Common Ground on Gun Safety

Image: Gun trigger lock, available for sale on Amazon for $12.89. Yes, I’m giving them a free ad.

Today is an anniversary for the United States, but particularly for families in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Four years ago today, a deeply disturbed young man used his legally-acquired guns to murder 20 small children and six educators in what should have been one of the safest places on earth: their elementary school.

The agony of their families is beyond my imagination, because I haven’t lost a dear one to a murderer, and I was fortunate to see both of my sons grow up to adulthood. The agony of our nation continues; we are divided on the issue of guns and their place in American life.

Some gun owners worry that legislation on guns will set us off on a slippery slope that will make it impossible for their families to be safe.

Others worry, with equal fervor, that without some serious gun control, we will continue to see unacceptable numbers of deaths from murders, accidents, and terrorist activity.

Both sides tend to discount the concerns of the other, which makes for short, angry conversations that go nowhere.

Some creative people are taking a third path: looking for ways to be more safe that does not require legislation. Emergency room personnel at Mercy Hospital in Kansas City give out free gun locks, no questions asked, to families who ask for them. I heard on the radio last night (but failed to hear details) about an emergency room in another city that gives a gun lock to families who come in with any sort of injury related to guns.

Seems to me that programs like these should be “mom and apple pie” to both gun owners and gun opponents. All the gun owners I know insist that a person can own a gun, keep it at home, and handle it safely. Perhaps the low hanging fruit of this issue is gun safety: making it easy and cheap for people to lock their guns away from people who shouldn’t be touching them.

That will not prevent another Newtown. What it might do, though, is to get us talking with one another again. How could it hurt?

לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל-דַּם רֵעֶךָ:  אֲנִי, יְהוָה

You shall not stand upon the blood of your neighbor: I am God. – Lev. 19:16