By Heidi Hoelting
I am disturbed to learn that a gun shop has moved into Ken’s Korner. I have been patronizing businesses at this shopping center for over 30 years, and will continue to do so. But I will have to avert my eyes and shield my soul every time I go to other businesses.
I have nothing against this businessman or responsible gun owners, per se. I am not trying to take away their rights to own and sell guns. I take issue with the NRA and others stonewalling gun control reform, however. The NRA and our nation’s anti-gun control zealots are like the defenders of cigarette smoking in the past, those who championed their right to saturate the public air with toxic fumes over my right to taste my food and protect my health.
Gun advocates pollute my world with danger and evil; they violate my values and my sense of well-being. Of course, the real culprit is the arms industry that funds the NRA and the anti-gun control politicians. They are all motivated by greed, knowing they can make heaps of money off the fears and baser inclinations of their customers.
The majority of gun owners support reasonable gun control. But too many seem oblivious to how our national gun culture undermines society. Guns are not playthings, works of art, or reassuring symbols of law and order in my mind, but symbols of violence and evil. When I see a gun, a chill runs down my spine. I am reminded of all the horrific murders that I have read about in the papers, the wonton acts of psychopaths and paranoid idiots, to say nothing of the ravages of war on a global scale. I think of my 6-year-old granddaughter going off to kindergarten in complete trust and innocence, and my heart aches because I know we cannot protect her from harm.
If I were Ruler of the World, I would outlaw guns entirely. But as this is highly unlikely, I propose common-sense gun control measures instead. First, remove from society all weapons that could be used for purposes other than simple self-protection, target practice or game hunting. Second, before purchasing and registering a gun through legal means, prove that you have been cleared of prior felonies, mental illness or anti-social behavior; that you have been educated about gun safety and that you practice proper gun storage and maintenance; that you have complete control over your emotions in the presence of guns, drugs and alcohol; and that you are a person of good will who is committed to loving your neighbor as yourself. Then, and only then, will you be issued a permit.
Of course, no member of our species could pass all of these tests, so that brings us back to Proposal No. 1.
Guns cannot protect us from the evil that dwells in our hearts. The only real protection is self-mastery and the transformation of that evil into love.