I am a gun owner.
I am neither proud nor ashamed of that fact. It is simply a fact. I have been properly trained in the handling, shooting, and storing of my guns, and I follow the law. I do not believe that the Second Amendment gives me any right at all to own guns. However, the laws of Massachusetts and Florida do, and that’s what I follow.
While I have concealed-carry permits in both states, I have never carried a concealed weapon. If I’m going into an area or a situation where I think I should carry a weapon I just don’t go there. Common sense, really.
If you don’t agree with me about guns, I have no problem with that. Change the laws and I will abide by them. However, I’m not sure I understand why you may be upset with me for doing something for which I am trained and licensed, and which is perfectly legal in every way. I believe there are millions of gun owners who feel as I do, and we need to speak up. In any large group there are a certain number of crazy people, and we can’t let them speak for those of us who are responsible gun owners. I’m not going to let them do it. I’m speaking up right here.
There are many legitimate reasons for wanting to own guns. Hunting, target shooting, and self defense are some of them. I also believe that there are some things that responsible gun owners don’t need:
Automatic weapons, or any add-on or modification that can turn a semi-automatic into a fully automatic weapon.
Large-capacity clips have no real purpose other than to let a bunch of yahoos shoot off dozens of rounds without having to reload. If you need more than seven bullets to do anything sensible, then you need to turn in your gun because you don’t know how to shoot.
Certain ammunition should be banned. There is no good reason why a law-abiding gun owner needs to have armor-piercing bullets. We need to look carefully at ammunition and decide what needs to be banned.
My recommendation is that we start there. Congress should immediately ban any automatic weapons or anything that can convert a weapon into fully automatic. Congress should also ban any clip or device that permits more than seven bullets to be fired without reloading.
Gun laws vary from state to state, and it’s insane. Congress should immediately pass a national gun registry that would allow a potential gun owner to be checked on a national basis. Close the gun-show loopholes, and everyone who wants a gun must pass the same background check, wait a reasonable time for a proper check to be done, and absolutely must pass a reasonable training program to be sure they understand the proper handling and safety requirements of the gun they want to buy.
Congress should enact a Buy Back Program where the government will pay retail value for any weapons that are turned in. This program should also include amnesty for any automatic weapon turned in, and include extended magazines and modification devices. This way gun owners will not be able to claim they were financially harmed. The program should run for six months, and after that let’s make it real simple: if you’re caught using a gun in the commission of a felony, its an automatic five-year jail sentence. If you kill a person with a gun, its an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole. If you kill more than three people—which I would define as a “mass killing”—you get the death penalty. No appeal, no commutation, we simply don’t want you around anymore.
There are more things we need to do, but these are fairly simple and straightforward and could be done within a reasonable time period. We also need to define classes of people who should never own a gun, and we should figure out how to make that happen.
None of these things are going to eliminate mass shootings, but they are simple steps to move us toward a society where kids don’t have to worry about going to school and getting shot.