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The political scrambling over the most recent mass shootings in America brings to mind our experience last March, as our cruise ship was pulling into port to visit Christchurch, New Zealand. The captain announced that a mass shooting event had just happened there and we would instead be moving on to the next port. I was shocked to have come so close to such a horrific event.

Then we saw, within a week’s time, the New Zealand government was moving to further tighten already strong restrictions on gun ownership. Now in New Zealand, one cannot have a clip of more thanĀ 7 rounds, many combat type weapons are proscribed, and one must have a license to own a gun.

This island country of less than 5 million was able to act quickly and decisively to bring more meaningful control of guns. Yet, in our great nation of 65 times the population, despite dozens and dozens of such major incidents and ongoing gun carnage, we seem unable to legislate even the most moderate of gun control.

Is this a sign that America has become too big and diverse to govern? If not what is it a sign of?

Last I heard, our military doesn’t arm persons with mental health problems and criminal records. But the “Civilian Division” of the Military Industrial Complex certainly does allow arms into the hands of those who would be censored by our own military. By the “Civilian Division,” I mean the gun industry that manufactures for the private U.S. market, and the lawmakers and law enforcement people who decide who can get guns and who can’t. Soldiers have every reason to be armed, and receive the screening, qualification, training and leadership needed to do so safely and responsibility. And some soldiers have good reason to carry rapid fire and heavy gauge weapons. Civilians do not.

Thus, the “Civilian Division” of the Military Industrial Complex is falling down on the job, and letting America down, while tens of thousands are needlessly slaughtered by incompetent, irresponsible, and often over-armed people in schools, theaters, churches, homes, on city streets and other public places. The “Civilian Division” is letting qualified, responsible gun owners down, letting innocent children and adult victims of gun crimes down, letting America down. The gun industry should be the strongest supporters of safe and responsible gun ownership. Legislators, state and federal, should be champions of safe and responsible gun ownership. If we can’t manage to effectively control safe and responsible civilian ownership of situationally appropriate guns, then we don’t deserve to privately own guns at all.

Make a choice. Assert responsible gun ownership. Stop letting America down.

January 2023

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