We are a gun-owning family. I grew up on a farm, guns were part of life on the farm. I own guns from my childhood, and in more recent years, I have purchased guns for home protection, hunting, target shooting, and to support my son’s preparation for a career in military service. Shooting is one of our main activities on farm weekends. I have been trained in the use of firearms, and am licensed to carry. Everyone in our family has received training in the safe use of firearms. We consider it a life skill, something about which everyone should have basic knowledge.
So, I respect Second Amendment rights. I respect law abiding gun owners, and I understand and respect their desire to own guns. Having said all of that, I do not support efforts that made it difficult, if not impossible, to have a public discussion about any gun safety issue.
We can and should do better at keeping mentally ill people from purchasing guns. Extending background checks for private sales and gun shows seems prudent to me. Surely we can agree that people on a no-fly or watch list should not be allowed to purchase a gun. There may be other issues worthy of consideration. For any gun safety proposal, the issue is the extent to which gun safety would be enhanced compared to the reasonableness of any restriction it might place on law abiding gun owners. I care about gun safety, but I also care about the rights of law abiding gun owners. Reasonable people of good will can find common ground on these issues.