Dear Congress – Sincerely, A Mass Shooting Survivor

Dear Congress,

I write you today upon hearing the grave news that another heinous mass shooting has happened, this time in Roseburg, Oregon. We learned today that at least 10 people have lost their lives, and at least 7 have been injured.

I write you this letter so that you can see the face of a survivor.  I write you this letter as someone who saw with my own eyes the horror of a mass shooting, a shooting that took the lives of my twin and younger sister and injured my father at New Life Church in December 2007. And most importantly I write this letter to open a dialogue about the role that gun violence has played in our country.

I say specifically to open a dialogue, because I am not strictly anti-gun. I feel that I am in a unique place to address this issue. About 3 years ago, I took a class to obtain a conceal-carry permit. After having been a victim of gun violence once, I was terrified to face it again. I still have nightmares about shootings about once a month. The need to protect myself was strong. At the time I felt that a conceal carry permit was the only way to sufficiently do so.

However, once I finished the class, a thought began to pervade my mind. What if I had to actually do it, actually pull the trigger? What then? Could I? Should I?

I thought about seeing my twin Stephanie’s face just moments after she was shot. I thought about my sister Rachel who was gray when I passed her just outside our family car that day. And I knew in that moment I could never pull a trigger against another human. The human might be someone who did something horrific. Some think I might have been able to even stop the shooter who killed my sisters. But when it came down to it, I realized it didn’t matter how horrible the person was. They were human. They had a family – a brother or sister, parents, cousins. In retaliating with a gun, I would be inflicting the same violence on the shooter and his family, that the shooter inflicted on me the day he killed my sisters.

This changed my mind about getting a conceal carry permit. Since I could not personally take on the responsibility of another’s life, I chose not to carry at all. Many have argued that I don’t necessarily have to “kill” someone, or that I could use this permit while out on one of my many hikes to defend myself from animals. However to me, the potentiality is there for me to commit harm against a human, so I refuse to carry.

I do not share this story as a censure against conceal carry but rather to share my thought process. I am not against conceal carry as a whole. What I am against is the lack of foresight that goes into it, both from those who carry, and from our government. Our government in many instances does not background check either those who conceal carry or those who purchase guns.

Why? We know that these atrocities are committed on a regular basis. We know that guns especially can be used to commit violent and heinous crimes. And yet we have little system of checks and balances to prevent these crimes from occurring. Many who argue against gun control say that it is not the gun that is the problem, it is the person. But if we have no way of checking who the person is, the gun becomes the problem.

I must say again clearly, Congress, that too many people have not sufficiently thought through what gun ownership in this country entails. I address you as well as those people. You have not sufficiently thought about what the responsibility of owning a gun means. Therefore you do not regulate it sufficiently in our government system. Because you do not regulate it, others do not either. And we come to where we are today, where people have clearly said to me, “I conceal carry because I am afraid to be in a mass shooting and I need to protect myself.”

The role of a country is to protect its citizens. You have failed to do so and now citizens feel the need to protect themselves, not realizing that the cost of this may be in human lives.

I am appealing to you today not to repeal the 2nd amendment, not to take people’s guns, but to consider within yourselves your responsibility to your people. As I considered my own responsibility towards human dignity when I chose not to carry, I ask you now to consider your responsibility towards human dignity when it comes to guns in the United States. I ask you to bear the grave burden of human life on your shoulders and decide in yourselves what checks and balances can be made to sufficiently uphold its dignity.

I ask you to open a dialogue – to see the human faces of this issue. To see my face as a survivor. To see the faces of gun owners who feel the need to protect themselves. As the tradition of my childhood says in the Scriptures, “Come, let us reason together.” Let’s make this discussion human again.

Please, consider me, and all those who have survived. I ask you, please consider how to prevent these atrocities so that others will never have to say, “I survived seeing my friend, parent, sister, shot and killed.” Put yourself in my shoes, feel what it would be like to survive such terror. And ask yourselves what you can to do prevent this madness from continuing.

Sincerely,
A Mass Shooting Survivor


I would love to hear your thoughts and dialogue in the comments. Let’s start a conversation about this. And if you agree and want to add your voice, please share this post via social media. 

