Thoughts and Prayers

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families in Florida touched by the Valentine’s Day tragedy, and all families who have been touched by gun violence.

Thoughts and prayers are necessary and appropriate to extend, and although it may help families know we care, it doesn’t equate to action being taken to stop these tragedies.

There have been many memes, photos, videos and political cartoons about our nation and its love affair with guns, two of which have really stood out to me:

Both ring true to me. As a nation, we do seem to love our guns more than our kids. And, Congress does need to wash its hands of blood after each mass shooting since they are doing nothing to protect us, and importantly, our children, from easy access to all types of firearms.

I do not believe one cannot own a firearms, or even multiple firearms. I grew up with friends and relatives who had guns, who went hunting, who did target practice, and have even fired guns myself. A gun can make a person feel quite powerful—the heft and smell of the metal, the power of the kick when shot and controlling that kick, of the destruction a gun can wreck on a target—all things that gives one an adrenaline rush. There is nothing wrong with that feeling as long as one understands and is cognizant one should not use this power on another human except in the most dire of circumstances.

However, I do not believe owning a gun should be unfettered by common sense and good-for-society regulations.

I also do not believe we should militarize our schools and educators as a response. Already too many of our schools closely resemble prisons with metal detectors, security doors, keyed access, bars on windows and such. A school should be an inviting space. None of those things are inviting. The protections should come from society at-large taking the safety of our youngest citizens as a priority over unfettered access to firearms.

Here are the things I would like to see as common sense gun regulation, with the first two being retroactive for 10 years:

1) Background checks for all firearm purchases, whether at a store, a gun show or a private sale. (Something a super majority of Americans support).

2) Before one can pick-up a purchased firearm, proof of passing a certified firearm safety course must be presented.

3) Since the 2nd Amendment specifically mentions a well-regulated militia, all firearm owners must register as a member of one’s State National Guard to protect its citizens.

4) The sale of ammunition shall be regulated and monitored, as no one person shall be able to hoard large amounts of ammunition controlled, by a national database, which alerts if any one person is making a run on ammunition within a specified period of time. This would also make illegal any ammunition manufactured to pierce any type of armor or explode and its sale to a private citizen for personal use.

5) No one under the age of 21 shall be able to purchase a firearm.

6) Biolocks must be on all firearms. If it can be done on a phone, it can be done on a firearm.

7) Location trackers on all firearms, which may only be accessed if a firearm is used to commit a crime of any sort, so law enforcement may track where the firearm has been, if provided illegally and by whom.

8) Anyone on the No Fly List, has a restraining order in effect, has a current domestic abuse allegation or any conviction(s), diagnosed mental illness or incapacitation where a danger to self or others is present, or any current physical abuse allegation or any conviction(s) shall be denied, temporarily or permanently, the ownership or purchase of a firearm.

9) All firearms deemed of military- or assault-style, whose apparent sole purpose for manufacture is mass killing, shall be illegal to sale or purchase.

If nothing is done, and another mass shooting occurs, I believe it may be time to become a single issue voter and for all of us to look into a class action suit against Congress for not exercising their duty to pass laws and regulations to protect the people of the United States.

I, for one, will be contacting my elected officials at both the State and National levels to ask what legislation they are introducing to reduce gun violence. You are invited to join me in putting, and maintaining, pressure on elected officials to end this national disgrace.

Let’s make American safe again.

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