People who know me now wouldn’t recognize my politics back in the day. I used to vote as a Republican. Now I’m about as liberal as it gets. I also come from rural Mississippi and have deep roots in conservatism, country, and Southern culture, so I’m the odd man out when it comes to most residents in my native state or where I live now (Tennessee). My personal political arc may explain to you why a dedicated liberal like me somehow has so many conservative friends and family members who violently disagree with my views. They haven’t changed, but I have.
One of the things we knock heads about is gun control. It’s a bleeding-edge news topic every freaking week in our gun-happy country, but they’re just all shrugs and “More guns!” about it. (They totally want to say, “Thaaaaaaaanks, Obama,” too.)
Our country is seeing too many mass killings. Our cities (like nearby Memphis, Tenn.) are overrun with individual shootings and murders. The weekly police and sheriff reports I edit for my small newspaper almost always have a few cases of someone being robbed or threatened while looking down the barrel of a gun. We are fearful but complacent. But numbness and denial won’t protect us.
Enough is enough.
I stand 100% for stricter gun control laws. I stand with the 100+ organizations that are members of the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence. If I had my druthers, here’s what gun sales and ownership would look like in the U.S.:
- Forbidding people on the terrorism watch list from buying or owning guns.
- Required gun safety and maintenance training before guns can be purchased.
- Required gun liability insurance before guns can be purchased and before permits can be renewed. Even the freakin’ National Rifle Association (NRA) recommends buying this kind of insurance; see their endorsed policies here. I think it should be mandatory. Here’s what the NRA-endorsed policies would charge you as of June 22, 2016. It’s not that expensive, folks. Less than $17/month if you want their MOST expensive policy.
- Stricter scrutiny of applicants seeking to buy guns. I just read the Senate version of the “Fix Gun Checks Act of 2016” (SB2934) and see that there’s a mile-wide list of exceptions that should make gun fans feel relieved. How can anyone with a conscience oppose this?
- Commonsense restrictions on open carry practices. I feel less safe, not more, with armed knuckleheads and their itchy trigger fingers busily patrolling the aisles of stores. (Business owners: When I’m in your store and I see a weapon on someone other than a trained law enforcement officer in uniform, I leave without making a purchase.)