This national gun control controversy has become a really big deal. It has even garnered international attention, and very recently by executive order I had to institute a bit of gun control right here under my own roof as well.
My four-year-old son was running around the other day with the Nerf dart gun we gave him for Christmas, and he was shooting all over the place. As the kids were playing nicely, I turned my attention to some reading until I heard these chilling words:
“Daddy, say ‘cheese’ to my camera gun.”
Looking at my son, I noticed a suction cup dart pointing directly at my head, and I knew his little finger was on the trigger, because there was also a beam of “laser” light dancing on my face. That was a good opportunity to administer more of my kind of gun control.
Moments later, my little guy was back to shooting walls, windows, his bunk bed and other solid fixtures, but he wasn’t pointing his toy weapon at people anymore.
I believe in gun control. Sort of.
My father is a firm believer in gun control. When he taught me to fire my three-inch choke, break-action, 12-gauge, single-shot turkey gun, he made sure the butt of the stock was firmly against my shoulder, for example. As a pre-teen, the recoil from shooting three-inch, double-aught shells was strong enough to offer a good bruise if I was holding it away from my shoulder even just a bit. By controlling the gun properly, the impact was reduced, and my aim was sharpened.
Dad also taught me to practice, practice, practice shooting and in general to not kill animals I didn’t intend to clean and eat. Just as I now teach my son, Dad told me not to even pretend to shoot other people, and he taught me to always be mindful of where the gun barrel is pointing. Basically, even in handling any sort of unloaded gun, I was never to let it point at anyone.
Years later, I was privileged to practice gun control with members of the Fayetteville Police Department. Under the watchful eye of range master Lieutenant Tom Kirkbride, several of us took our handguns one dark evening to the range on McDonough Road, and they lined up police cars at the top of every lane. The flashing headlights and emergency lights created a dancing shadow across the target, and it was a somewhat challenging task to stay focused on the bull’s eye.
Granted, I was only using my 9mm Smith & Wesson while the officers were using their Glock 40s, but I did score a 98 percent in that event. I was exercising fairly good gun control.
In our home, “gun control” means safely controlling our guns and ammunition. Call me simple, but that’s the only kind of gun control I support.
It’s worrying to note that Adolf Hitler believed in a different sort of “gun control” in which law abiding citizens were disarmed. Crazy, don’t you think? Whoever thought that was a good idea? But I digress.
Striking closer to home for me is a more imminent danger than gun violence. I’ve mentioned before that part-time I drive a school bus in Clayton County, and there’s another dangerous object I’m seeing more and more in my rear view mirror. These objects are so dangerous that the very sight of one causes me to tense in fear and do whatever it takes to secure them.
Okay, to be more precise: Sharpened pencils.
Only a couple of months ago, I heard another driver call out on the radio that one of her students had stabbed a pencil through the cheek of another student. Since then, I’ve had a few occasions on my bus when kids have stabbed their own legs by having freshly sharpened pencils in their pockets when sitting down. And pretty much every day I see at least half a dozen kids running toward the bus with at least one sharpened pencil in their hands.
Maybe we need to come up with some pencil control laws. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know “pencils don’t stab people… people stab people”, but perhaps we should at least require students to go through background checks and pencil-safety classes. And just in case the government would like to swoop in and take pencils away from law abiding citizen, they might find a Registered Pencil User List to be helpful.
And don’t even get me started on scissors!
Harrison is a freelance journalist, former foreign missionary and founder of Law to Grace Ministries. He is a part-time writer for this newspaper.