Letter to the editor: Time for a ‘Harvey Weinstein’ moment on gun control

I strongly encourage Vermont’s state legislators to take advantage of the governor’s statement that he is open to a discussion about gun control. If we cannot enact effective gun control at the national level, especially for assault rifles, then it’s time to do so at the state level. Here are some reasons why:
There is no valid reason for citizens to own semi-automatic assault rifles. We can all agree that private citizens should not be allowed to own tanks or rocket launchers. It’s just too dangerous, and there’s no need. The same logic applies to assault rifles, and this nullifies the Second Amendment argument.
As a member of the Bristol community, I want to make sure my town’s schools are safe. As a parent, I want to be sure my kids are safe at school. As a teacher, I want to be sure I’m safe in my job.
Here are some of the measures that need to be taken:
Make it at least as difficult to get a license for any kind of firearm as it is to get a driver’s license. This would involve taking a mandatory training and safety class and passing a rigorous test. It would also include a background check. Furthermore, this license would need to be renewed on a regular basis, which would include a follow up background check. Currently, the safety measures to board an airplane are more stringent than the requirements to buy a gun. If we’re willing to enact, enforce, and tolerate the inconvenience and imposition on our rights that boarding a jet involves, all in the name of guarding against violence from terrorists, then we should also be willing to allow similar impositions on our rights to prevent domestic terrorism.
Take the best ideas from each side of the debate and put them into practice. This of course would involve compromise on each side, but that’s democracy.
My friends have said that we’ll never be able to change the gun culture of the United States. I argue that we’ve been able to change the nation’s mindset and our policies regarding smoking and gay rights; the same can occur regarding our gun culture.
According to Snopes.com, there have been seven incidents so far this year (48 days) that can be described as “firearm attacks during school hours.” Five of these incidents resulted in death or injury. It’s time for us to have a “Harvey Weinstein” moment regarding gun control, in which the problem is recognized for what it is and real action is taken.
Carl Engvall

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