Since the tragedy in Connecticut, our nation has been shaken. I’ve been both on the verge of tears and also very angry ever since. While I’ve heard many kind words, now is the time for action.
We need a comprehensive conversation about mental health, domestic violence and American culture of violence in general, but our priority right now must be gun safety. Now.
We need our legislative leaders to take firm action, and here’s what that might look like:
• Require gun-safety course as prerequisite to gun licensing.
• Eliminate the “gun show loophole” and require background checks for all firearm purchases. Roughly 40 percent of firearms are sold without a background check. This is unacceptable.
• Reinstate the federal assault weapon ban. Military-style combat weapons don’t belong in our neighborhoods (grandfather clause for current owners).
• Limit magazines to 10 bullets. No matter what I’m hunting, I don’t need any more than 10.
• Limit firearm purchases to one per month. Unless I’m a licensed dealer, I don’t need more than 12 a year.
• Increase the Firearms & Ammunition Excise Tax. We could significantly raise the tax from 29 percent on firearms and specifically on ammunition. The proceeds could put micro-stamps on bullets, making it easier to trace ammunition back to guns/owners.
• Require reporting of lost,stolen and found firearms.
Our rights are not absolute. I can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and I can’t buy sawed-off shotguns or nuclear weapons.
We need to have this gun-safety conversation now. It can’t wait.