Gun Control: If not now, when?

This past week the local  news reported the carnage from guns.  On Tuesday December 11th a lone 22-year-old man wearing body armor, a hockey mask and carrying an AR-15 assault rifle walked into Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Oregon and opened fire.  Two were murdered, one 15-year-old girl seriously wounded and hundreds  shopping were emotionally traumatized.

What I find surprising are voices from local politicians and the editorial page of our statewide paper the Oregonian, counseling that this not be the time to debate the societal causes of violence and the easy access to assault weapons.  This is they say ‘ a time to heal, not a time for divisive debate’.  

I agree that this is a time for coming together, a time for prayer and for expressions of compassion and kindness.  Yet, I believe it is a disservice to the memory of those victimized by the violence,  not to take up the difficult debate about the violent influences in our culture and the easy access to weapons.

This past presidential debate the Republican candidate upheld the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution as the right to own any and all weapons.  President Obama was pointedly silent on the topic.  Each time in the aftermath of a mass shooting, the counsel is not to raise the divisive topic of  gun control.  Proponents of the NRA hope that the emotions of the moment will dissipate and we will continue the status quo.  Thus far their strategy has proven right.

However if you want to hear the voice for Gun Control, then talk to a first responder, a police officer, an EMT and most often you will hear a voice for limits.  These first responders are the one’s who must risk their life in a nation that resists gun control.  For example in 2010 there were 9000 murders by guns in the United States (and many thousands more wounded).  In comparison in Great Britain which has restrictions on access to weapons there were 58 gun related murders.   Even allowing for the difference in population that is a staggering difference.

As an Oregonian I’m standing with State Senator Ginny Burdick D-Portland who announced she will introduce in the 2013 legislature a ban on the sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines.  The very kind used to kill and terrorize holiday shoppers at the Clackamas Mall.  

Yes, this is a time to heal, to come together, to take care of each other, neighbor and stranger alike, to the best of our ability.  It is also a time to say this pattern of gun violence must stop and stop now.

7 thoughts on “Gun Control: If not now, when?

  1. Thanks for this post. The truth is that we DO need gun control and we need it now. There is no excuse for civilians to have high-powered assault weapons. There have been civilians killing each other and police killing civilians at an alarming rate for the past several years. What needs to happen, before we as citizens, stand up and demand that our politicians pass reasonable gun
    control legislation? Thank you again for a Christian voice in what often seems like the wilderness
    of apathy.

    1. Thanks Cheryl, I have a childhood friend who is a career police officer and he tells me regularly how frightening it is to come up against assault weapons and how readily accessable they are.

  2. Kent, the irony here is that we truly believe that somehow we’re safer because we have such easy access to guns. I’ve never felt more unsafe than since moving to the US where every angry, traumatized, and in some cases mentally deranged, individual can quickly and easily dispatch their frustration through a hot gun barrel in a crowded place. Is this truly what the forgers of the Constitution/Bill of Rights intended? Is this not a time for honest, rational debate on an epidemic issue? How many more will need to perish in the name of “freedom?” And, how exactly is that a “freedom” to the corpses of victims now buried beyond our sight and only now in our memories? Lord, have mercy…

    1. Rob, seems to be something deeply ingrained in the ‘American’ psyche of individualism and right to bear arms of any type. I have no problem with the right to have a gun for hunting or even for target shooting. But to allow ready access to assault weapons who as their name indicats has only one purpose is a true threat to society. Another part of the debate is the glorification of violence in our popular culture via video and video games (I’ve read that one popular one is going into a mall and killing people). And, there is a huge financial incentive to keep the arms flowing.

      1. And wherever there is financial incentive…body bags be damned if either my “rights” or my pocket book are infringed upon. Apparently, these are the platform of “values” voters. Of that, I am doubly concerned.

    1. Your welcome Lisa. A day after writing the blog, we now read of the tragic murder of 18 children and 8 adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. If this doesn’t broker a serious debate what will?

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