EDIT: I’ve begun a dialogue post here, come join!

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384 thoughts on “Dear Congress – Sincerely, A Mass Shooting Survivor

    1. Wow!! Very well said. My heart and sincere condolences go out to you. It amazes me how someone like you could turn out to be so bitter but instead takes something so negative and horrific and tries to make a positive change in the world. Good for you.

      1. Hi Laurie, I applaud your positive attitude in the face of tragedy and kudos to you for deciding not to carry. The 2nd amendment right was written into the constitution 224 years ago. A lot has changed since then. The world was a different place back then. Here are my thoughts on the subject…http://tinyurl.com/qjzxwvb

      2. I read your post, and in many ways agree. I don’t think the 2nd amendment should be set in stone, and people might more often realize that other amendments are regulated. That being said I don’t know what the regulation should be. Like I wrote in my post, I think there needs to be a dialogue that considers our common humanity.

  1. I witness all of this, as a Canadian, and I do not believe violence solves violence. This was a beautiful testament. Sharing for sure. I hope for nothing but safety and peace for all my neighbours to the south.

    1. Thank you so much. My best friend lives in Canada – your justice system has a little better understanding of this I think that we do here in the US. I pray for peace as well.

  2. This is something I have also given a lot of thought to. I’m afraid for my child. We like in a bible belt state with easy and free access to guns, but not a lot of common sense, and I worry even about my kid going to other kids’ houses to play. Will their parents have a gun? Will their kid want to show it off to mine?
    I would like to think I would probably have no problem killing someone if they threatened my family, but just because I’d be forced to do it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t haunt me. But I repsect how you feel, and as you said, you are in the unique position to have an opinion everyone on both sides of this issue SHOULD hear. I also am not “against” guns per se, but the continued indifference and refusal of the “pro-gun” camp to yield even a bit to common sense limitations and restrictions makes me so angry. I also have thought of starting to carry for safety on my job )I have to go to clients’ homes) and for whatever. What has stopped ME so far is the fear that even if I do everything right to secure my weapon, my child could get a hold of it.
    My heart breaks for your loss. I can’t imagine your pain. Peace to you. ❤

    1. I hear you. Colorado is an open carry state, and it is terrifying at times.
      In my case that is what I realized – it would haunt me TOO much, and I just couldn’t have that on my conscience. I couldn’t. Thank you, as well, for respecting my position. That means a lot. What I want more than anything is to start a dialogue and get people thinking more about this issue. I’m glad you seem open to that. Thank you for listening to my story, I am grateful. Peace to you as well.

      1. We have open carry here too. It’s scary because like I said, some of these people don’t have sense enough to stop at stop signs. I don’t want guns in their hands. o.O

      2. Yeah, and I feel like, “well why don’t you advertise you have a weapon? Tempt someone to take it.” It may be a deterant to some but not all. A guy I went to HS was killed a few years ago when a kid who knew him broke into his apartment to steal his gun. The kid, barely 18, stabbed this guy. The victim was legally blind, whihc makes it even sicker. I feel like these people who open carry for no reason are simply passive aggressive. Afterall, who will even disagree with them? If they stole your washer at the laundry mat, you think twice about even confronting them. WHo knows which nutter will pull a gun? That’s why the whole idea of the “responsible gun owner” is flawed. One, even a responsible, level-headed person can become an idiot given certain circumstances. Secondly, a lot of these wackadoo, (like Lanza) get their weapons FROM legal gun owners.

        😦

    2. It’s unfortunate, but the reason the “pro-gun” camp is generally against “common sense” limitations and restrictions, is that such restrictions have long existed to prevent drug abuse and have had no effect on our drug problems. You can’t make such problems go away by trying to legislate it away as so many shootings in “gun free” zones have also proven. The bigger reason, is that “common sense” restrictions on weapon ownership such as registration have long been used as a tool by tyrants to further their subjugation and abuse of citizens. Ironically, often times those creating the legislation are not the ones who end up abusing it to the detriment of the people. Every generation whose ever enjoyed economic abundance throughout history, has assumed they were too civilized and beyond the violent history of their ancestors, and they’ve increased the power provided to their governments to maintain that security which inevitably results in their fall when internal or external tyrants take advantage of their weakened condition.

