I am going to write about a subject this month that is troubling to me and one that should be of concern for each of us. It is a subject that politicians “fear” because of the awesome power and influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the gun manufacturers. On a weekly – if not daily – basis we hear and read news of mass killings by individuals who have no logical reason to possess a handgun and who surely don’t need an assault rifle, which has only one real purpose and that is to kill folks, not animals. Innocent victims (many of them children) are being killed in these mass murders, which are taking place in our schools, shopping malls and even in places of worship.
These tragic events have become so commonplace that it no longer shocks us to hear of another mass murder on the evening news. We may even reach the point where we consider “only” three being killed not quite so bad, since many of the victims number 10 to 20 in some instances.
I feel that the American people have almost become callous to these tragic events. During the primary elections in our state not one candidate to my knowledge even mentioned the need to control the access to guns or to even have a system whereby a person has to undergo a background check before being able to buy an assault rifle or handgun.
I have great difficulty with allowing the NRA to dictate policy in this area of concern. I say this, having dealt with guns since I was a teenager growing up in Barbour County. I have owned pistols, shotguns and hunting rifles and still do. But to this day, I cannot understand why a hunter would need an assault rifle, with a magazine holding 30 rounds, to shoot a feeding deer from a tree stand. I certainly would not object to a system that would be designed to implement reasonable gun control. I believe that law enforcement personnel would agree with that position regardless of what the NRA says. Hopefully, most Americans would also agree.
How many more mass murders will there have to be before we wake up? My prayer is no more. I have prayed for guidance on the subject of gun control and am convinced that we must take action to stop the mass murders. We must also address the mental health issues – the internet issues – the video-games issues – as well as the unlimited access to guns. Doing one without addressing all of the others simply won’t work. Reasonable people should be able to take reasonable steps and begin to solve a problem that has been neglected for far too long. It will take courage for our elected leaders to say to the NRA, “enough is enough,” and take action. But before that will happen, the American people will have to demand action!
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