When I was a small girl spending summers near my grandparents in Wisconsin my grandfather, who was almost 90 by this time, would pull his lawn chair into the yard, grab his shotgun and commence shooting at red squirrels. I never knew what he had against them, and the fact that I considered each and every one of them to be personal friends created a.....shall we say....difference of opinion between grandpa and I. Fact is, I hated his guts. I begged him not to shoot them. I cried and wailed and once even tried to knock his chair over. I did not do that again, nor did I sit comfortably for a good long time. My old grandfather and his horrible shotgun were my first experiences with guns. There have been a few others.
I am related to hunters. Every year they head north with their guns and their beer and they have a good 'ol time killing innocent animals. That first kill is a big deal and they hoot and holler like they won the lottery instead of ended a life. (Over population? Don't go there with me. I know it exists. I also know there are better ways to to deal with the problem. ) No matter how many ways you try to frame it, lying in wait to kill an animal that has done nothing whatsoever to harm you is not sport. It's murder.
I dated a boy in high school who was a farmer. Every now and again he had to go out and kill a coyote who threatened their flock and every time he killed one he cried. He cried and he begged the others to please eat the rats in the fields and to stay away from the flock. I loved that about that boy. I think, if it was possible, he hated guns even more than I do.
In my adult years I have done my best to put as much distance as possible between a gun and myself. I once mistakenly walked into the gun department at Cabelas and after a horrified moment I backed out of there in a great hurry. I had no idea, none whatsoever, there were so many different kinds of guns. I've known people who owned guns and have been offered an opportunity to learn to shoot a gun (he was a police officer and a kind man trying to help...I think). Guns were created for one purpose and one purpose only, to kill. It's as simple and complicated as that. To. Kill. My life can have no connection to that. None at all.
In response (better late then never?) to the rash of inconceivable school shootings over the last several years our esteemed President has outlined a plan to tighten gun control. Among other things he wants to strengthen background checks, limit magazines to 10 rounds, improve mental health services and ban assault weapons. After reading the entire document I can't see that he's proposing anything outrageous or even very limiting. If you are a responsible gun owner, and if I'm being honest I'm not sure there is such a thing, but assuming there is, it should not affect you at all. Nobody, unless you are military, needs an assault weapon. Go ahead and try and convince me otherwise. I dare you.
And yet, the cries of FOUL are loud and numerous and I'm more than a little stupefied. There are plenty of what we consider to be 'rights' that are regulated. Certainly the right to own a killing machine ought to come with more than rudimentary strings attached. Apparently, the assault weapon is a gateway gun, if you will. The first opening in the door to remove all guns. If you take away the gun that can blast it's way through an entire neighborhood, what's next? What if I need to protect myself against an intruder, or use the butt end to knock some sense into my wife? I might want to kill myself someday, or maybe my angst ridden teenagers who have no idea where I keep the guns and ammo (of course they do) might want to off themselves. What about the zombie apocalypse? At what point did we begin viewing guns as a basic "right" and stop seeing them as objects of death that bring with them serious moral and ethical consequences?
In my perfect world there are no guns, but I don't live in that world, nor will I ever. It is unreasonable to even consider the possibility of disarming the country, but taking some steps to try and make the citizens of this country a little more safe from those that would use fire arms in the worst possible way, that is a very, very good idea and one I support. Good job, Mr. President. Make it so.