      1. I appreciate your considered response, but when a gun is left in an unlocked vehicle or “loaned” to someone that is not qualified, this is riciculous. You wouldn’t leave you r keys in your car overnight, and you wouldn’t loan your car to someone who you didn’t know if they could drive or how “responsible” they are, but this happens regulalry with gun owners. If people want to responsibility of a gun, they need to be prepared to be responsible for where it is at all times. Drugs are a completely different issue, as it often involves physical addiction, and it is largely considered a victimless crime aside from dealer violence. And as to gun free sones, certainly, I see your point, but there are certain places where guns have no business, law or no law, and I’d say a school is one! People keep citing fear of not being able to defend ourselves against a tyranty government, which I find hilarious. Our government now has drones and tactical bombs. You think a few rifles and handguns in the hands of citizens (half of whom are uneducated nit wits) scattered all over the country are going to be able to stand up against the gov’t if they wanted total supremacy? Mean, while, Obama hasn’t taken our guns yet (after almost 8 whole years), the gov’t still hasn’t tried to “subjugate” us, but kids ARE still being killed by people who get guns through mostly legal channels.
        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/03/us/how-mass-shooters-got-their-guns.html?_r=0

      2. So I was scrolling down, reading replies, and I came across this one. I found it interesting, and I don’t wish to argue, but I would like to say a few things about it. I do not believe drugs are a different issue. Cocaine is illegal, and we have several laws for other drugs as well, but people still get these drugs. They don’t get them legally. You say it is largely a victimless crime, but there are so many people (especially kids) who get their hands on drugs and die of overdose or side effects. You also say that you think a school is no place for a gun. I’d like to ask how many school shootings have there been? Schools are gun free zones, and all that means is there is a sign on the doors saying no guns. It’s the same for every gun free zone, it’s just a sign. If a person is going to walk into a school and shoot a bunch of kids, then a sticker or a piece of metal with words on it isn’t going to stop him. Law or no law, bad people are going to do bad things with guns, or knives. I have mixed feelings about background checks, or registrations because of the tyranny of the government. Yeah ok they haven’t taken our guns yet, but saying that they haven’t tried is untrue. They have tried multiple times to ban multiple things, from semi-automatic weapons, to certain types of ammunition. Yeah they have bombs and drones, but if you’ve taken a chemistry class you know how to make a bomb. Hell, if you stick two 9-volt batteries together and leave them they’ll explode. And civilians have drones too. Did you know, that if you put the armed citizens from Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and one other state that I can’t remember which one it is, if you put the armed citizens from those states together they outnumber the government? (That includes the military) That’s in only 4 states. I know it’s very controversial, but it is not a matter of opinion whether gun control works or not. It is a fact, that it does not. Look at Australia, and the U.K., their “gun” violence, it’s way higher than ours. You don’t even have to look out of this country, look at Chicago. How high is the armed crime rate? Do you know who has the lowest crime rate in the world? Switzerland. Every household is issued a firearm. People can argue gun control works, but it doesn’t. That’s not a matter of opinion. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I appreciate it. I also respect your opinions, and I would like to ask that you please do the same for me.

      3. Actually, what’s not a matter of opinion is that gun crime goes up when there is easy access to guns. And I can back that up with actual sources. When I refer to gun control, it has nothing to do with “gun free zone” signs. And actually, there was an article pertaining specifically to gun violence in schools. There may be more violence, but MASS SHOOTINGS of the school variety were practically eliminated by their gun laws.
        http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2012/12/16/gun_control_after_connecticut_shooting_could_australia_s_laws_provide_a.html
        For every time a crime in this country is “averted by a hero with a gun” there are probably ten (I’m hyperbolizing there) deaths by guns either deliberate or accidental, many as a result of the “responsible” gun owner not secureing their weapon. In this last week alone I saw several, one a woman shot by her own toddler grandon because he got a hold of the gun in her car. I don’t understand why people are so against common sense gun laws. I don’t ask things to be banned at all (except I still maintain there is no reason for teachers to feel the need to pack in a school. ) I ask that people be held STRICTLY accountable for their weapon’s whereabouts. And that screening processes are used properly. If you read the article “How They Got Their Guns” you will see some of the shooters who got guns legally and easily never should have been allowed access. If a person feels that asking for someone to be responsible for their firearm, a tool (they love to claim the gun is “just” a tool,) that kills people…if a person thinks that’s unreasonable, then in my opinion, they are part of the problem! Maybe some people who be compelled to not lend their guns to inexperienced and potentially irresponsible family or friends if they thought they could be held just as accountable.

