As teenagers, a friend and I would often walk to a local sand pit and see who could break the most bottles with our bolt action .22s.

A classmate with his new semi-automatic rifle occasionally went along. His gun used up a lot more bullets and money, and he never got to be a very good marksman, either.

Fifty years later, the sand pit is now an office park. All of us have had to adjust to inconveniences large and small, such as removing shoes at the airport or gluing big numbers on a little wooden fishing boat. Allowing for some inspection and registration keeps all of us safer, which is why we do it. It is for the greater good.

Two hundred years ago, it made sense for citizen frontiersmen to join together with their flintlock weapons to protect life and liberty. Today the frontier is long gone, warfare has been modernized and our protectors have been reorganized, given proper training and kept under firm civilian control.

The NRA tells us, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” However, even with the best of training, experts have been killed on the job.

Rather than giving potential victims or even first responders the risky task of confronting the armed and dangerous “bad guys” on their own terms “after the fact” wouldn’t it be much better to set some limits and collect sufficient prior information so that potential trouble could be headed off before it occurs?

Isn’t this what we do in all other situations where risk is involved? Isn’t the minor inconvenience a small price to pay for the health and safety of so many?


Bill Williamson


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