Opinion

Editor's Column

"It was Mike Fagan who made me realize that full Second Amendment rights aren't for everyone.I come from a long line of gun owners on both sides of the family, and all they boys were weaned on BB guns and .22s before advancing to 12 gauges and 30 ought 6's. We knew were the guns were, we knew where the bullets were, and we knew that if we ever combined the two without permission something extremely bad would happen to us, so we never did.Safety was drilled into us from the beginning. Always keep the the barrel pointed down, always check the safety to make sure it's on, set the gun down and then crawl through the fence, don't shoot unless you know exactly what you're shooting at, never carry a loaded gun in a car, never point even an unloaded gun at anyone for any reason -- in fact, there's no such thing as an unloaded gun. Gun rules and etiquette were endless, but we knew it all because we were raised with guns.Which brings us back to Mike Fagan. We were probably freshmen in high school at the time and he wanted to go duck hunting with me, which consisted of walking the dikes of Ebey's Slough off the Snohomish River, hoping a wayward duck would fly over. Mike was the class clown but was smarter than me in physics, so I said sure. A new hunting partner would be great. I loaned him a hunting vest and hat, showed him the rudiments of handling his borrowed shotgun, and off we went.The hunting trip was only moments old before I knew this was a big mistake.Mike started pointing the gun and going bang bang at anything that moved, and even waved it past myself a few times. He pointed the barrel up, down and all around, and could have blow a hole in himself in numerous places. It dawned on me that I was hunting with a gun-safety moron, so I called a halt to the enterprise, explaining that I didn't realize it was Wednesday and ducks never fly on Wednesday.Mike Fagan probably went on to become a respected doctor or engineer or something, but I hope he never picked up another gun without some thorough safety training first. His parents never owned guns, he never had any gun training, and apparently all the shoot'em-ups he saw on TV and in the movies never convinced him that guns are dangerous. In fact, just the opposite occurred. He thought guns were toys.While I support the Second Amendment, I don't think people who weren't lucky enough to be brought up with the right combination of guns and parents should be able to just walk out of the store with a gun. Every person who buys a gun should have to pass a rigorous safety training program before being allowed to take one home.All you have to do is watch the news to realize that there are millions of Mike Fagans out there today, and they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a gun."

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