  3. I am sharing this because it is so well written. I was at New Life Church that day working in the tech department and left about 30 minutes before the shooting took place. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I sure hope this does open a much needed dialogue.

  4. Thank you for sharing your perspective, Laurie. You may not remember me, but as a relative in law, my family and I shared in the pain of the loss of your dear family members. Your efforts to secure the safety of ALL our families is much appreciated. Best wishes to you and your loved ones.
    Brian Miles

    1. I think I faintly remember you 🙂 and obviously recognize the name. You are more than welcome… It is the least I can do to honor my sisters memories. Best wishes to you and yours as well.

  5. This is so well put. I was there at NLC then too, when he turned away from your family towards the doors I was on the other side of the doors. I appreciate this open conversation and do hope to see some positive change through it. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  6. I too am sorry you had to go through your ordeal – condolences. I understand your reservation about “being able to pull the trigger”. I have a CCW and carry concealed everywhere I am legally allowed to. I can assure you, if I were in a group of 5-6 people and a deranged shooter approached intent on killing everybody, I wouldn’t hesitate to save as many as I could by shooting that potential killer – that’s called self-defense; we wouldn’t have the luxury of waiting on the police. At that point it’s basically a ‘mini-war’ …and I’d rather it be one dead ‘wrong’ potential killer dead than 5-6 innocent people dead. I practice often, take many extra training classes, compete in shooting competitions with many LEOs and agents from different agencies …and though you may question your ability to “pull the trigger” and live with the aftermath, I have no such reservations. Mind you, I sincerely hope it would never come to me having to resort to using my firearm but if the situation requires it, I’ll do it …and live with a clear conscience.
    Each person has to make their own decision and I’ll respect whatever decision they make for themselves. I’ve already come to grips with what I may have to do.

    1. Terry I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, and I do understand where you are coming from. Honestly, what I want to see is not that people never conceal carry, but just that they think about the responsibility of it when they do. It sounds like you have thought about that, and that you are educated. I know far too many people who want to conceal carry and either don’t have enough education on how to use a firearm, or haven’t thought through the responsibility of carrying. It sounds like you have, and that’s admirable. Thank you for taking it seriously.

  7. Well said and appreciated.Thank You and so sorry for your loss. Congress needs to act NOW to
    change the way a gun is sold or they need to be voted out asap.

  8. Your story always knocks me over, Laurie. And I cannot agree more about regulation– the guy I had a restraining order against is technically not allowed to own a gun, but he did. No one did anything about it. He could go buy a new one tomorrow. It’s ridiculous.

    I carry a taser gun. That way I don’t have to think about life or death but I can still hopefully give myself a head start.

    Important message. I hope it is heard.

    1. It’s disgusting. Most of these people are not “allowed” to own guns, but somehow obtain them anyway. I think that definitely needs to be restricted.
      I’ve thought about getting a taser myself; it might have been you mentioning it that made me want to. It’s safer and I don’t have to have someone’s life on my conscience, but I can still protect myself.
      Thank you Aussa. Your support AND friendship mean a lot.

      1. The thing I like about a taser (behind knowing I won’t kill someone) is that it sends a remote signal that it’s been discharged, and where. It also explodes little confetti slips of paper that have the serial number on it. You can’t use it and then claim to have not. It’s just a more responsible option.

  9. Thank you very much for sharing such a personal narrative. You and your family are in my thoughts. There is so much more to this discussion than gun ownership and I appreciate you commandeering the discussion to focus on the humanity (or lack thereof) involved.

    1. You’re very welcome, and so agreed. I think this discussion has a lot of facets and that’s why we need EVERYONE from all sides involved. I think actual discussions are important, because as you mentioned the humanity piece is vital. Thank you for reading!

