In the my bedroom closet sits a gun, a rifle to be exact. I have owned it for almost my entire life. It was my father's Winchester. I didn't learn to shoot it until I was about 10 years old. My uncle Roy took me out into a North Central Kansas field with my .22 and taught me gun safety.
My uncle was a crack shot. A champion shot who loved the Winchester. He spent a large part of his life carefully carving the stocks of Winchester's for himself and for others, turning plain Jane rifles into works of art. He taught me to enjoy and respect guns.
I haven't shot my rifle in more than 30 years. I keep it as a reminder of my father who died before I was even a year old. As much this family memento means to me I'm ready to give it up if it means that we can come to some sensible solution to America's gun obsession.
None of us needs ready access to semi-automatic rifles. Yeah, these guns are fun to shoot, but in the scheme of things, these are weapons meant to do one thing and one thing only, kill other human beings. We don't need handguns that can be loaded with more than 7 or 8 bullets. Handguns loaded with a dozen or more bullets are really meant to do one thing, deliver maximum killing power.
Newtown may not wake up the NRA and the powerful gun lobby. It may take 2 or 3 more Newtown's to do that, but our gun laws need to change. Our founding fathers didn't envision the weaponry now at our disposal when they drafted the 2nd Amendment. Gun ownership is a right, but with it comes responsibility. I'm not saying we need to ban guns, we just need common sense about what weapons we make available to a nation of people suffering through an epidemic of mass murders.