KATIE ZERR: It is time for reasonable conversation about guns


It is time for our nation to grow up.

It is time to change the attitude of people in this country about what type of firearm should be considered proper for personal ownership.

It is time that we have a mature, intelligent, well-thought-out conversation about the culture of violence in our country.

It is time to move away from the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” simplicity to open a conversation about the complex problem of giving people the opportunity and method to do the most damage in the shortest amount of time.

Guns will not be banned in this country, no matter what the propaganda states. The government will not come our homes to take away what some feel are a most precious possession.

It is time to consider reasonable conditions about what kind of guns are readily available to the public.

Our country is crushed with grief. We are weary of this kind of incident happening over and over again.  We are hearing this time things will change. Friday’s shooting in Newtown is a game changer and puts everything back on the table.

Mass killings are on the rise in this country. There were four this year. There have been 62 since the late 1980s.

Of the 142 guns possessed by the killers in those incidents, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of semi-automatic handguns and assault weapons including the .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle.

In the agony that has followed the horrific murders of innocent children and the people trying to protect them, the legacy left by the 26 people slaughtered in their school might indeed be meaningful legislative reform.

We need to start a sensible, intellectual conversation about a reasonable approach to the issue of mass violence. That includes changing our culture about the coolness of owning weapons that are manufactured for the sole purpose of doing the most damage with the most accuracy in the shortest period of time.

Those 20 children were shot over and over again because the shooter had the firepower to do it.

Our federal court system has upheld Second Amendment rights and repeatedly stated guns are needed as mechanisms for self-defense.

As the Second Amendment states, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” But is it relative to this time in history?

The purpose of the Second Amendment was to prevent the new government from disarming the state militias and replacing them with the federal army. It was written in 1790 and adopted in 1791. Our forefathers had no idea it would be used as a shield to give most of the people in this country the right to own a weapon of mass destruction. It is not relevant the way it was written for today’s weaponry.

There are those who say the solution is more guns in schools, not fewer. Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said on “Fox News Sunday” that if school principal Dawn Hochsprung had an assault rifle in her office, she could have killed the shooter.

This type of convoluted reasoning is why we suffer through these periods of unfathomable grief and agony in our country.

The nation’s people are frustrated with the lack of action in Washington. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City said the reason Congress doesn’t act on this type of legislation is because it is afraid of the NRA.

It is time for Congress to put aside their fear of being targeted for replacement by the NRA and do the reasonable, mature thing.

It is time to consider changing many aspects of our culture, from changing the attitude that private gun ownership protects us against tyranny of government to using a weapon of killing as a measure of personal worth.

We must address curbing the constant bombardment of our children with violence in their entertainment, the lack of education and help for the mentally unstable, and the attitude that we need to own a weapon because we can.

It is time to give a measure of protection to the real most precious possessions, our children.

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