Monday, December 17, 2012

Enough is Enough

I just sent this letter to Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin:

These past few weeks have shocked us over and over again with senseless killings due to gun violence. It's not just the Newtown shooting, as horrific as that was. It's the Clackamas Mall shooting in Portland. It's the killing of Selina Brown and the wounding of her daughter Kodie by her father as they boarded a bus in DC. It's the shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, the shooting of Gabrielle Gifford and others in Arizona, and before that, the Beltway Sniper, the shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, the individual shootings that claim so many young lives in the District… well you get the picture. Over and over and over again, someone with easy access to guns decides to claim some fame or revenge, and there is so very little to stop them from acting on their impulse.

I am not advocating a complete ban on private gun ownership. I grew up in a town with a strong hunting culture. I have friends in rural areas who need to protect their livestock, and who cannot wait a half hour or more for the police to arrive if an armed intruder is prowling around their homes. I know that business owners must have some means of protecting against armed criminals. Legitimate gun ownership is not the problem here.

However, I can see no legitimate reason for civilian citizens to own assault weapons, semiautomatic weapons, high-volume ammunition clips, and other weapons best left to the military and law enforcement professionals. Even if there were legitimate uses, surely these instances are rare enough that we can give up access to these weapons to serve the greater good.

Certainly, someone in an insane rage can kill using a knife, a baseball bat, or even bare hands. But such a person, acting alone, cannot kill scores of people in a few short minutes. Only someone armed with a rapid-fire gun can do that.

We require people to register their cars, pass routine inspections, and carry liability insurance. We require drivers to demonstrate proficiency and familiarity with the laws of the road, and we take away their licenses if they violate these laws too often. We require additional qualifications and special licenses for people wishing to drive big-rig trucks and Metro buses. Surely we can institute similar safeguards for gun ownership and use? All that is lacking is the political will to stand up to well-funded special interest groups -- the NRA in particular. Congress is in a lame-duck session right now, and many of your colleagues have nothing to lose by pushing for gun control legislation before they leave office. The nation has been shocked and horrified by one mass killing after another, and people are pleading for some kind of concrete action to curb the violence. Now is the time to say, "enough is enough" and push through the legislation that we need. Australia did it in 1996. We can do it now. Please.

Your constituent,
Nancy McGuire

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.