We have a Second Amendment Right to Responsibly Own Guns
I grew up with guns. They were tools to me. Like many in the 97th District we hunted in my family- mostly pheasant, deer and later dove when I lived down South. My personal interest is long distance shooting. I’m a member of the NRA, two sportsman clubs (one has a 600 yard rifle range), and I practice regularly with my pistol for my CPL. I served in the Army- first as a combat medic and later was commissioned through MSU ROTC in the Medical Service Corps / Army Reserve.
Americans in general have a right to own and use guns responsibly. Federal law regulates much of this ownership, and while the ‘people’ have a right to bear arms, individuals can have that right modified for cause (criminal activity, mental illness, etc). Automatic Weapons and Explosives are available with special licenses (relatively easy to obtain) but I don’t think civilians should own tanks or heavy weapons (unless a collector of deactivated ordinance).
We Have Effective Gun Laws
We have very strict gun laws. Background checks are available, but weapons can be stolen or otherwise diverted. The system is not perfect, but properly enforced can do a pretty good job of keeping firearms in responsible hands. I support the right of responsible individuals to legally bear arms. I think those wishing to own guns should be properly trained in their safe and responsible use. Most of us get this through hunter safety programs as kids which supplemented instruction from our parents and family members. I encourage this and support local sporting clubs.
I support special training for a CPL, and would support legislation for a special CPL (with additional training and refreshers) that would allow carry in additional locations. Most mass gun violence occurs in locations where normal CPL holders cannot carry- having specially trained CPL holders in these locations may help to reduce this kind of criminal activity, much as CPL holders have stopped robberies and assaults in public locations when the police were not readily available.
Restrictive Gun Laws are Not the Answer
There are several things I do not support. I don’t support requiring insurance as a condition of gun ownership- this causes a burden on owners and will not stop gun violence. I do not support creating a liability for gun manufacturers if their products are misused (but do not extend this to injuries due to defective products). The issue of liability against gun manufacturers serves only to make lawyers rich and put manufacturers out of business- as it nearly did with the manufacturers of private aircraft in the 80’s. For those that support this ‘misuse’ liability because it makes for good press and sounds good, recall that the same logic could be used to hold auto manufacturers liable for the criminal actions of drunk drivers- something that would destroy the auto industry.
Guns are not intrinsically evil or dangerous. They are tools that can be misused. Screening for criminal and mental health histories, training and past military service can help promote the responsible use of firearms, but I do not support bans- my first deer rifle was a military Enfield 303 (10 rounds with box magazine), my pistol is a military Beretta 92 with a 15 round magazine. Guns are an intrinsic part of our American Society and are viewed as a right by our citizens. I support that view, but feel there is a responsibility that goes along with it.