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Letter to the editor: Gun responsibilities

— Responsibilities

To the editor:

Like other citizens, gun owners are troubled by the level of gun violence. They would like to see an end to the senseless deaths caused by the misuse of firearms, but question whether new legislation will significantly reduce gun violence in a country with over 300 million existing weapons.

If we had a “do over”, we might choose steps that other nations have taken in limiting gun violence, but our cultural affinity for guns and our Second Amendment heritage make it difficult to do more than nibble at the edges of the problem. While there are common-sense measures that should be taken, they are unlikely to have much impact. We need to shift the terms of the debate. Rather than fighting over the “right” to own guns, perhaps it is time to address the “responsibilities” of gun ownership.

With rights come responsibilities. The majority of gun violence comes from handguns. If someone owns a handgun, shouldn’t they be responsible for securing that weapon or having insurance to pay the costs of any misuse of that weapon? High capacity semi-automatic weapons are causing children and families to live in fear of the next mass school shooting. Shouldn’t those who profit from the sale of these weapons pay for the armed guards they say are needed to protect our children?

If the NRA, gun manufacturers and gun owners took responsibility for the costs and fears they impose on society, couldn’t we have a more effective discussion on sensible ways of limiting gun violence while preserving the right to own guns?

Richard Davis, The Dalles

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