Ken Kellner: A few thoughts about gun control

Published: Friday, January 18, 2013 at 4:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 at 4:27 p.m.

1. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. No one is disputing the right to own a gun for hunting or self defense. However, owning a gun whose sole purpose is to kill as many people as quickly as possible -- a majority of Americans do not think is the right thing to do. Rights are not absolute and they come with responsibility.These weapons make as much sense as owning a tank, an F16 or surface-to-surface missile which, fortunately, civilians can’t.

2. Perfect is the enemy of good. Perfect would be a system to identify who is or will become mentally unstable enough to commit mass murder or who will someday accidently kill their kid or best friend. Maybe some sort of breathalyzer test? Nothing we do will eliminate gun violence completely but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try by every means possible.

3. Just because you can’t do everything is no reason not to do something. Cars don’t kill people drivers do. But no one is suggesting that we ban cars as the advantages of ownership are many. But that hasn’t stopped us from doing everything possible to be sure the wrong people don’t drive (drunks, 12 year olds, etc.) or making cars safer (air bags, antilock brakes, backup cameras, etc.). Instead of focusing on what we’re not going to do (ban some types of weapons) let’s do everything we can do (tighten existing laws, increase services for the mentally impaired) AND consider new initiatives. Let’s put everything on the table this time.

4. Reality trumps theory. Four years ago when Obama was first elected, despite not a single word about gun control during the campaign except on Fox News and the NRA, chicken littles were screaming that the government now was going to take away all guns. So there was a huge run on guns and ammunition. Now with his reelection, despite not a single word about gun control from the administration the past four years, with the help of Fox News and the NRA the same cries are heard and again there is a huge run on guns and ammunition. It’s concerning when people act based on what they thought would happen rather than what actually happened.

5. The NRA represents both gun owners and gun manufacturers. And if you follow the money, it’s the latter that’s calling the shots (pun intended). The NRA has power because they claim to speak (and vote) for you who are a safe, law abiding owner. Does the NRA really represent YOU? Is their hard ideological stand really what you think is reasonable? Do you really think that all the efforts for reasonable gun control are a plot by the government to take your guns and establish a dictatorship? If not call or write them or better yet “vote with your pocketbook” and resign your membership after all, they are making you look foolish.

6. In summary, this is not an issue of self-defense or hunting or of anyone taking away anyone’s gun. This is about reasonable people looking at reality and acknowledging that we, as a gun society and gun culture have a problem. It may not be totally solvable but isn’t the lives of your loved ones worth considering all the options? To most this is common sense. Hopefully, common sense is common enough.

Kenneth R. Kellner lives in Gainesville.

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