Gun control and violence is a topic that often features a lot of emotional arguments and fights, but rarely any clear solutions.
First and foremost, I am a supporter of the Second Amendment. Whether that is for hunting, sporting, or self-defense, I support the right of citizens to own firearms. I personally own several firearms, I enjoy target shooting, and I am a member of The Liberal Gun Club. In addition, I bowhunt, I used to teach women’s self defense classes, and I earned a black belt in taekwondo while I was in graduate school. My dogs are also trained in protection sport and we have competed at the regional and national level in the various protection sports such as Schutzhund, French ring sport, Mondio ring sport, and PSA. So I fully support the right to defend oneself as part of the Second Amendment.
Missouri is a state with a wonderful department of conservation with many opportunities for harvesting healthy, all natural game and I support and participate in those activities as well.
The question becomes what is our response when something goes horribly and terribly wrong. I was a high school junior during the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado in 1999 and have effectively grown up into my mid-thirties under the specter of possible mass shootings. Just tweeting “well, that’s too bad, thoughts and prayers…” is clearly no longer good enough.
Unfortunately, we are often presented two extremes. We have the folks who want no gun control in the slightest where even the fully automatic weapons that have been off the table for the vast majority of Americans for decades would be freely available on one side. On the other, we have the folks who would gladly confiscate each and every firearm in the United States down to the last BB gun. In reality, most people do fall somewhere on the spectrum of enforcing the laws already on the books, bolstering background checks and waiting periods, and better funding mental health and social services to prevent future tragedies.
We absolutely can do better. I would also note that if we want to pay more than lip service to the idea of better funding mental health, that MUST include universal health care, including mental health care, for all citizens!