In the Middle: Gun Control

Jeremy Fugleberg

Jeremy Fugleberg

I heard somebody shot a bunch of people at Virginia Tech, and what I immediately felt wasn’t sadness for the victims. Instead, I began expecting gun control to become a full-blown campaign issue. One rogue gunman, probably wielding legal handguns, killed a bunch of people. It was a shameful waste of human potential, a tragic destruction of students whose only crime was showing up for a German class.

While the media circus continues, the discussion will invariably swing to who should be blamed. The finger will point to the university administration, maybe the police. It will then turn to the killer’s writings, his musical or movie choices. And then it will turn to his guns.


The NRA and its ilk will scream that the person is responsible – not the weapons or their availability. The other side will demand protection from crazies and their guns. Neither side understands each other.

Gun-lovers need to understand the difference between a hunter and a hit man. And gun-haters need to realize that in much of this country, hunting is a tradition – a way of life, even – and a realistic conservation tool.

This is my problem with federal gun laws. In some ways, it makes sense to have requirements for standards and gun dealers. At the same time, I understand that some interstate regions need comprehensive solutions to gun violence.

Let’s keep federal hands off anything but basic gun-control legislation, usually done as a feel-good, “hate-the-big-assault-weapon” piece of legislation. Other than that, leave it to the states.

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