Fear not needed in gun debate

Published 6:07 am Sunday, April 14, 2013

Some people reading this letter believe that we need guns to protect ourselves from our government going rogue. Some of them also believe that we need guns to protect ourselves from another nation invading us. I really don’t know what back roads a person takes to get to this strange place.

I grew up with guns. For his 12th birthday, my older brother received a Remington, bolt-action, .22-caliber, single-shot rifle. At the age of 72 my brother still owns the rifle. I shot many squirrels with that rifle. (And, yes, we ate the squirrels.) My dad owned a 10-gauge shotgun; he used that to shoot one of our dogs who was getting into the neighbors chickens. We lived on a sheep farm nine miles south of Rochester.

Never once was it intimated by my father that we owned guns to fend off intruders, or to defend ourselves against our government, or to fight off an invading nation.

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About a year ago my brother gave my 17-year-old grandson an old, reconditioned Ithaca 12-gauge shotgun he has had for years — it works beautifully. And most recently my brother gave him a Henry 30-30, lever-action rifle — very striking and great for deer hunting up north.

None of the present or future gun laws would take any of these guns away. We will always have guns in our country. I’m totally in favor of responsible gun ownership. At age 15 our grandson received a certificate from an NRA-sanctioned training event just as I did in my youth.

But I will pass on the fear and paranoia mongering instructions from Wayne LaPierre and the NRA. Such pedaling does not serve our country well; it only serves the gun manufacturers. We have more guns in this country than any country in the world many times over and look how this makes our country so much safer.

If there is anything to fear it is the notion that in order for all of us to be safe going into the local grocery store, everyone needs to be carrying a gun. Can you imagine what it would be like if a demented individual came into a local grocery store shooting a gun? People would shoot first and then asks questions. Innocent people would be shooting each other.

Imagine a police officer walking into this mess. How would she or he know a person holding the gun was or wasn’t the crazy person?

If any person has any inclination to carry a gun to make the world safe for himself or others, I would plead, please leave the gun in the car or at home. I’ll take my chances without such help. But if someone desires to use a gun to go hunting, to go to the shooting range, may he or she enjoy the venture and do so with utmost safety.


Joel B. Erickson

Albert Lea