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Responsibility in gun ownership

['Perspectives with Shirley Hallee']
['Perspectives with Shirley Hallee']

Perspectives with Shirley Hallee

About a month ago I wrote a column about gun control. The day after the column appeared I received a phone call from a fellow in Dayton, Ohio - and the editor of the paper received an e-mail from the same person. In the e-mail the Ohio guy indicated I was not allowed to have anything published under my name until I replied to his e-mail. If I wrote another column he would “berate (me) mercilessly.” I'm not sure why some Americans think they can tell Canadians what to do...must be the Trump influence.

I have two sons who live in the U.S. Both my sons own guns, and I believe both are responsible owners of firearms. They are aware of handling the guns safely. One son is an advocate for gun control and his Mom is happy about that. He lives in a liberal area of the country, but with recent school shootings there seem to be a growing number of Republicans who are giving serious consideration to gun control.

In Canada, we are required to register and license guns. In the United States people are required to register and license their vehicles. Heck, they are even required to get a driver's license...to indicate that they are capable and safe drivers. Why shouldn't they be required to register and license their guns? Those who drive cars first received instruction and training...so why aren't the same standards held for gun ownership?

I understand the need for people to have guns. I grew up on a farm and as a young person I stayed some nights at a small bunk house on one of my dad's parcels of land. In the summer months, we had an issue with wolf packs. My job was to take my horse and a 22 rifle to where our beef cattle were grazing. I would stay at night and when I heard wolves howling I took the rifle, stood outside, and fired a few shots into the air. We did not lose any calves under my watch.

I don't like the idea of hunting animals...but I understand that some folks have guns for that purpose. I do not see the need for semi-automatic guns...except in police work or in the military. Guns in the hands of the wrong people result in devastation.

There are no exact figures related to gun deaths in the United States, but a fairly accurate estimate was given in a Huffington Post article with the number being around 28,600 from the time of the Sandy Hook school shooting in December of 2012 up to December of 2017. Those numbers do not include any of the deaths that occurred in 2018, and it also likely missed suicides. Gun control is essential.

As stated before, one of my sons is all for gun control laws in the U.S. The other son is not of the same mind. It can be a real pain to fill out the forms and keep everything updated so that laws are followed. We have lost some lives because of guns here...but the numbers pale in comparison to the numbers lost in the U.S. 

Authorities there need to know where the guns are...and if those who have the guns should have them. How many thousands of lives need to be lost before humans get the message?

Shirley Hallee is a freelance writer living in Amherst. Her column appears weekly in the Amherst News.

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