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Guns—quite possibly the most polarizing topic in society today, both in person and on social media. I have some friends who decry the use of guns by anyone. Other friends talk openly about carrying a firearm for their protection.
My kids are growing up in Nashville, where guns are aren't all that uncommon. Firearms, open carry laws, regulations surrounding it all have sparked heated conversations nationwide. These are conversations that should happen.
Guns are, all too obviously, deadly weapons and have
been used too many times to take hundreds of innocent
lives. They are the source of blame for mass shootings, like the one in San Bernadino, Calif., in December, which left 14 dead and 18
injured. Or the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, which President Obama referenced in his speech today on common sense gun safety reform, reminding everyone through tears about the 20 students and six
adults were killed by guns at an elementary school.
Guns also needlessly took the lives of almost 700 children
in 2015 (according to GunViolence.org)—children who were for the most part
victims of their parent or caregiver's carelessness. Which is a number we all need to take seriously.
I don't carry a gun. I never have, and I never, ever will.
But I will staunchly support anyone who chooses to.
This includes my husband.
Yes, we have guns in our house. Two, to be exact. My husband
has a carry permit and started carrying when he found himself in a precarious
situation at work several years ago, long before we were together. I grew
up around guns, always locked away and never accessible, which is how we treat
them in our family. I believe every legal, law-abiding citizen
should have the right to carry. Likewise, that right should be taken
away from those who use guns for harm.
Maybe most mass shootings have been stopped by someone carrying a gun.
We have a 3-year-old boy and are in the process of
adopting a 1-year-old girl. Safety is, by far, our top priority. We
keep our guns far away from where our child, or any other child, could ever get
them. We own—and use—a gun safe. We remind our son, often, that if he ever
sees a gun, he should run away and tell a grown-up. He knows to never, ever touch it.
This is a controversial decision, gun ownership and parenting. I've politely
nodded my head while someone rants over lunch about how guns should be banned.
I've read all the posts on Facebook about how dangerous they are.
I get it. I
To be honest, I was kind of ambivalent about the entire subject,
until I heard an argument between two friends: one argued the right to carry, the other said all guns should be banned.
The one speaking out against guns said, and I quote, "No
mass shooting has ever been stopped by a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun."
And then I thought, maybe that sentence should be turned
around. Maybe most mass shootings have
been stopped by someone carrying a gun. Maybe they don't make the news because
there is no news.
Case in point: On April 20, 2015, in Chicago, an Uber driver,
legally carrying a gun, shot and killed a gunman who opened fire on a crowd.
Or, in Philadelphia on March 22, 2015, an irate customer started firing shots
inside a barbershop following a fight. A man walking by, carrying a gun
legally, heard the noise and rushed inside, fatally shooting the man before he
could do any more harm.
President Obama announced today that he was introducing
legislation to tighten rules for background checks for buyers,
effectively closing the "gun show loophole," which allowed people to buy guns
privately and thus avoid a background check. He also wants to initiate plans to
create "smart guns," much like smart phones.
I'd love a world with no guns. I'd love to walk down the street and not wonder if the car slowing down is about to pull out a gun and aim it at me.
"If a child can't open a bottle of aspirin," the
President said in his speech, "we should make sure they can't pull a trigger on
Hopefully, this will move our country in the right
direction. We do have too many mass shootings. We have far too many people
needlessly dying at the hands of someone mentally ill, or someone who, for
whatever reason, intends to harm. But taking away guns isn't the answer.
Norway, for example, allows citizens to carry, with strict requirements. They are considered one of the safest countries in the world boasting one of the
lowest crime rates.
I'd love a world with no guns. I'd love to walk down the
street and not wonder if the car slowing down is about to pull out a gun and
aim it at me. I'd love to sit in a movie theater and not suspiciously eye the
person slouching in the corner with a gym bag at his feet. I'd love to walk
through a crowd of people and not think about what would happen if someone
randomly started firing.