Recent gun violence raises questions

leallan@tcsn.netJanuary 14, 2013 

Lon Allan

THE TRIBUNE

Like most of you, I have some thoughts about school shootings and gun control.

I’ve always supported the right of citizens to own guns for sport shooting and target practice. I owned a handgun for a few years because I enjoy shooting at tin cans. I also owned a rifle. I’ve never been hunting. Just a lot of holes in a lot of old soda pop cans.

On Christmas Eve, I was talking to our grandson about the whole issue of guns, especially in light of the school shootings that had happened back east only a few weeks before Christmas. He is a high school senior.

We agreed the gun isn’t the problem, but the deranged person holding it. We agreed that guns in the wrong hands are the reason some kinds of controls are necessary. And I see no reasonable need for American citizens to own assault rifles.

I agree with the National Rifle Association that there are a lot of things to blame for the increased incidents of gun violence, including movies, TV, video games and even music videos. Our mental health system needs a careful overhaul, especially in the way we treat those with behavioral problems, young and old. Maybe we need to spank more. Maybe we need to quit giving children drugs just because they seem to be highly active children.

I know firsthand what it is like to be bullied.

I disagree with the NRA that the answer is to put an armed guard at every school.

I’m disappointed that the NRA and its members have put their feet down against a ban on assault rifles and rules that make gun ownership more difficult.

President Barack Obama said it best: “We have to do better.”

I applauded his action to appoint Vice President Joe Biden to head up a panel dealing with gun violence.

We can’t just do a ho-hum on this one.

That grandson I mentioned in the beginning of this column is a senior at Taft High School. His cousin, our granddaughter, is a junior at the same school. Both were in a separate building when the shooting last week took place. She whispered into her cell phone to her father that she was “OK” but was in lockdown and told to hide and be quiet.

One son and a daughter-in-law stood for hours on the campus waiting for their children to be released to them late Thursday afternoon.

The gun used in this latest shooting wasn’t an assault rifle. It was a shotgun. Thousands of people are killed by handguns each year.

No side in this issue has a right to stand its ground and not consider all the issues and solutions.

Lon Allan's column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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