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Guns, gun owners, & respecting firearms

It's been a week since I've blogged. Kinda busy with my mom in town. A lot going on in the world making it difficult to put parenting in perspective, too. My initial reaction to what happened in Newtown was that it's a big, scary, crazy world out there. We send our kids out into it anyway. Frankly, an assault rifle should be the least of your concerns. There are a thousand deadly things waiting outside your door each day to harm your children. Get over it.

Ok, maybe not "get over it." I want the government to regulate the airline industry and make my bus driver pass a test to drive a bus. We can do all we can to make life as safe as possible...but safety is an illusion.

That's the real debate we're having in America right now, isn't it? Civilization and what it looks like.

Guns aren't the problem. People are the problem. Something to upset both my pro-gun and liberal friends there. If you're a gun owner who keeps your guns locked away, transports them safely, has devices on your firearms to prevent anybody but you from firing it, more power to you. We need more of you.

I grew up not necessarily around guns, but I've definitely handled a weapon now and then in my day. And thank you to my grandfather, the Boy Scouts, and others for teaching me at an early age how to shoot. Better to know upfront what you're dealing with than finding out the hard way. Handguns, rifles, shotguns, muskets. They're all just tools.

Remember my argument about computers and tv? Same thing applies here. It's about the user, stupid. The problem is you, not the gun.

If I have to show ID at Target to buy drain cleaner...or some cold medicine at the pharmacy counter, I should probably have a limit on how many bullets I can buy per day and the government should have a record that I bought them.

Because the real issue--contrary to the "answers" from the head of the NRA today--is that gun owners need to step up now. It should be gun owners who are leading the charge saying "let's keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill and what do we need to do as law-abiding citizens to be more responsible about firearm safety?"

The gun owners calling for bringing back the assault weapons ban is refreshing. So are calls for limiting the size of clips.

I'd love to branch out though...taxes per firearm owned? Public database of registered guns by address of owner? That sure would help as a parent.

Yearly registration renewal and transfer paperwork like we do with automobiles.

And, most importantly, stiff penalties for criminals who are caught with unregistered guns. Mandatory prison sentences. Time period purchase limits to stop gun-running which hurts a gun control city like Chicago...our guns come from outside the county and are used for murders here.

It's time to end the idea that all guns are bad. It's time to end the idea that a limitless supply of guns is good.

The Constitution protects your right to own a gun. It says nothing about whether the government has to let you have bullets for it. It's time to find the reasonable middle ground to create a culture of gun responsibility and accountability in the same way we have traffic lights, stop signs, and crosswalk laws.