  10. Laurie, this article is so well written.

    I cannot imagine what went down on the day of the shooting and I am so sorry for your loss.

    Freedom should not be given to people if they will abuse it. Like, in your scenario, people should not carry guns if they are not responsible and conscious enough to know when to use it.

    May your sisters rest in peace. Sending my love to you and I will share this post.

    Best wishes
    Nurfatma

  11. Hi there Laurie, thanks for sharing this. Actually, I have just started a new Blog which I feel so impassioned, (“fed up”, is the polite way to call it) to spread the word about “Something’s got to give, someone’s got to give, SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE IN OUR SOCIETY WHEN WE ALLOW THE RIGHT TO CARRY A GUN BECOMES MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE RIGHT TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN. Your story is wjat I think will pull at the heart strings and the consciences of those in power who can effectuate real change. Actually, I am an Englishman who remembers mass shootings in the South of England. Just like what happened in Australia in Tasmania when 35 people were killed, aftercthe incident the people in Congress enacted laws, in the case of Australia actually changed the law so that theyvinvited every citizen to hand in their guns, a gun amnesty -this hapoened in Australia, but in Britain the law of owning guns became stricter so that only people who needed gunscto comete in sports, or for hunting purposes, or for law enforement could have a permit, issued by the local police force. But in the U.S.A. that powerful but selfish gun lobby group N.R.A havecpoliticians in their greedy pockets who put their right to carry a gun before the right for children to be protected. Please, Laurie, can I cut amd paste this article and use itv0in my Blog which is calling for Congress to follow the lead of our fellow Anglo-nations.

    1. Hello! Thank you for reading and also for sharing your thoughts on gun legislation. I’ve been doing some reading on how Australia handled this issue. I’m trying to find out more, because I’m drawn to what I’ve heard, however what one sees in a meme is not always accurate. 🙂 Thank you for sharing as well about British laws of that nature, I’ll have to do some reading up on that as well.
      As for cutting and pasting – I don’t mind you sharing this piece but prefer that you attribute it. You might try re-blogging it as it seems you have a WordPress page?
      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and for reading, I very much appreciate it.

      1. Hi there Laurie, I have sent you an address of my posting of a Social Activism Magazine. I felt I had to do something so I made this pressure and lobbying Magazine. I placed your letter to Congress on the front page of the first issue, which, as you asked me to do, I attributed it to you. Please take a look, Laurie.
        Blessings and comforts to you, Chris Briscoe. Please take a look at this address:
        https://changetheworldbytellingstories.wordpress.com/

      2. Hi there Laurie, I am inviting you to take a look at my latest Blogs about the connection between the 99 gun legislation for rolling back gun controls -69 of them in relation to handguns -and the surge in handgun sales and violence. And what we can do to stop this madness. Please go to following site. I will now try and link this Blog sitecwith you. Hang on.

    2. Dear Godsthoughts,

      Please read http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/23/what-happened-after-australia-banned-lots-of-guns-after-a-massacre/ Australia’s bun-ban did not reduce violent gun crime, but there might be some correlation with suicide. Also, there is a reason many Bobbies (police that were traditionally unarmed) are now armed, but many now carry sub-machine guns because of the increased level of organized crime in the larger cities. London today is not the London of 25 years ago which is why “Use of Force” policies in the U.K. are very different from yesteryear. I know as I trained some of them.

      As far as you comment, regarding “protecting our children”, I carry so I CAN protect my children if the need arises. Call the police or 911 and call out for a pizza and see who shows up first. The most you could do would be to throw your phone at them. Speaking as a retired law enforcement officer, response times are simply not sufficient to provide personal protection to everyone. Question: If you were as fortunate and Laurie and myself, how would you propose you would defend yourself from a criminal attacker?

      As far as your comment, “… so that only people who needed guns….” Who do you suppose these people are? In June 1996, years before I became a law enforcement office, three thugs tried to rob me in broad daylight. In your mind would that me your qualifications as one “who needed guns?” The only reason my wife has a husband and my children have a father is because I carry a gun.

