Letter: Time to put guns down and talk

How many more extremely painful social experiments do we have to conduct before we realize that military-style assault weapons, along with the big clips and ammo, do not belong in the hands of civilians?

There are rights, privileges and responsibilities that must balance in society. Since collectively our culture repeatedly has failed to handle military weapons responsibly, we civilians should forego the privilege and right to possess them.

The basic right to life, along with personal and public safety, is far more important than the Second Amendment. When people die in gun deaths (more than 30,000 Americans per year), all their rights get violated.

For the past 57 years I’ve been enjoying hunting and shooting. When in the duck swamp, the gun legally can have up to three shots in the chamber.

In the deer woods, the maximum clip size is five bullets. My favorite deer gun is a single-shot Contender pistol with a scope. Thus there are guns for hunting and guns for shooting, whereas assault weapons are basically designed to kill people.

Although the NRA has done some good things, I dropped my membership more than 20 years ago because their basic message was getting too extreme, too militant and too fear based. There is a paranoid idea that having meaningful debates about gun violence will lead to compromises that will in turn lead somehow to a dismantling of all gun rights. Unfortunately, fear, arrogance, irresponsibility, blaming and narrow self-interests contribute greatly to our current crisis.

The problem is a complex mix of lots of guns, lots of untreated very troubled people, and lots of cultural violence, only some of which is videos and movies.

This problem has been brewing for more than 400 years, so there are no quick easy answers. However, when a bunch of little first graders get caught in the violent cross fire, it is time for all of us, especially responsible gun owners, to step up and work collectively on making our world safer.

Mike Beebe lives in Lyndeborough

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