Letter to the editor: Time to reach consensus on meaning of ‘gun control’

It is a strange sensation to get up the morning after yet another mass murder at a school and continue on with my mundane, everyday routine. I’ll probably do some laundry today, make coffee, go to Shaw’s. Gnawing at me all the while is the present tense that multiple children and adults on multiple occasions have been slaughtered while simply taking care of their own everyday routine.
I should be shouting in the streets, something like “the sky is falling, People!”
The media is making a huge mistake by celebratizing these events and the assassins involved. They are not celebrities. They are murderers. The most recent killer has allegedly been identified as writing he wanted “the highest number.” Perhaps mental illness is a factor in this event. However if this individual had been using a knife instead of an AR-57 there would have been more time to intervene and less loss of life.
The phrase gun control is heavily charged with opinions, commitments, power and control and, of course, money. It is not a phrase that regularly permits civil dialogue for any length of time. Emotions flare quickly. It would be good to have another phrase since both the word “gun” and “control” mean many different things to many different people.
For example, I can agree completely that rifles and shotguns for sport are certainly permissible, yet these are guns. I can also agree that there are times when firearms may be important for personal protection. But the availability of assault weapons is unfathomable to me and these are guns also. When the writers of the Constitution wrote “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” they obviously were not privy to the future invention of multi-caliber individual weapon systems. Is the nuclear missile defined as an arm? Do we think that individuals should be given the right to obtain and operationalize these systems? So perhaps some guns need to have some controls around them while others do not. Is that such a radical idea? It does not need to be all or nothing. It is much more complicated than that.
We need a better starting point then the phrase “gun control.” We need to start using language that allows people from different opinions to discuss the senselessness and tragedy of the mass murders of our innocent citizens as in these last years so that something can actually happen to impact this dreadful reality. The first outcome would hopefully be making multi-caliber assault weapons unmarketable to the general public.
I applaud Gov. Scott’s interest in having dialogue regarding controlling these assault weapons. I am skeptical that the gun lobby will allow such change. I have heard some say that the regulation of firearms is the start of a slippery slope. We are already on one. Senseless mass murder.
Christine Ketcham

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