      I don’t plan on being in a car accident, but I still wear a seat belt. The same goes for my gun. It’s there only if I need it. It’s just a tool to protect me and my family.

      From you comments regarding the NRA, you obviously are responding from what you have heard and not fact. The NRA is a non-profit organization whose focus is on gun safety and ensuring only as far as it can responsible legislation IS enacted. It is the largest safety training organization of its kind.

      I respectfully submit that in this very emotional subject that cool heads prevail and responsible dialog is maintained as Laurie has so aptly and respectfully done. I Also respectfully ask you do your homework and deal with facts and data. Laurie has initated a thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Let’s respect her voice by following suit.

      Respectfully David
      Shooting survivor
      Law Enforcement Instructor (ret.)
      Husband and Father
      Member of the security team at my church

      1. Thank you for your input. I respect what you said regarding your request that I keep in the spirit of Laurie words, however, in your opening comments about Australia’s case and linking it with suicide, I didn’t understand what your point was -could you elaborate? Also, in Australia case, and in the article I posted there was no reference to taking guns away from police in London or Australia, I quite agree law enforcement officers need to be equipped with the means to tackle these voilent criminals.
        In regard to my Blog, my main argument was that the U.S. could take a lesson from Australia’s case; if you look at Australia’s case where they invited its citizens to hand in their illegal weopons, the U.S. could learn from that, to appy it in all States and it would, I believe, reduce gun violence. Could you also read the following article about how in the U.S. guns are being sold to criminals without checks? Even if you think this article does not have the facts correct, please see the underlying argument of mine: that if the U.S. had a national illegal guns amnesty, it would in the right direction, but instead, they are going in the wrong direction, selling guns back to the criminals, not directly but indirectly. Please read it cooly and then please give me your feedback. Also, the U.S. politicians are going so far ( backed by the N.R.A. who support those politicians with six or seven figure sums in donations, who support them) as to allow any citizen to carry a gun that even they are passing laws for giving students the “right” to carry guns onto College campuses. What does that say about what kind of society the U.S.? Also, please could you answer my question of why there is not a national system of background checks like we have in Britain?. Why does the U.S. allow somebody, like the Oregon shooter to own (his family) or keep 14 guns? If you want to discuss the problems of sweeping gun ownership, we need to ask and have such questions answered. Why do they allow guns to be carried by people who have a record of mental sickness? Tell me if the U.S. could not gain some good points if they invited citizens who were carrying illegal, not legal, but illegal guns, like semi-automatic guns and other arminitions to hand them in without prosecution. Look at the case of Australia, please, and study the statistics of how many illegal weopons were collected, and look at the statistics of how gun violence was reduced dramatically. Okay, I will put aside the argument about how everyone doesn’t need to arm themselves, because you obviously believe in your Second Ammendment and you believe strongly. But please look at the real case I am presenting for a national amnesty in the U.S. for illegel guns.

        Again, secondly, would you not agree that the politicians have gone too far in even giving College students the right to carry guns?

      2. Hi, there, if you have time, could you also read the following Blog I posted and let me know your thoughts? I am also a believer like yourself. Let’s cut through the emotion and get to the facts, but above all else, find the wisdom of God and the gentleness and meekness of Jesus, the unity of the Sprit through the bond of peace.
        Please read this Blog and let me know your thoughts, after you pray, please.
        https://godsthoughts7.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/please-i-ask-you-to-read-this-blog-about-how-the-u-s-congress-contrary-to-public-opinion-have-passed-laws-69-among-99-gun-carrying-laws-allowing-citizens-adults-to-carry-handgun-anywhere-anytime/?preview=true

      3. Dear Sir, sorry, I just found an article in the New Republic on a report about the Australia case, please could you read it and let me know your thoughts. Please tell me why can’t U.S. follow this by calling for a mass national illegal gun amnesty, across all states?

    3. This is my response to your post of Oct 12, 2015, 7:37 p.m.

      My previous comments had nothing to do with taking guns from law-enforcement and were based not on the article you provided. Sorry for any confusion. The article mentioned anecdotally mentioned there was a decrease in suicide when Australia enacted their gun-ban. Whether correlation and causation are the same remains to be seen. Keep in mind the source and who is reporting what you are reading. Most mass media today is very left liberal leaning and is anti-gun as it serves their agenda. So please allow me to respond to some of your comments.

