I am writing this letter on Christmas Day with sadness in my heart. A family debate on gun rights triggered in me a sadness that only a mother could understand. My thoughts turned to all the mothers in Newtown who lost their children so close to Christmas. How are they coping? How are they getting through this day? How many tears will be shed this Christmas? There are not only the tears of these mothers, but also the fathers, brothers and sisters and all the extended family. This tragedy will affect them this Christmas, but also every Christmas hereafter for the rest of their lives. There will be a sadness in these homes that we, who did not lose a young child in a senseless mass murder, should never lose sight of.
In the midst of our sometimes-heated family debate (which is typical whether the subject is gun control, religion or politics), thoughts of the families in Newtown touched me so deeply that I started to cry…and…I couldn’t stop. When my cries turned to sobs, even those who were most vocal in supporting the rights of gun owners to own the very weapons that killed these children, started to really listen. They started to hear my mother’s plea.
Now I turn my plea to you, the NRA, “Please help us protect our children!”
Living here in the Midwest, my opinion that there should be controls over the semi-automatic repeater weapons and large magazine clips, will never be popular. Many of us, myself included, are from farm families and small towns. We have a grand tradition of gun ownership, hunting and sportsmanship and have been members of your organization for years. We value the work you do in promoting sportsmanship, gun safety and most especially in protecting our second amendment rights; yet I feel that now is the time for compromise. I, as a mother, cannot bear to lose another child or another innocent citizen to these type of guns.
Please, NRA, help us find a comprise so that we can still own these types of guns, while helping to keep them out of the hands of mentally unstable, sociopathic individuals.
This is what I propose. First, help us ensure that ALL gun purchases require a background check. As cited at Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, csgv.org, only six states require universal background checks on sales of ALL types of firearms sold at gun shows, commonly known as the “Gun Show Loophole”. In addition we need you, the NRA, to support background checks for all guns sold through “private sales”. Only two out of every five guns sold in the United States required a background check. If we are to protect our children, that is unacceptable.
Second, consider restricting the carrying and use of ALL semi-automatic guns and large magazine clips, to licensed shooting ranges. This will allow sportsman to still own and shoot these guns in a controlled environment. My plan would outlaw keeping these guns in private homes, but I feel that is a small compromise where the safety of our children is concerned.
This Christmas, the staunch gun advocates in my family voiced every reason for why they should be allowed to own these weapons: it’s not the gun that kills, it’s the individual; why should I give up my rights when I’m a responsible owner; I need this gun for personal safety; we should focus on mental health instead; if we all owned guns we could stop the bad guys; the criminals will find a way to get ahold of them even if they’re banned; there was an assault weapons ban in Newtown, CT, so what good do these bans do? (Fact: That ban has so many exclusions, the semi-automatic weapons used in CT were all legal); these children could just as easily be killed with non-repeater weapons with a smaller gun clip-do you know how quickly I can reload a clip??…The list goes on, and it’s not just my family members stating these arguments. I have a talk show at our local Fox News Talk radio station, so I hear these very arguments on a daily basis. There was a time I agreed with these opinions, but not now, not after the mass murders in Aurora and now Newtown.
NRA, we need your help and leadership now more than ever in finding a compromise to the ownership of these types of guns. Public sentiment is changing, and if we don’t work toward a compromise, we may lose our rights to gun ownership.
Finally, again, as a mother I plead with you, “Please help us protect our children!”
Listen to the podcast “Challenging the NRA” @ www.joanjerkovich.com
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