‘WE are responsible for ALL of our children’

I bought my first gun when I was twelve. I worked all summer umpiring little league to buy a shotgun so I could go hunting with my dad in the fall. My dad is the one who took me to the store where I legally purchased a firearm with my own money at twelve years old.

We then drove to the local shooting range to once again talk about the responsibilities of gun ownership and try it out on some targets. Afterward, we secured my shotgun in his gun locker at home.

Within a year of buying my first gun, that store changed its policy about who they would sell firearms to.

Why? I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was a responsible gun owner, with my firearm locked up safe in my dad’s gun locker.

No one I knew had ever killed with a firearm, or been killed by a firearm.

But a year after I bought my first gun the world became a very different place. Two people half a country away took it upon themselves to rob their educational institution of its sanctity and the events at Columbine forever shaped the future of the gun debate in our country.

What new laws needed to be made to prevent this tragedy? How can we design buildings to deter shooters? How can we prepare teachers and students for what seemed like an inevitable (if truly unlikely) tragedy?

Multiple retail outlets decided to change their policies on firearm and ammunition sales (including no longer selling to minors), and the sales of gun locks went through the roof as people rushed to take personal responsibility for their guns.

And the tragedies continue to this day. We look to legislators and private industry for answers, but nothing changes until we change as citizens. My dad is why I’m a responsible gun owner. If responsible gun owners don’t want more legislation, be responsible. Tell others when they are being irresponsible. Store your firearms locked, away from the ammunition.

Even if you aren’t a gun owner, the rhetoric in our communities HAS to change. We are friends and neighbors. WE are responsible for ALL of our children, and we all failed them dearly on many levels.

I just hope knee jerk solutions aren’t all we have to tragedy once again.

Drew Fry

Orion Twp.

 

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