What I Am Thinking Today

I am a gun owner. Like almost all gun owners, I stand for reasonable gun safety legislation and enforcement. I spent a career working with kids and have heard too many stories of too many of them impacted by gun violence. While it will never completely go away, we have an obligation to do what we must end the epidemic of gun-related incidents.

A bit of an analogy. I enjoy a beer every now and again. I certainly respect laws against drinking and driving. These laws were not designed to prevent everyone from driving drunk. They do accomplish that for most of us, but more importantly, they provide society with consequences for those who choose to drive drunk. Unfortunately, too many people still die in accidents caused by drunk drivers.

No law is perfect. No law will prevent all bad things from happening. But the struggle continues, we are still searching for, and are committed to finding solutions in hopes of saving even more lives.

In every aspect of living except gun safety.

A minority of us are allowed to hide behind an interpretation of the Second Amendment and a definition of the phrase “shall not be infringed.”

Most of us were taught that rights and responsibilities cannot be separated. And most of us understand the concept. The majority of gun owners have no problem demonstrating our understanding. We understand that responsibility implies accountability for our actions. And if we cannot use our rights in a responsible manner, we can and should pay a price for the abuse of the rights and responsibilities.

As I understand it, if I were to be convicted of drunk driving, my drivers license would be suspended, I would possibly spend time incarcerated, my auto insurance rates would increase significantly, and the conviction cannot be erased from my record.

Why can’t we look at a similar set of consequences for those who do not understand the responsibilities of gun ownership? I am not advocating taking away the guns from responsible owners, it is neither needed nor necessary. But for some, the right to keep and bear arms should be infringed.

Sure, you say, people will always find a way to get a gun, legally or not. But to me, this doesn’t mean that we throw our hands up and continue to do nothing.

Laws agains driving drunk don’t keep irresponsible drinkers from getting behind the wheel. We tried banning alcohol once, it didn’t work out very well. Taking away guns won’t work any better.

When the wearing of seat belts was mandated by law, many objected as an infringement on their rights and courts ruled in their favor. When insurance companies began to link rates and premiums to seat belt use, the game changed and uncounted lives have been saved. I believe that if we look long enough an hard enough, we can get past the rhetoric and talking points and find solutions that many of us can continue to live with.

And so it goes…