Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dear NRA

Fr. Dale Matson

I am writing this letter for two reasons. First, I want to thank you for representing me and all responsible gun owners over the years and for your concern for our second amendment rights. I have been a member now for several years and find the fee of $25.00 to be reasonable. I also enjoy the magazine the American Rifleman.

I have a long history with firearms and hunted with my late father and my brother. Those are memories where my father taught me to handle and use guns responsibly. Firearms are a part of my history including service in the U.S. army.  I no longer hunt but do enjoy shooting targets with friends. I also have a CCW permit.

My second reason for this letter is my concern for what seems to me to be a non-productive and strident unwillingness on the part of NRA leadership to participate in the problem solving needed to help reduce firearm violence. More rhetoric is not needed. Why can’t the NRA form their own task force to generate ideas and solutions? Who knows more about firearms than the NRA? I do not believe that civilians, who are unfamiliar with firearms, should be determining what is prudent. Those crafting firearm legislation need input from groups like the NRA; however, The NRA must get beyond saying, “No”. I do not believe that I am the only member that feels this way.

Responsible gun owners want to reduce firearm violence as much as anyone else, especially violence such as the wholesale murders in Columbine, Aurora and Newton. I think the biggest concern for gun owners is that the real agenda for many gun control advocates is the confiscation of all firearms. I have two suggestions that seem reasonable for both gun owners and those advocating more gun control.

Outlaw all magazines for civilians that hold more than 10 rounds. This is more than enough ammunition for hunting and targets.

Require secured storage of all firearms and ammunition. This will reduce access to firearms by those who intentionally or accidentally should not have access including thieves.

I know that this does not address the culture of violence, alcohol and drug related firearm deaths, gang violence, the collapse of our mental health system and violent video games. These are others areas that requite scrutiny and reform.

Finally, I don’t agree that there should be armed security guards at all schools. I am a priest; retired psychologist and responsible gun owner who would like to see the NRA play an important part in the solutions we all want, not just NRA members.

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