Issue is gun safety

Sadly, the issue of common-sense regulation of guns has been stymied by fearmongering and lobbying efforts on the part of the NRA and myriad state laws - some stricter, some lax - rather than sound federal policy.

The issue is not "gun control," which sounds like a move to take guns from citizens, but rather gun safety.

Toward that end, we need federal laws that include gun licensure and a ban on large-capacity (greater than 10 rounds) ammunition magazines.

These two steps are supported by research conducted by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Gun Policy and Research.

Gun licensure would require all commercial gun dealers and private sellers to follow rules applied to potential buyers - namely, an in-person application to own a gun contingent upon a background check by law enforcement and fingerprinting.

It would also make sense to require gun owners to complete a gun safety course with periodic refresher courses, and to pass a law requiring that gun owners store weapons in a locked case, with the gun unloaded, and the ammunition also locked up. This could minimize or eliminate accidental shootings whereby children access a loaded gun and kill themselves or a peer. We also know that "successful" suicides are aided and abetted by access to a gun. So, a focus on gun safety could reduce the number of suicides.

The Second Amendment was written and adopted at a time when the U.S. population was relatively small and the most commonly held weapons were a single-shot musket, a rifle or flintlock pistol. These weapons were expensive, had to be reloaded by hand with powder after every shot, were not very accurate and required skill. Thus, the notion of someone just picking up a gun, loading it with a metal projectile and shooting it multiple times in quick succession was not considered by the authors of the Second Amendment.

Let's pressure our do-little, contentious Congress to put aside culture wars, investigations, fighting and "performance" and work on solving real problems like gun safety (and then move on to immigration, climate change, economic prosperity, etc.).

Kim Freitag


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