      Gun Confiscation:

      FACT: Australia’s so-called “invitation” was actually a nation-wide gun confiscation and was not limited to what we in the U.S. would classify as illegal guns here in the U.S. such as sawed off shotguns, machine-guns without a class 3 permit, illegally modified guns, illegally possessed suppression devices. etc.. Australia in its legislature, with the sweep of the pen, made almost all guns manufactured today illegal, with the requirement that hunting long guns are registered. Basically, every firearm in Australia is either “illegal” or must be registered, and registration with governments proved to be dangerous to the general population as we saw in Germany in WWII, and China today where the government killed hundreds of thousands of it people.

      I’m all for getting guns out of the hands of the criminals, but the darn problem is that they don’t care about the law and don’t “want” to give them up. On the other hand, there is NO reason whatsoever to confiscate any legally possessed gun from law abiding citizens. This is where I think some confusion exists. There is a huge difference between criminals breaking the law with ill-gotten guns and law abiding citizens exercising their God-given right to protect themselves. Let’s keep in mind the fundamental problem is people, not guns.

      Fact: At any time someone wants to turn in an illegal or stolen gun to a law-enforcement agency they can do so without fear of arrest. The term illegal gun amnesty is confusing to me. I don’t know from your comments what “illegal” really is.

      Let me address the college campuses comments briefly.

      FACT: The legal age for carrying a pistol (not a rifle or shotgun) concealed or otherwise in the United States is 21 years of age. That is federal law. Therefore, the vast majority of students on college campuses cannot legally carry a gun, concealed or otherwise. Giving a student 21 years of age or older the right to carry on a campus (assuming they are trained and know how to use it in a tactical environment) should be allow to carry. I found no pending legislation in the House or Senate allowing minors (under 21) to carry on college campuses such as you asserted. If you know of a house or senate bill I would like to know what it is. This would likely never happen because it would require changing many existing Federal laws and would never pass the Senate.

      FACT: Most college campuses as are any other public “institutions of learning” are by law “Gun Free Zones.” Gun free zones in reality are literally “target rich environments” for the criminal element. That literally means EVERYONE is defenseless by definition. Sadly, the Virginia Tech Massacre was the second of its type in Virginia. Six weeks be for the Virginia Tech Massacre, their legislature voted against allowing trained concealed carry on their campuses. The legislation was initiated by survivors of the families in the first college shooting. Sadly, this is just one of many such instances. If LAW ABIDING citizens where on hand, the result would have been very different.

      Gun-free school zones do nothing but put our nation’s children at risk. Have you ever heard of someone trying to hold up a gun store or have a massacre at a police station?

      I have forgotten which campus it was, but about 15 years there was a gunman on a college campus shooting random students. Another student, an adult over 21, ran back to his car parked off campus and got his handgun. The moment the law abiding citizen returned to the site where the gunman was shooting students, the shooter immediately stopped shooting and the law-abiding citizen held him at gun point until the police showed up. This story was published in only ONE of the top seventy or so newspapers and news magazines. Bear in mind the information (or misinformaiton) coming from most news agencies is anti-gun as it support their agenda, and is therefore heavily biased.

      As for as allowing any law-abiding citizen to carry on a college campus, or any other campus for that matter, I’m all for it as long as those carrying are trained to do so. This is the only way to stop campus massacres.

      FACT: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.

      Regarding your comment, “Why do they allow guns to be carried by people who have a record of mental sickness?”

      FACT: “They” don’t. People with mental illness are federally classified as “prohibited possessor” and are not allowed to have firearms in their possession, in their home or automobile.

      FACT: It is a felony to knowingly sell a gun to people who have a record of mental illness. I don’t know where you are getting your information, but it is incorrect. Question 11f, on ATF Form 4473 (5300.9) Part I requires the individual to declare that they are mentally healthy.

      Background Check:

      FACT: There is a national instant background verification for every gun purchased from any FFL (Federal Firearms Licensed) dealer. It has been in place for many years.

