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The Suburbanite
  • Jean Nero - Fine line between gun control, preserving freedom

  • I don’t know the answer to today’s most talked-about topic, the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. How do we stop the proliferation of guns in out-of-control hands, while preserving our American privilege to own one?

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  • I’m just an 81-year-old who’s glad I didn’t shoot Papa in a panic 38 years before he died peacefully.
    I don’t know the answer to today’s most talked-about topic, the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. I recall President Obama only mentioned it once in his hour speech ... wisely so, since I think most of us have mixed feelings about it. How do we stop the proliferation of guns in out-of-control hands, while preserving our American privilege to own one?
    When I was a young adult, I cared for an invalid mother and a little sister while Papa went to work the midnight shift. Papa suggested to me that he buy a gun, teach me to use it, in case someone tried to break in. I refused, not necessary in our “nice” middle-class neighborhood.
    THE INCIDENT
    One night around 10:45, Papa went out the side door, set off to work. Sis and Mama were asleep upstairs. Suddenly, I heard footsteps walking around from the back, approaching the side door. “Oh, my God, someone who waited until Dad went to work now will break into the house,” I thought. I turned off the lights, grabbed a kitchen knife and hid behind the kitchen door. Then, I heard Papa’s voice yelling, “Don’t be afraid, it’s me!” I nearly collapsed as he opened the door.
    He explained he forgot to lock the back gate and went back to fix it. When he saw the lights go out, he figured what I was thinking.
    “If I had had a gun, Dad,” I said, “I would’ve shot through the door’s window at the ‘intruder’ and killed you!”
    Since then, I never tolerated a gun in the house.
    NOT ANTI-GUN
    I am not anti-gun ownership. I’ve eaten many a good venison shot by my cousins in Pennsylvania, and I have no problem with a good citizen owning a gun kept locked up from little ones, or the gas station owner who fires one at a burglar aiming a gun. But do you need a gun that shoots 35 bullets with one pull to stop a burglar? Do you need a gun used by the military for either “self-defense” or hunting — like an Uzi?
    And, if you keep a gun only for “honorable reasons” why is it that in many states, including Arizona, it’s permissible to own a gun without registering it?
    The Second Amendment often is quoted, but Jefferson and Hamilton must spin in their graves to hear how we pervert that privilege from their original intent that was to permit citizens to mount a militia in defense of freedom and country.
    Please don’t accuse me of being for or against guns. Instead, treat yourself to a read of Time magazine, Jan. 24 — a balanced, factual review of our “guns.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Check the stats: “Nationally, less than 1 percent of all gun deaths involve self-defense. In a study of 23 high-income countries, the U.S. has 80 percent of the gun deaths, along with a gun homicide rate nearly 20 times higher than the rest of the countries.”
    In 1994, Congress instituted a ban on assault weapons, but it was allowed to expire in 2004. According to Time, if the ban on assault weapons still had been in place Jan. 8, if nothing else, the accused shooter of Rep. Giffords might’ve gotten off 20 fewer shots.
    That’s how many lives wasted because some congressmen can’t face up to the NRA? Now they’ve learned the next shot coming out of someone’s gun might be at anyone, even a daddy just coming in the door unexpectedly one night.