Today, March 14th, 2018, all across America students are participating in a National School Walkout day in protest of a government unwilling to enact common sense gun reform laws that will provide for their safety, and the safety of the rest of the country. This is a great thing. I don't recall any such actions since the early 1970s, when, as a high school student, we marched in opposition to the Vietnam war. The war was ended in 1975.
America needs common sense gun reform in many of its states. I presently live in Florida. To obtain a gun in Florida is much easier than getting a drivers license. In fact, there are loopholes in the Florida state law that allow people to buy guns without a background check. I've purchased guns in both Florida and New Jersey. In New Jersey, by comparison, I had to be fingerprinted, go through a local as well as Federal background check, provide personal references to the local police department and even appear in a personal interview at the police station.
I've enjoyed rifle shooting for fifty years, ever since I was in Boy Scout camp in the 1960s. It's a fun sport. And while owning a gun may be a right, it comes with huge responsibilities that are mandatory. Those responsibilities include safe storage of the weapon, and knowing how to handle and care for it. I support the idea of required training and a periodic safety check and licensing for gun owners. To get a drivers license, a person must take a course, take a written test and an actual driving test to make certain they can operate a vehicle safely. At the moment, no such test is required for gun owners - but it should be. If testing and certification of gun owners was required every five years, it would create tens of thousands of jobs in our economy - something that would be great for gun ranges and gun shop owners who could administer training and testing - similar to the way concealed carry permits are issued now.
Once upon a time I was an NRA member and enjoyed their monthly magazine. I gave up my membership over the years as the NRA became increasingly opposed to any regulation. I rejoined the NRA briefly a few years ago when the local gun range required NRA membership in order to join their range - the range has since changed their policy and no longer require it. I am no longer an NRA member. Today we have an NRA that seems mostly to care about the money, but whips up sentiment about the second amendment as a cover for objecting to any form of gun regulation. The NRA receives roughly 50% of its revenue from donations, some from the gun industry. They want to sell guns, and apparently, based on their actions, they don't care about the cost in human lives. The head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, received over $5,100,000 in 2015, according to the NRA's public tax returns. That's a fat salary for a non-profit supposedly focused on American rights. Go to Guidestar.org to download your own copy. The NRA is a "non-profit" organization so they have to file public returns.
Many of us consider that "blood money". Raising the minimum age to buy a gun to 21 in Florida is a good start. It's not enough. In the recent tragic shooting in Florida a police officer stood outside the school and waited while the shooting was going on. He was outmatched by the amount of firepower that the shooter had - he probably feared for his own life - and with good reason. The AR 15 type weapon has 3 times the fire power that the average Glock handgun has. It should be MUCH harder to get an assault type weapon.
I hope you will consider contacting your Congressman and Senators to demand common sense laws.
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