In the mid-1960s, our next-door neighbor pulled a gun on my husband over our dog.
The deputy sheriff responded quickly to our call, got our story, talked to our neighbor and returned to give us advice, which I will never forget.
“Talk to your neighbor,” he said, “because this is the kind of thing that ends in homicide.” The recipe for homicide, he told us, is an argument and a gun, especially if alcohol is an added ingredient.
He told us that our neighbor had a number of remedies for his problem with our dog: He could charge that we had violated the leash law or that we hadn’t licensed it properly. He could lodge any other complaints about the dog (it barks, scares his kids) with the county, and after three complaints the county could impound the dog.
We asked what our remedies were about the gun, and he answered that there were none – unless we wanted to charge our neighbor with assault with a deadly weapon, a felony.
Somehow, we are able to craft common-sense rules and regulations concerning man’s best friend, which can also be a neighbor’s worst nuisance and, occasionally, even dangerous.
But we have been unable to craft common-sense rules and regulations concerning guns, which are designed and manufactured to be deadly weapons in the hands of a child, a cocky teenager, a frightened woman, an unemployed and depressed husband, a drunk, an enraged boyfriend, a seriously deranged young man – any of us.