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Guns and Safety

I grew up on twenty acres and there was usually a loaded shotgun in the corner for crows and coyotes. My dad kept a handgun in his desk. My seventy-year-old grandmother kept a loaded handgun under her car seat—as I discovered once by braking sharply while driving her around. Even as a young adult, I thought this “protection” seemed dangerous. As an adult, I found the statistics on the risk of guns to the people who owned them fairly convincing and I have never wanted one.

The family I grew up in was lucky not to have suffered a firearm accident.. I know countless stories of friends and patients who were not as lucky. When I visited my parents’ home with my children, I would gather up the guns and put them high in the closet.

My position on guns is that the second amendment does grant people the right to bear arms but this right is not unlimited. Most people will agree that a person does not have the right to keep grenades or missiles. There are limits to the weapons a person can own. Then the question is what are those limits and when does safety for society as a whole take precedence over personal rights.

At this point in America, gun violence is a definite public health risk and as a society we need to improve our current limits. I hate that I feared for my daughter’s safety as she became a teacher. I hate that going to high school or a high school sporting event makes me nervous in terms of a possible shooting. All the metal detectors in the world aren’t going to make a football game or school parking lot or an open air concert safe.

When I was growing up our school drill was to duck under our desks in case of a nuclear attack. Of course this seemed ridiculous even then as means of preventing injury. Now children from preschool up know that danger can easily be outside their classroom door or around the corner.  My children got nightmares from fire drills. I can’t imagine the nights after “Active Shooter” drills.

I stand with #NeverAgain for sensible gun laws.

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