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ENGLEHAUPT: 8 thoughts on gun safety

Carrying a weapon is a personal choice. 

I would be opposed to taking away that choice. That said, a gun has one purpose. It is designed to take a life, or at the very least, damage a living entity. (I'm not talking about the sport of target shooting but even as a sport there is training and safety that is always front and center).

I've been watching the debates and opinions going on the last few days and thinking about where I stand. These are ideas and thoughts that have gone through my mind.

1. Name calling and getting defensive will not solve the problem.
2. Putting more guns in the hands of people who do not want that responsibility will not solve the problem. It occurred to me that requiring more guns to be brought into the equation lines the pockets of the people making the guns. That seems a conflict of interest to me.
3. Taking guns away from people who already own them is futile. There is no way to adequately make this solution work. It’s unenforceable without using illegal force and, most likely, would cause even more destruction and damage.
4. We require extensive training and licensing before allowing an individual to drive a car. At the very least, owning a lethal weapon should require the same amount of training.
5. When a driver misuses his vehicle, no matter what the cause, his right to drive is taken away. Sometimes for a short time, sometimes for years, and sometimes for life. Misusing a lethal weapon should carry the same sorts of penalties.
6. Mental health issues, even some physical ailments, a felony charge, and any type of problem that might affect how a person uses a lethal weapon should result in that individual being ineligible to own a firearm of any kind. This is common sense.
7. Public buildings like courthouses have armed guards, metal detectors and examination of bags when entering. Schools in areas of high crime, large population, or for any reason deemed necessary, should have the same precautions.
Teachers are not all geared to carry weapons. I've had teachers that were so volatile that giving them a weapon would not have been a good idea. Some people do not want to carry a weapon due to religious or ethical reasons. Their values should be respected.
8. I keep hearing the argument about our forefathers putting the right to bear arms in our Constitution and using that as the defining reason to own weapons. What we forget is guns were a part of their life. They used them to hunt for food. To defend against intruders. To fight a war. In other words, everybody knew how to handle one. How to load it, unload it and clean it. Every single house had a weapon in it.

I think the only safe way to be around a weapon is to know it. A mandatory gun safety course given by well-trained people would save lives. Children would be taught to respect how lethal the weapon actually is and to never, ever point it at anything living. 
I consider gun safety training a life skill. I also consider swimming, first aid, home economics and shop class to be life skills. Our children would be better prepared for life if they learned these basic survival skills.

Name calling and accusations lead to closed minds. There isn’t room for political posturing and power plays. The lives of our children deserve better.
CAROL ENGLEHAUPT, of Marseilles, is a former Write Team columnist and is an author publishing under the name C.L. Roth.

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