The unintended consequences of the Second Amendment have been steadily growing. Some argue that’s a small price to pay for our freedom. I disagree.
I’m a gun owner, hunter and former member of the NRA. My mostly conservative hunting friends — they call me a liberal — are also former members of the NRA. We range in age from the mid-30s to over 70. We are teachers, attorneys, private-business owners, health-care workers, insurance salesman, commercial construction contractors, law enforcement, and state and local government employees. We’ve been hunting together for more than 30 years, and no political issue escapes our debate. We disagree on some things, but not on gun control. We know that people and guns are the problem and that each needs to be addressed to solve this crisis. The NRA does not represent our view on guns.
As hunters, we don’t need assault style rifles with automatic-like actions and large magazines to hunt wild game, and we’re fine with waiting for however long it takes to buy a gun, if that helps keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them. In fact, over the last 40 years many more modern firearm hunters have switched to bow and muzzleloader hunting because it allows them to spend more time afield, and hunters love to spend time afield.
Most hunters are concerned with conservation, habitat protection and access to public lands to ensure we always have healthy wildlife populations and places to go. We’ve been paying for wildlife conservation for more than 80 years with federal excise taxes on firearms and ammunition as well as state hunting license fees, the latter of which all goes to natural resource agencies that manage state fish and wildlife. We also belong to and support organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Northwest, organizations that protect habitat that enhances our recreational opportunities and helps preserves ecosystems that benefit all of society.
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While we’ve done little to slow it down, the unintended consequences of the Second Amendment have been steadily growing. Some argue that’s a small price to pay for our freedom. We disagree.
It will take a methodical review of the criminal-justice and mental-health systems along with research and data from America’s experience with gun violence to develop a comprehensive solution, one that addresses the gun portion of the problem and the behavioral/societal part of the problem.
In June 2017, The Pew Research Organization released a comprehensive analysis of America’s gun ownership, attitudes and experiences: “America’s Complex Relationship with Guns” (pewresearch.org). This report along with findings from research found in books like “The Boy Crisis” by author Warren Farrell, Ph.D., and John Gray, Ph.D., is a good place to start.
Engraved on the southeast panel of his memorial in Washington, D.C., Thomas Jefferson left us with some perspective we would be wise to heed, about a future he knew would be different from his own:
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered, and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times….”
For 240 years, this country has used compromise to solve problems. Our failure to address gun violence or even seriously try is embarrassing.
We’re inspired by the high school kids who are leading the search for a solution and proud they’ve been taught to think independently. We support them and hope they remain impatient, persistent and never give up.