As a young man, I never thought twice about using guns. In my mid-teens, I got rifle training from the National Rifle Association in a highly organized, professional program that stressed safety above all else. In the military, the weaponry saved me from terminal boredom. I fired M-16 assault rifles, an M-60 machine gun, a .45 revolver and even a bazooka. It was fun. Later, on my first-ever day of hunting, I shot a deer as it ran by me in the West Virginia woods. I had to shoot it again as it lay writhing on the forest floor. It was then that I realized that I’m not a gun guy, and I never fired a gun again.
Now we face the perplexing question of what to do about the flood of firearms coursing through our society -- a question made more difficult by last month’s shooting at an Oregon community college. The simple and obvious remedy is to outlaw them, but the Second Amendment -- or its current interpretation -- makes that impossible. We could pass federal laws making it harder for people to get guns if they are not licensed and carefully screened, but that’s not going to happen either.