Guns, violence and the need to think differently

I grew up hunting and shooting targets in the backyard like a lot of people in various parts of the US. Depending upon where you lived, you didn’t worry too much about whether you locked your door or not.

Things are different these days. Kids have a different sense of social connection. Many are desensitized to other people’s feelings and needs. I am a strong proponent of people being able to hunt and target shoot, but something needs to change. Too many people are dying because people who shouldn’t have weapons have them.

Each side is so entrenched that it is hard to have a good conversation about it. The feelings are the anti-gun lobby doesn’t think there is a reason for anyone to have any sort of firearms. The pro-gun lobby thinks if they give up anything it will be a slippery slope, and the other side will just continue to work away on taking their guns. The problem is there are valid concerns on both sides, and so neither side feels they are wrong or need to look at it a different way.

In large parts of the US, hunting is part of life. I don’t feel there is a reason to take that away from people. It isn’t like everyone wants to put meat on the table to displace what they can’t hunt any longer. We can’t afford to hire the number of animal control officers to deal with destructive animals like wild hogs and coyotes.

You also don’t want a handgun in the hands of someone who has serious mental issues. We see too many articles and news stories on what can happen when people who shouldn’t have access to firearms get them. America does a horrible job of dealing with mental health issues. It is a huge problem, but it gets highlighted when a lot of people end up getting shot.

Gang violence is still a thing in different parts of the country. Granted, without access to firearms they would use something else but there wouldn’t be innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire on a regular basis.

So my questions are, do people need to be able to own rifles and shotguns? Yes, in my view. It is part of their life, they can’t be concealed easily, and there isn’t a good reason to take them from people other than some are uncomfortable with them. Do people need handguns? Not so much. If you are one of the very talented people that hunt with handguns, that is awesome. Register for them like you do a class 3 weapon. You have to go through a full background check, make sure you are mentally sound, etc. Do you want to shoot at a range? Great! Rent one from the range. You want to own one and customize the heck out of it? Great! Register it. But I need a self-defense gun you say… Handguns are lousy for self-defense… use a home-defense shotgun. That’s what they are for; they don’t go through walls, and it is hard to miss what you are aiming at with a shotgun.

Should we tighten up the background check to make sure proper checks are done on people even before they buy a rifle or shotgun? I believe we should. You can wait a few days to get a new rifle if needed. If you plan so poorly that you come in the day before you are going hunting, you probably shouldn’t own a gun at this point in your life.

I wish the anti-gun side would realize there are really good reasons for owning a gun and just because they don’t own a gun doesn’t mean no one else should be allowed to. The pro-gun side needs to understand that a lot of damage is done by people who never should have had a gun and are able to get them legally or through a loophole.

Something needs to change. We need to have a reasonable conversation about responsible gun ownership and making sure people who shouldn’t have them, don’t. I truly hope we get this figured out soon.

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