This week would be my beautiful niece’s birthday. I have a story to share.
What would it take for you to support universal background checks for gun ownership? Would it be a mass shooting in a Tennessee school? Your co-worker committing suicide? A loved one getting murdered? A rampage inside a mall during holiday shopping?
The twins were 5 months old when their father shot their 21-year-old mother, my niece, in broad daylight in a parking lot during a domestic dispute. She died before midnight, leaving her daughters to be reared by my sister, permanently crippled, confined to a wheelchair.
I wonder if he remembers her birthday every November. Would stricter gun laws have prohibited him from possessing the murder weapon? Would filling out form 4473 and paying a $10 fee have kept him from reaching under the seat of his vehicle where the weapon was concealed?
We don’t know the answer.
In America, there is regulation concerning children’s car seats and baby beds, and everything from furniture polish to nail polish, yet we can still see advertised in bold letters, “$99 handguns no background check.” Or buy a weapon over the Internet, at a gun show or from a neighbor with no background check.
We have no problem with a system that requires a motor vehicle inspection, drivers to hold valid driver’s licenses, auto insurance and a title. Yet, the pushback against gun regulation of any kind is so strong that one poster said, “I threaten anybody who comes after my rights. I (would) have no problem slaughtering a police officer.”
However, responsible gun owners embrace the concept of reeling in the lunacy that is creeping over our country. Somehow, some way, checking the wave of gun violence that is escalating daily is the logical next step and must be initiated soon.
I own guns. I am not afraid of background checks or a national register. Nor am I afraid of having my Second Amendment rights trod upon.
Common sense and cool heads dictate that when shootings are out of control, it is time for a check on a failing system.
Whether it’s domestic violence, suicide, mass shootings, or assault with a deadly weapon, gun violence has touched every one of us in some way.
This week is my niece’s birthday. I’ll light a candle for her and pray for all the others who have been victimized by gun violence who will not be here to spend birthdays or holidays with loved ones.
I ask that you will join this effort to check gun violence by contacting those who can do something to change it, including U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.
Charlene E. Jones