Opinion

Is there a silver bullet for gun control? Owners should be qualified

Legal guns should not be taken away from people who are qualified to carry them. But is enough being done to ensure all gun owners are really qualified? Surely not enough is done to ensure they don’t fall into the hands of people who are not.

My brother, an infantry reservist in the U.S. Marine Corps, trains with firearms at least once a month. But this doesn’t qualify him to carry a gun in the civilian world. 

It’s an odd concept given our military is meant to protect our freedoms — and protect us. 

Massachusetts has some of the country’s strongest gun control legislation and one of the lowest gun death rates. A firearm identification card is required to carry a gun in Massachusetts. To get one, you have to file an application with your local police department and take a basic firearm safety course. 

Gun owners are taught to keep their firearms locked safely, but nobody is checking in to make sure that they aren’t instead falling between the couch cushions. 

We’ve all heard stories about accidental shootings involving curious children. 

A few years ago I met a mother whose 12-year-old son was killed in an accidental shooting on Christmas Eve in 1997. Her son, a seventh-grader at Belmonte Middle School in Saugus, was shot by his 14-year-old best friend while the two were playing with a loaded handgun at the friend’s home. His friend pulled the handgun out from beneath his mother’s mattress. He removed the bullets and tossed them on the dresser without counting them. He pulled the trigger and on the third click, the gun fired.

Guns can too easily fall into the wrong hands. 

There’s been chatter about installing fingerprint readers on guns for years. If they can be used to lock and unlock cell phones, why can’t they be required on every gun? This wouldn’t stop every gun-related tragedy, but it would have prevented the death of this child. 

Gun control doesn’t have to mean taking away guns from people who can legally carry them. If gun owners really want to call themselves responsible, they should get on board with small changes that can make a big difference in the safety of our country. 

 

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