America, We Have a Gun Problem
Before the end of the year (sadly probably even the month) there will be more innocent people killed by someone angry and armed somewhere in America.
The statistics around gun violence in America hurt to see.
Guns have a place in our society.
I grew up in small town New Hampshire and remember how excited I was to go through Hunter Safety with all of my friends. It was a right of passage.
At Boy Scout camp, one of our favorite activities was going to the shooting range to fire rifles at targets or shotguns into the air.
I enjoy shooting guns and wish I could go to the range more often because I found it a great test of mental focus and stress relief.
As a father, I firmly understand people wanting to have a gun in their house to defend their family.
Guns have always been around and always will be. I have no issues with responsible gun ownership.
Yet, we find ourselves in a cycle where the minutes and days after a mass shooting there is outrage, soap boxes and calls for action. Then once the media has moved on to something else, nothing is done until the next person does harm.
I know that right now I could drive thirty minutes, fill out some paperwork and in seven days have a gun of my choice. Even easier, I could go on Craigslist, do a search, take out cash from the ATM and meet someone and have a gun before lunch time.
There are no easy answers here.
Many mass shootings are done by individuals with mental health issues. As a country we need to embrace the truth that mental illness is not getting the attention and treatment that it needs.
But, saying this is only a mental illness issue is far from appropriate.
Why can't we figure out a way that makes it mandatory (and easy) to do a background check before someone is allowed to purchase a gun?
Why can't we have sensible regulations around the ownership of assault rifles?
Where is the alternative organization to the NRA that is pro gun ownership, but anti gun violence?
I know that all politician's pockets are lined with money from big donors and it keeps them from speaking up on many issues including this one. It sickens me, but it is the truth.
All of the current presidential candidates have avoided the issue. Sure, they'll bring it up today but will anything ever happen with it?
Even President Obama has been all words and very little action throughout his entire presidency and I doubt he'll do anything before he is done.
As Americans we have the right to bear arms and that shouldn't change.
But, we must to start moving in the direction of cutting down on the number of mass shootings that are happening.
It is going to take a long time, a lot of hard work, millions of dollars and cooperation from people on both sides of the issue to make any progress.
But, the current approach of doing nothing is never going to end the violence.
How many more dead students, children and innocent lives have to be seen on the news before any changes are made?
Something has to change.