KATIE ZERR: Generating discussion is editorial purpose

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I normally don’t answer critics of my opinions or the newspaper. As long as editorials I write generate discussion, I have done my job as an editorialist.

Much has been said on the pages of this paper about gun violence, stricter gun control and ignorance about firearms. I have aired my views on the ownership of certain types of firearms and clips that can hold multiple rounds of ammunition.

This is not a view that popped up since the Sandy Hook massacre, but one I have held for a very long time. You can ask my friends and family who are gun owners. They will tell you that this is not a bandwagon leap, but something that I have felt passionately about for many years. In fact, many have tried to change my mind; even offering me a chance to fire one of these guns, which I have declined.

I have been labeled a bleeding heart liberal that is ignorant about guns and has an anti-gun bias. Neither of those statements is true. Do I have the same working knowledge of all types of guns as some of my most vocal critics have? No, and I freely admit that my interests do not include investing that kind of time to that endeavor. That is their passion, not mine. My time is spent on many other activities, some that my friends who spend a lot of time with their firearms have said are a waste of time.

In the past two weeks I have been called ignorant, biased and a gun hater. None of that is true and although some of my critics have presented valid arguments to my stand on this issue, others have been just plain wrong.

Those who took offense by my editorial on the Sandy Hook Truthers and my disgust with the NRA for harassing and bullying members of Congress into not even participating in a reasonable, mature conversation about the stemming this type of violence in our nation, voiced their opinions on my choice of example.

To those I would say I missed my mark. In an attempt to show that those of us who want an open and reasonable discussion about this problem with all principals sitting at the table are not the wing nuts in this issue, I used an over-the-top example.

And no one should be told how they should think and act.

I know the NRA has done many positive things in this country. I have family and many friends who are members. I have attended NRA sponsored events that raise money for positive causes and help our youth understand and learn how to respect guns. I am not against the NRA as a whole. I am against their methods of political harassment and bullying tactics.

I am also against their stance that the only way to stem gun violence is with more guns.

The opinion that this newspaper and our reporters are biased against guns and anything that is connected to them is incorrect. I come from a family who were raised with guns in our home, both my mother and father were avid hunters and I have participated in gun sports such as trap shooting and hunting. I have been at a number of shooting events in my years in this job and even participated in a friendly shooting competition. I no longer participate in gun sports because my passions and focus are on other matters.

Those who are critical of my side of the issue have said I am ignorant when it comes to certain types of firearms. I would like to think they mean to say uninformed.

There is no easy answer to the problem of gun violence in America but I do know that all the principal players must be allowed to look for solutions without having their jobs threatened by powerful lobbyists.

It happens all of the time on many issues, but just because it happens doesn’t make it acceptable.

 

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