I’ve never been much to talk politics here on the blog. Oh sure I’ll jump on the occasional soapbox, usually on behalf of my fellow veterans. For the most part though, I save my politics for freinds and family (you know, those they say we shouldn’t discuss such things with. I’m a rebel like that). So what changed? Well, to put it simply… the world did.
Growing up in the sticks of Southern California there were often guns around. My parents made sure they taught us how to handle them, most importantly how to handle them safely. Dad would take us target shooting (target being a loose term for “soda can”). On one occasion he even took me rabbit hunting. Forget the lambs Clarice, I remain scared to this day by the sound of screaming bunnies.
As part of my service to our country I became a qualified to wield a firearm as a weapon, a skill I thankfully never put to use. I am married to a Federal Special Agent. Guns are a part of my life. That said, I will never be a person who wields a gun for sport. Like my pal Amanda over at Parenting by Dummies, I’d rather spend my extra cash on shoes! Cute shoes are my thing, but I do come from a family of people who hunt and I would never seek to deprive them of that. I am anything but an “Anti-Gun Liberal”.
What I am is confused. I’m confused by the whole concept of the need to have a gun that is capable of firing dozens of rounds in mere seconds. I get that guns don’t kill people, bad people kill people. But why would you want to have a weapon available to a bad person -either legally owned or illegally obtained- that could allow them to deliver maximum destruction with minimum effort? At what point did the right to bear arms become the right to bear an arm that can shoot through the body armor that is intended to protect my husband while he is trying to protect us?
A week or so ago I joined several Maryland parents who blog, Governor Martin O’Malley and members of his staff to discuss several issues that our state is facing. One of those issues was the Governor’s Gun Safety Proposal. The first thing I noticed it that it isn’t called “Gun Control” rather it is an approach to guns that focuses not on “controlling” the issue but on attempting to bring about safety measures that may just help to cut back on some of the world changing tragedies that come from the hands of those wielding guns to do harm to others.
“Progress is a choice. So long as gun violence continues to take the lives of our fellow Marylanders, there are choices we must make together to protect our children, our families and law enforcement personnel who put themselves in harm’s way every day,” said Governor O’Malley. “Today, we’re putting forward a comprehensive set of public safety initiatives that will improve the safety at our schools, make meaningful mental health reforms, and enact common-sense gun safety measures like banning military-style assault weapons and limiting high-capacity magazines.”
My take-aways from discussing this issue with Governor O’Malley were…
The Gun Safety Proposal is not aimed at hunters. The Governor understands and respects the traditions of hunters and sportsmen in Maryland. That’s why they have explicitly carved out shotguns and rifles from the licensing requirements of the bill.
This proposal does not ban handguns. The bill would not prevent law-abiding Marylanders who want to purchase a handgun to protect themselves or their families from doing so. The goal of the bill is to prevent criminals from getting guns by using straw purchasers, so the bill creates certain licensing requirements for purchasing a handgun. But law-abiding citizens would still be permitted to purchase and own handguns.
This approach addresses more than just guns. There are provisions in the bill that address school safety as well has mental heath. The Governor’s Fiscal year 2014 budget dedicates $25 million of the proposed school construction funds to strengthening school security with camera at entrances, automatically locking doors, shatterproof glass, and buzzer entrance systems among other enhancements. The schools that my kids attend are in dire need of these upgrades. The agenda also establishes a Maryland Center for School Safety, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement partners to ensure a comprehensive approach to school safety.The plan includes information sharing among federal and state partners for background checks, improving mental health services in Maryland, and establishing a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene-led Task Force to Improve Continuity of Care for Individuals in the Community Mental Health System.
Most importantly (and especially to me as a veteran) these Gun Safety Proposals are consistent with the Constitution. Maryland’s Attorney General analyzed the proposals and determined that they are “constitutional under the Second Amendment,” that “law-abiding gun owners have nothing to fear,” and that our proposals “do not allow for confiscation of guns nor could they” under Supreme Court precedent.http://www.oag.state.md.us/Press/2013/012913.html
Were it up to me I’d take this a bit further. Personally I believe 1 shotgun, 1 riffle and 1 handgun -none with more than a five round capacity- is all anyone needs to hunt a deer, protect their home or shoot a soda can. The beauty of our system of government is that this isn’t up to me, it’s up to us. We the people. I just hope that we can come together as a people and talk this out, find a solution that protects both our rights and those we love.