. . . people kill people.
But you can't shoot someone without a gun. And it's a lot harder to kill someone if you don't have a gun.
I don't know how gun control is an issue that's of interest particularly to people in their 60s and 70s -- any more than it is for any other age group -- except, maybe, possibly, because of our experience and wisdom we can take a more mature and considered look at the issue.
Occasionally a politician or conservative think tank will cite studies showing that in places where more people have guns, there are actually fewer murders. The idea, I suppose, is that if a criminal fears that a store owner is hiding a pistol behind the counter, the criminal is less likely to rob the store. This may actually be true; the issue has been argued both ways.
A friend of mine, who's a typical moderate liberal suburbanite, carries a handgun in his car. Why? Because he once was held up at gunpoint by the side of the road. He was in fear for his life and felt completely helpless, and he vowed never to be put into that position again.
He feels safer with a gun in the car. Is he actually any safer? That's debatable.
But the point is, it doesn't matter. It has no bearing on the issue of gun control. No one is arguing that Americans should be stripped of their guns (are they?). Even Beto O'Rourke who said, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15s," doesn't say he wants to take away all guns. Kamela Harris owns a gun; Elizabeth Warren says her brother owns a gun; both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have explicitly defended the right of citizens to bear arms.
Some say gun control should be left up to state or local authorities. New York has a gun control law. Plenty of other places do too. But, for one thing, it's too easy to purchase a gun in one location and carry it to another location where it might be illegal -- but where there's no way the local law can possibly be enforced. Also, when people start shooting federally elected officials, like U. S. Representatives Gabrielle Giffords and Steve Scalise, it only seems logical that federal laws should apply in the matter.
So what could possibly be wrong with treating guns like another dangerous but useful tool -- the automobile. No one complains that people are denied the right to own an automobile. Almost every American has one, or uses one. Lots of people have two or three.
But there are laws regulating the use and ownership of an automobile. You have to get a minimal amount of training, then pass a test and get a license, before you can drive. You register your car, so authorities can keep track of all these automobiles, in case a crime is committed or someone is hurt. And you're also required to have auto insurance, so if someone does get hurt by this dangerous machine, they can get reimbursed for their medical bills and maybe receive some sort of payment as recompense for their pain and suffering.
And nobody pickets Congress saying, If cars are outlawed, only outlaws will have cars!
So what's wrong with the federal government requiring people to get some training, pass a test, and then get a license before they're allowed to shoot a gun? (Or the states could set these requirements under federal guidelines.) A gun is just as dangerous as a car, perhaps more so. And so it only seems logical that shooters, just like drivers, should be able to demonstrate that they're competent to use one. (Kids in some areas could take Shooter's Ed in school -- why not?) Since it's a dangerous as well as a useful tool -- again, just like a car -- people should have to prove that they're responsible enough to own one. And for that the gun would have to be registered, and insured, just like a car, to ensure a level of sanity to the situation.
Sure, it would cost gun owners a bit of money -- but a lot less than it costs to keep a car. Hunters could still hunt. Store owners could still keep a gun to defend themselves from violent criminals. Hobbyists could still collect their rifles and guns. And my friend can keep his gun in his glove compartment.
I just don't see why this wouldn't work. A lot of people like their guns. They find them useful. That's fine. Nobody's trying to take away the guns. But guns are dangerous. They are scary. At least as scary as a car.