Archive for October, 2014

After the Marysville-Pilchuk school shooting last week, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat wrote a column calling for criminal penalties for adult gun owners who leave a gun unsecured, if a child under sixteen harms someone with the gun.

Of course he caused a storm of emotion on both “sides” of the gun argument. This morning there are 559 comments on his article, most passionate, angry and one-sided.

Each time a child finds a gun and shoots someone, whether accidentally or intentionally, both sides go to the media and yell at each other. The gun rights camp usually argues that responsible gun owners don’t leave their guns around, their kids know damn well not to touch them without adult supervision and the real crime would be punishing responsible gun owners for the stupidity of a few bad parents. The gun safety crowd has multiple arguments about sensible regulation, which boil down to “…if one person can be saved by a new law, it will be worth it.”

It’s hard to know if one person can be saved by a change in the law. The gun lobby has effectively used this lack of certainty to argue that nothing should be done.

In my opinion, the decision to adopt reasonable regulation should be less about proof and statistics–which can be manipulated by both sides–and more about common sense and life experience.

My experience as a mom showed me that even the most ardent anti-gun parents can’t control what their children encounter. When our kids were little, there were no guns in our home and we gave plenty of lectures about gun safety. Imagine my surprise when I found a handgun on a closet shelf in my fourth-grader’s room. Turns out a little buddy of his snuck a BB gun into a backpack for a sleepover at our house and forgot to bring it home with him. As my parental inquiry went deeper, I learned that, unbeknownst to me, the kids had been shooting at boxes at the friend’s house during after-school play dates.

Boys, right? (more…)

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