Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Gun Safety' Isn't a Code Word; It Can Help Reduce Violence

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Gun Safety' Isn't a Code Word; It Can Help Reduce Violence

Article excerpt

A recent short video posted by NRATV accused "liberal [and] Democrat elected leader[s]" of using the term "gun safety" as a sort of code word. "Look out," the video warns. When you hear "gun safety," "they're coming for your guns."

As an Army officer, I served two tours in Afghanistan, and continue to serve today in the Army Reserve in Missouri. In training exercises, and on foot patrols as a platoon commander in Afghanistan, gun safety wasn't a code word; it was the mark of a dedicated practitioner of the profession of arms. The kind of gun safety I learned in Afghanistan can make a difference, and help reduce gun violence, here in St. Louis.

Gun safety means countless hours at the range increasing proficiency with a weapon to ensure you are accurate -- you hit what you aim at, and don't hit what you do not intend to. Moreover, gun safety means safe storage and accountability. In garrison, our weapons were safely locked away. In combat, they never were more than an arms-length away. Gun safety means no one gets a hold of your weapon who shouldn't have it. Gun safety means treating weapons with respect due to the awesome and terrible power they possess.

That same culture of respect, safety and accountability ought to apply to civilian gun ownership as well. Some of the solutions to reducing gun violence start right in the home. In America, eight children are killed or injured every day with guns that aren't properly secured inside homes. Using locks, safes and practices like I learned during my military service can prevent these tragedies and save lives.

However, cultural changes and practices are of course not enough to reduce the scourge of gun violence facing America. Firearms remain the leading weapon by far used in homicides in our St. Louis community and across America. There have been more firearm homicides in the city of St. …

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