Finding common ground in reducing gun violence

How should we respond to gun violence? The mass murder at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, more than three weeks ago shook us all up. We need our government leaders, law enforcement, and lawmakers to unite and help solve this epidemic of mass shootings in our schools. Our children deserve nothing less than our total commitment and attention to this matter. I recognize that people have strong opinions about gun control. I do not intend to address the totality of that discussion, but it seems there may be some common ground as I speak to people. People seem to favor offering more mental health resources, which I support. It also appears that groups are beginning to agree to limit the number of ammunition rounds an assault rifle can hold. Let’s start there. Here’s a quick story.

I hunted dove with my father and brothers as a child in Georgia. I remember sitting on a camouflaged bucket on a dove field next to my father. I saw a dove flying in the distance and heard five gunfire reports. My father said, “The game warden will get him.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Someone doesn’t have a plug in their shotgun. You only get three shots, and I heard five.” Bird hunters know the law well. Shotguns with a capacity to hold more than three shells must have a plug or filler to limit the number of shots to three. The Federal Government implemented this law for conservational purposes to protect the migratory bird population.

It is legal for assault rifles to hold more than fifty rounds of ammunition. In mass shootings throughout the United States, perpetrators legally purchase and use assault rifles with large-capacity magazines. The results are deadly and massive. I recognize the argument that guns are not the problem but the men and women using them. However, banning large-capacity magazines can significantly decrease a perpetrator’s capacity for harm.

If we can make laws to protect birds, we can create laws to protect our children.

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