This is a controversial issue, evoking passion on different sides. There are hunters and ranchers in our area who need a gun. And there are those who believe they need a gun to protect themselves against intruders or even against an imagined government takeover.
But, of course, there is “collateral damage.” There are about 20,000 firearm-related suicides and 11,000 firearm-related homicides in the US each year. Tragically, 3,000 of those who die are children and teens.
This daily toll of intentional and accidental gun violence and carnage is not just due to the controversial assault rifles. While mass public shootings from rifles and shotguns get the headlines, handgun safety is another area that deserves attention. For example, 7,500 children are hospitalized each year with gunshot wounds, 80% of which came from handguns. Here is the testimony of a father who accidentally shot and killed his 2-month-old daughter on Christmas Eve, 2013. And here is the case of a man who accidentally shot himself and a friend in a busy restaurant on January 4, 2014.
Following the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Massachusetts, the majority of Americans say they are in favor of enhanced background checks on gun purchasers, but even this seemingly sensible step has been blocked by the gun lobby. We have also been reluctant to improve access to mental-health services, and thus have failed to address a central factor in the mass shootings.
Ronald Reagan supported a ban on assault rifles, and so do 65% of Americans.
Of special consideration is the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This article explains that the intent of the founding fathers was to protect the right of the states to establish and maintain their own militias. It was only in the most recent 30 years or so that radical, activist judicial opinions have interpreted the Second Amendment as applying to individual rights.
A major factor in mass shootings is the existence of removable magazines, which allow long guns and hand guns to be reloaded in seconds. Do we really need guns with removable magazines? What if we had a federal buy-back of those guns and turned back the clock to a time when a lone gunman could not become a mass murderer?
Let’s not turn away from the daily tragedy, or harden our hearts against finding sensible answers.
Paid for by the Baker County Democratic Central Committee,
and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.