Living in Macoupin County gives us the blessings of living a rural lifestyle. We know our neighbors, enjoy the country scenery and send our kids to schools where we know everyone from the superintendent to the lunch ladies.
Our beloved rural lifestyle also means guns and the NRA. How do we justify gun ownership in the wake of another tragic school shooting? What are the answers we seek to keep our families safe?
Many Democrats are proud supporters of the second amendment and the NRA. The NRA has done much in our communities to educate young hunters and contribute to school trap shooting teams. Their work with our young people is with merit. We share a beer or meal with many fine folks who are NRA members; we like them and respect them.
The problem is with the leadership of the NRA. Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch are responsible for giving their own organization a black eye. Their false rhetoric only serves to stir up the mainstream media and drive an even bigger wedge between us. Mr. La Pierre insists that those who are in favor of sensible regulations have an ulterior motive to abolish the second amendment all together. Ms. Loesch instills fear with her claims that gun confiscation is the next step after common sense regulations.
How are we, as Democrats in one small rural county, to overcome this terrible, hateful vitriol which has us looking askance at our NRA neighbors? I suggest we simply talk. Let our friends and neighbors know that we expect a common sense approach to gun licensing, background checks, and training. Let them know that we do not want to confiscate their grandpa’s hunting rifle but we want to have assurance that new and future gun owners are qualified for the responsibility of gun ownership. We also need to let them know that we will stand up to the NRA’s bullying and money and will do so by the power of the ballot box. We will support candidates who stand for fair gun legislation like licensing gun sellers, increased age limits for gun purchases, limiting magazine size and bump stocks and prohibiting gun sales to those identified with dangerous backgrounds. We will support candidates and legislation that support arming teachers, not with a weapon, but with a staff of specialists who can identify and address mental and social issues in our schools.
We will vote for candidates without NRA money in their pockets.
Macoupin County is a good example of folks, with opposing views on big topic issues, who get along. We work, worship, learn, recreate, and live peacefully together. We must strive for a sensible compromise that will support responsible gun ownership while assuring that our communities and schools are safe.