Don’t gun owners want protection?

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thanks to Doug Schultz for continuing the discussion on the important issue of gun control.

Although it is not true that I am “bemoaning” the Second Amendment (I support it), nor am I blaming guns for the violence (I recommend it be the owners who are held responsible), Doug seemed to completely miss my point: As we enjoy this freedom, we should acknowledge that the freedom is not free — it costs us more than 80 innocent deaths per day, the equivalent of 47 Aurora tragedies every week. (See “Shooting deaths cost every family,” July 28.)

Surely the lost lives of 12 Americans every four hours in our country are just as valuable as the victims in Aurora. What are we doing to protect them?

I do appreciate Doug’s analogy of comparing gun ownership to automobile ownership. His perspective makes more sense than the gentleman who wrote me comparing guns to spoons to say he was “mad as hell” at spoons because they made him fat. He didn’t seem to realize that it was he who chose how to use the spoon, but many victims do not choose to be killed by another’s gun.

As a nation, we have been smart enough to realize the high cost of not demanding responsibility from car owners, and therefore have placed requirements on vehicle ownership for the safety of all Americans. It makes sense that we pay the same respect to neighbors when it comes to gun ownership.

Perhaps Doug will join me in helping to establish legislation that would demonstrate compassion to our fellow citizens by establishing minimum standards for gun owners, as we do for car owners.

As a start, the following actions do not deny citizens the right to own guns, honoring the Second Amendment, but do help us all remain responsible for our ownership, as with those that own cars:

1. Require background checks for legal violations and physical/mental disabilities for those buying guns to better insure public safety.

2. Require each gun owner register (“title”) their gun at each point of sale so that the owner can be held responsible for its use if it causes damage to others.

3. Have each gun owner receive training and pass a test to show they have the ability to use their gun safely, and receive a license that confirms that fact.

4. Require each gun owner to buy liability insurance to cover any damage to others in the event their gun hurts someone (outside of protecting the “security of the free state”).

Surely Doug would not have any objection to helping provide safety to his fellow Americans while he enjoys his freedom of gun ownership. What do you say, Doug, are you willing to join me in this effort?

I invite other community members to engage in this public discussion as well, as it is by listening to each other and working together we find the best solutions for all.

David Larson

Albert Lea