To the Editor:
We have forgotten that our freedoms aren’t free – the price we owe for them is responsibility.
A 12- and 14 year-old broke into a home and found a shotgun, AK-47, and a handgun with an ample supply of ammunition unsecured by the owner. They had premeditated a plan to follow the on-line game Grand Theft Auto to engage in a shoot out with deputies.
A 3 year-old found an unsecured handgun and fatally shot a sibling.
A depressed middle school girl left class and went to the gym where she took out her grandfather’s .45 and killed herself.
Child suicides have increased 50 percent in the last year. Nearly 50 percent of the suicides are committed with a family-owned gun.
I am not against responsible gun ownership. The daughter of a Game Warden who later joined the N.H. State Troopers and a grandfather who was Chief in Calais, Maine, I am a gun owner. I have a CCW. I was a member of the Pine State Rifle Team. I also taught riflery in high school.
Rights are not freedoms without responsibility. We seem to have forgotten this. We have Freedom of Speech. It does not give us the freedom to yell fire in a crowded theater if no fire exists.
As our nation struggles for gun control, I argue that we should begin with gun safety. It is impossible to remove the weapons that exist. It is not impossible to hold gun owners responsible for securing their weapons.
There is no reason why every gun owner can’t afford a trigger lock. California provides free locks at every police station. Gun safes are readily available from long guns to single weapon lock boxes. If a homeowner believes a handgun should be readily available for safety, there are gun safes that can be quickly opened with a biometric lock.
Stop trying to eliminate the guns. It is as useless as the war against marijuana. States have legalized marijuana while including responsible use laws. Driving stoned is DUI.
It’s time to concentrate on passing laws for responsible gun ownership. Children would have a much harder time to commit mass shootings, suicide and accidental shootings if the nation passed a simple law requiring trigger locks on all stored weapons.
We need to teach gun safety. We need to demand that owners accept that responsibility comes with rights.
A $10 lock could prevent another tragic death.
It’s a start.
Village of Bonnybrook