Let’s talk about the large Donkey in the room. Many of you have been conditioned to look solely at a label to determine someone else’s position. Let me make this clear:
I am NOT going to take your guns.
Since my great-grandfather homesteaded in Nebraska in the 1870’s there has always been firearms in the Specht household.
I have shot and hunted as long as I can remember. I have a concealed carry permit. I have a 400 yard range set up at my house so I can enjoy shooting. On November 7th I will be in the field hunting elk, I hope to see some of you out there.
Something has been happening over the past couple of decades in America. Violence in general and violence using firearms, specifically, has been increasing.
I retired as a Captain from a large mid-western fire department with over 27 years of service. I retired from the US Air Force and even here in Park County Wyoming with the local volunteer fire department I have been involved in more shooting incidents (accidental and otherwise) than I can count so I have first hand experience dealing with the victims, survivors and aftermath.
As a gun owner, I believe it is time and our duty to stand up, become leaders, and address the issues that face this country. We can be the leaders in coming up with solutions that actually address the problems that face the country while protecting our rights, or we can continue to deny the problems that are facing this country.
There are over 220 million American that are eligible to vote and depending on which survey you look at only 32 to 43% are gun owners. The NRA has 5 million members, which is less than 2% of eligible voters.
Maybe some things to look at are firearms safety training in all schools, civility and respect for others training, and expanded “safe to tell” programs.
Maybe requiring a purchaser to have a “certificate of proficiency” to purchase a firearm. This would not be licensing or registering a specific firearm, but would demonstrate that you know how to safely use a firearm.
Maybe more emphasis needs to placed in the areas of mental health. More in and out patient treatment centers need to be funded. We need to work to remove the stigma that is attached to someone for seeking help so that a label does not follow them and negatively impact their life once they have a clean bill of health.
Maybe we need to develop a real time system to do background checks on all purchases of firearms.
Maybe we need to actually start collecting data and information on the root causes of the issues so that we can sit down and start to intelligently come up with solutions that protect our citizens and our rights.
Maybe we should allow research and development of “smart guns”. People use biometrics to secure their phones, computers, and homes; why not allow that same technology to be used on firearms. It seems hypocritical to claim that someone has the right to any gun – except a “smart gun”.
“Smart gun” technology could increase the number of gun owners, decrease the number of accidental or unauthorized incidents, and create jobs in Wyoming by blending old school firearms technology with new school biometric and computer technologies.
Maybe we need to look at the types of firearms and ammunition. There are already restrictions in most states, including Wyoming, on the type and size of firearms used for hunting as well as their capacity, and the type of ammunition that may be used; this does not seem to negatively impact the outcome of most peoples hunting experience.
Maybe some of these will work, maybe none of these will work; but it is time we start to address the issue.
These are just a very small example of the areas that should be discussed to come to a solution that addresses the issue while protecting everyone. We, as Wyoming gun owners, should take the lead and sit down with all the stake holders to have a civil and respectful discussion.
Anyone who thinks it can not happen need only look to the tobacco industry to see what can happen when you fail to recognize a grassroots ground swell and ignore being involved in finding solutions.
If we choose to not be the leaders we will become irrelevant in the discussions and we will not like the outcomes.
I realize that some of you will not believe me solely because I am a Democrat. I would urge you to go to the NRA-PVF website and check out their ratings for the Wyoming House District #50 race. You will find that they give me a higher rating than Your current Representative.