.

I also do not have the misconception that we will prevent all such horrible acts from happening in the future.  Even with a bolt action rifle, a well-trained soldier or terrorist can take countless lives and all the laws in the world will not stop that.  I know we can make such events less likely by implementing smart gun controls and providing better mental health screening and treatment.

Hug your kids!
Jon



Comments

  1. I agree with you … and I think additionally the accessibility, cost & perception of mental health care needs to also change. We should as a society make it harder to get weapons and easier to get heathcare. I know that even with my great medical insurance I’m only covered for 54 visits a year… not enough for those who truly need more care. I also know that there is still a stigma that goes along with mental healthcare (that it is only for the crazy).

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