Right Does Not Have To Mean Easy

The last several days have been ones of hard thinking for me. First because it amazes me how divergent we can be in our thinking when it comes to certain things, and second because I’ve had to admit to myself that my own views on things are not always as solid as I think they are. I realize as I write that this is a good thing.

Lets consider the tragedy in Newtown, CT last Friday. My gut reaction, as it was across the country and around the world, was one of horror and shock. My initial concern was for those 20 young boys and girls, and the 6 educators that were killed that morning. I vowed later that same day, that the immediate influx of headlines about gun control and poor mental health care were wrong, and that we needed to first learn about and mourn for the victims and their families.

I held that belief until sometime a couple of days later, probably later Sunday, when I was almost wholly consumed with the thought that guns are the problem, and that along with fixing how we care for the broken among us, we can’t lose sight of the fact that people owning guns is wrong. I was thinking that we needed to remove guns. Period.

Today, after prayerful reflection, reading the words of friends on both “sides” of the “gun” issue, and listening to others I respect, I am not so certain about that.

I personally believe that there is no good reason to own a gun today. I do not hunt, target shoot, etc. I have no fear, grounded or otherwise that I am likely to be threatened. And I will not give into the idea that threats are commonplace and we all need to arm ourselves. That said, I am, at this moment, not ready to take everyone’s guns away.

I would take away immediately, the right to own any weapon capable of holding more than 6 rounds. I would take away the right to own accessories or equipment that make it possible to fire more than a single round with each trigger pull. I would take away the right to own military style weapons and equipment. I would take away the right to own scopes or vision enhancing equipment.

I would require every weapon to be licensed by an adult aged 21 or older. I would require a license for each weapon, to a maximum of 2 per registrant. Each license would require a 30 day waiting period, after having taken and passed written, oral, and weapons qualification tests, and after providing a statement from medical and mental health professionals that the licensee is sound physically and mentally at the time.

Each license would need to be renewed every year. Any violation of civil or criminal statutes would result in immediate revocation of the licenses, and immediate forfeiture of all weapons licensed. If convicted, these forfeitures are permanent. No carry permits would be issued, and transport of weapons require the weapons to be contained in secure safes.

To start with.

I’m sure there are holes in everything I wrote, and arguments for why I’m a genius and an idiot both. I’m happy to oblige everyone.

As to me, I am a veteran of military service and managed to qualify as an expert marksman with the M16A1 rifle. I am a husband. I am a parent. A former Scout leader and current soccer coach. I identify as a Progressive Episcopal Christian in matters of religion and faith. I enjoy action films and video games, understanding them to be fiction. I’m on the fence about their contribution to good or evil.

It may be our right, but it can’t be easy. Remember Newtown. What we do for the least of us, we do for all of us.

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