Gun rights require equal responsibilities

Gun rights require equal responsibilities

The gun industry turned the National Rifle Association (NRA) into a gun lobby back in the 1960s because it was worried that all the mass shootings and assassinations would cause a decrease in gun and ammunition sales.

As a pheasant hunter in the 1950s, I considered joining the NRA because back then it was a good hunter rights organization. Today, the gun industry speaks through the leadership of the NRA. The gun industry is like any business in that it doesn't want to lose sales. Its tactics are to strong-arm legislators, bully, threaten, attack, distort and spread paranoia among its members and the public.

The gun industry says background checks are an unreasonable intrusion on gun owners' rights. Astronaut Mark Kelly (the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords), said that it took him 5 minutes and 30 seconds for a complete background check to buy a handgun recently.

Is that too long? When Giffords was shot, the gunman emptied his magazine containing 33 bullets, causing 33 wounds (some fatal) with every bullet piercing a human being. It took 15 seconds.

I believe with gun owners, Kelly and Giffords in the Second Amendment but we take that right and the responsibilities seriously. Rights demand responsibility. This right doesn't extend to terrorists, criminals or the mentally ill.

As Kelly says, "When dangerous people get guns, we are all vulnerable. When dangerous people get dangerous guns, we are all the more vulnerable." A recent poll shows 74 percent of NRA members are in favor of strong background checks and favor regulating the sale of large ammunition clips.