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Letter: It’s still hard to understand what gun enthusiasts are thinking
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It’s been over a month since the last mass shooting, and what has Congress done? Raised the minimum age to buy an assault weapon and imposed a three-day waiting period. That’s an insult to any thinking person.

The simple truth is that almost anybody can get almost any kind of gun they want, almost any time they want. America is in love with guns. They’re all over the place. Americans make up between 4 percent to 5 percent of the global population, but we own almost half of the guns in the world. Why?

I want to understand. I want to talk to gun enthusiasts, not about how many guns they have, but why they feel a need for them. Guns are designed to kill; that’s what they’re for — not defense, not security. There are other ways to achieve this. 

I am not here to judge. If you tell me you sleep better with a gun under your pillow, I believe you, but I want to know “why” because hard statistical evidence points elsewhere.

Guns are made for killing, in some places to rid the land of wild dogs or other varmints, in some places to put food on the table. Guns are made to kill an enemy — another human being — but who “the enemy” is depends on the government. It alone gets to make killing legal.

My father taught me to shoot when I was a child. I fired a pellet gun at targets in the basement. These were the rules: Never point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to shoot, and don’t shoot at anything you aren’t willing to kill. 

We are fooling ourselves if we buy a gun for “protection” and expect that gun never to be used to kill. If you are worried about your personal safely, buy a good security system. It’s safer than a gun, safer for the country and safer for our children.

Joan O. King


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