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As an NRA Hunter Safety Instructor for eight years and a gun owner, I support the 2nd Amendment as to a "well-regulated militia" and interpretations based upon perceptions and gun technology at the time of the Constitution's adoption. As timeless as a document it has proven to be, its wisdom is a reflection of its time and must be interpreted as such. I also believe in the Declaration of Independence statement that “all humans are created equal, that they are endowed … with unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness.” Allowing for taking or irrevocable disruption of another person’s life violates the very foundation of our Country.

Per the NRA, I propose they take responsiblity for managing and accountablity for shooting ranges across the county where guns, including automatic weapons, can be used by and stored for the owners. NRA ranges would be the only place where automatic weapons can be fired. The NRA can sell non-automatic weapons to individuals provided they are 21 years of age, pass a NRA gun safety course, pass a uniform national background check, and wait 3 days before receiving their weapon. The ATF would be the governmental agency responsible for licensing and oversight of these shooting ranges.

Individual gun owners would be allowed to own 1 handgun and 1 hunting rifle. Prior to buying any new ammunition, they too would need to pass an NRA gun safety course and sign an affidavit attesting they have no more than 1 handgun and 1 hunting rifle, a document that would be on file with the ATF.

On the flip-side, all automatic fire weapons and accessories are banned. The writers of the Constitution could not have anticipated and undoubtedly would have banned the use of any automatic weapons. The ATF will set up a program by which owners of automatic weapon can "sell" their guns and ammunition back to the US government for a fair valued direct tax deduction. A three-year window will exist for automatic weapons to be redeemed for a tax deduction, no questions asked. Those choosing not to sell their automatic weapons can store and use that weapon(s) at a licensed NRA shooting range. Owners who are not in compliance with these requirements may be arrested for felony possession of an illegal weapon and consistent with current Federal law. Remember, you can only shoot one weapon at a time.

Congress has the responsibility to better assure the safety of the American public, particularly of schools and other public places by strict limits on guns. I encourage the reader to pressure your representatives to support a bill that not only contains the above base plan but also prohibits the gun manufacturers and lobby from political contributions. We have to address the immoral and illegal flow of money to buy favoritism and political allegiance. Bribery, also know as large campaign investment, is illegal.

What we need now is leadership- not compliance. Being a leader means making hard choices. The NRA is not an evil organization and working with it to protect fundamental gun rights will be essential, At the same time, taking a stand that differs with the NRA may be a hard choice; but the consequence of not doing so condemns more children and law abiding adults to episodes of preventable gun violence. Lives are more important than blood-stained political contributions. Let’s pressure our elected representatives to do what is right or vote to remove them from office in November.

BRYAN BATES

Flagstaff

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