Guest Comment

Responsibility is key to ending gun violence


by Susan Grubbs


Mr. R.L. Green wrote a response to a letter written by Stan Brown. After reading Mr. Green's letter, I decided to again read Mr. Brown's letter. Nowhere in Mr. Brown's letter did he use the word "ban" with regard to guns. He did ask, "Can we not end the availability of guns?"

Mr. Green, there is a big difference between making guns unavailable to children and the banning of guns. As Mr. Brown noted, rightly, the availability of guns is only part of the problem. You saw the statement "Guns are available" as one of the reasons behind children shooting classmates and disregarded what he saw as two other reasons that such violence occurs.

The fact is that guns are legal in this country. Mr. Brown didn't ask for that "right" to be taken away. What he did suggest in his question about the availability of guns, though, is that there must be a way to keep guns out of the hands of children. While most gun owners who are also parents are responsible with their guns, there are, unfortunately, those who are not. And, as we learned in the recent school shooting in California, that parent did have his guns locked up. We learned the hard lesson that a troubled child will find a way to get a gun that is locked up.

Mr. Brown's question, "Can we not make gun owners, including parents, responsible for what happens with their weapons?" is a fair one. It is the logical next step when there are guns in the homes with children. If the gun owner knows that he will ultimately be held legally responsible if his child uses his gun, it stands to reason that the gun owner will do a number of things to prevent such. First, he will educate his child in gun safety. Second, he will make every attempt to keep the gun(s) securely placed out of reach from his children. Third, and perhaps most importantly, that parent would hopefully be more aware of what is happening in his child's life. This would require that parent to talk to and listen to his child. He would have to be alert for warning signs of a troubled child. He would have to keep the lines of communication open so that his child would feel comfortable going to him with a problem.

The boy who killed two in Santee, Calif. had shown signs of trouble. He had changed dramatically and had expressed his intense dislike of his situation in school. If that boy's father had acted to help his son, would it have prevented the shooting? Unfortunately, we'll never know.

That leaves us with a simple and absolute fact the gun was available. The boy took the key from his father as the father slept, and he took the gun.

I ask you, Mr. Green, how would you suggest that tragedies like this and so many other school shootings, be prevented?

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