Stepping in to a hornets nest, but a topic that seems unavoidable… I am a gun owner, which I find to be an odd declaration to state on a public forum, not for any particular reason but obviously admitting to such comes with quite a bit of baggage and potentially a host of preconceived judgments these days. I am a gun owner but until very recently did not consider myself a gun owner and had never even really thought about it. I am a gun owner who is neither proud, nor embarrassed by the fact that I own guns – a Beretta 12 gauge for skeet and a Kimber Crimson Carry for target / sport.
I am appalled by the gun violence that we have in the US. It is an unspeakable travesty and it must be addressed. Guns kill people, we would be much better off with fewer guns available to anyone and everyone, however, I think we all sadly know that’s never going to happen. The ease with which anyone can purchase a firearm should scare people, it scares me.
We need tougher gun laws, but more importantly we also need more consistent gun laws. This past June 2015, Chris Van Hollen introduced a bill to Congress, Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act, this is in my opinion an excellent bill. The idea is quite simple, where the Department of Justice would have a grant program for States that agree to a common licensing standard – all hand gun owners, purchasers must be at least 21 years old, apply for a license at a local / State law enforcement agency, submit to a background and criminal history check and submit fingerprints and photograph with application. I would go one step further whereby every licensee would need to past a minimum safety and proficiency class. It seems as if the bill has little chance of succeeding but the effort alone is worth it.
I’m okay with the local Sheriff / law enforcement agency knowing that I have a firearm, knowing which of my neighbors have firearms. It would make me even happier knowing that my neighbors who do have firearms have also been well trained in their use. That they’re responsible and well educated and have been properly vetted.