      Regarding your comment, “Why does the U.S. allow somebody, like the Oregon shooter to own (his family) or keep 14 guns?” See comment above regarding prohibited possessor. You obviously think or feel that gun ownership should have some arbitrary limits as to the number of guns one should own. Some people collect earrings, classic books, baseball cards and some collect guns. There is nothing wrong or immoral about owning multiple as long as they are responsibly secured and used properly. Guns are not evil. People are evil. One can easily kill someone with a ball-point pen, baseball bat, kitchen knife, etc.; should those be outlawed too?

      I realize I will not change your attitude towards gun ownership and I am not trying to do so. But you are evidently operating under a lot of mis-information and wrong assumptions. As I tell my kids, it is not what you don’t know that will bite you, it is what you know that just ain’t so that with bite you.

      Lastly, ask yourself this question. If someone came to your church some Sunday morning and started shooting people, would you rather I (a law-abiding citizen who is armed) be in the congregation or not?

      Yours truly,
      David

      1. Thanks, I will consider your thinking. I know that we British see the argument over gun ownership differently from the way Americans view it. It iscwritten into your Constitution, after all. We think more along the lines of “out of sight, out of mind.” I know I do, that the more society has open or concealed pistols carrying-citizens, the more these violent gun incidences arise. In other words, the very presence of more guns in circulation encourages would be gun killers to “blow up” and give in to temptation. It’s like, I view guns as fire. The more we carry this fire, the more it will produce fire, “fire breeds fire!” I believe we need to equip the professions only with guns, meaning law enforcement agencies and the security services, like yourself, Sir, to stop these bad guys; and I do not believe that it is as simple as, “The only thing that stops a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun! ” I don’t believe that this is justification for allowing every adult to be armed. To me , it’s creating a pressure cooker: I read that in a population of just over 346 million people, there are around 300 million guns, and this means that by the 2020 there will be a gun ratio of one gun for every man woman and child! And whereas in the eighties most households kept a gun for safety, now the majority of people are carrying guns, and some even flaunting it, which, you wouldn’t deny creates another set of problems – you say it is the people not the guns who are the problem – but the very presence of these guns presents the problem of heightened danger, wouldn’t you agree? These pistols are now in huge circulation. I would rather go along with the statement, “The only thing that stops a bad man with a gun is a good law enforcement agent with a gun.”

        Perhaps the distance between Australia and the U.S. on gun confiscation is too far, but you cannot deny the fact that it reduced gun violence in Australia, as a result. I know that the U.S. culture favours gun carrying, but the U.S. public opinion favours a national register. I would have to refute you on the issue that this kind of sweeping gun ownership is helping the situation because Governments are set up to facilitate the most safest environment for its citizens, and allowing students, 21 year old students, to carry guns onto campuses, communicates to me that there is something very wrong with the U.S. society when gun ownership of handgun, any carring and concealed, is becoming absolute, encouraging these handguns to be in high circulation, which means gun violence is encouraged as the danger associated with guns is becoming prevalent. This is the argument that gun ownership by association heightens public danger.

        I did not understand your point about how surrendering guns to the Government can be dangerous. While you say there is nothing wrong with guns, but rather people, you wrote, “Basically, every firearm in Australia is either “illegal” or must be registered, and registration with governments proved to be dangerous to the general population as we saw in Germany in WWII, and China today….” I do not see the connection with the U.S. because your second Amendment guarantess its citizens the right to “keep and bear arms” and also you citizens have the right to under your First Amendment to petition Government for redress.

        Pleasectell me if you have any further thoughts on this matter, so that as we discuss, in the Lord, we can agree in the Lord as our good book tells us.
        Yours, Sincerely, but joyful to be in a different un-gunned, no gun-wielding cowboy culture,

        Chris Briscoe

  12. Thanks for sharing this post, actually, I am trying to compile a stock of personal stories in a Blog I have just started, because I believe personal stories like yours can prick the consciences of our elected officials and those selfish people in the N.R.A. who put their own right to ownership of a gun above public safety and protecting our children! I want to start this Social Action magazine to try and lobby Government and Congress to realize that we need to do something to protect our citizens -that there has been too many incidents, with too many frequencies, not to ignore this issue which needs immediate action; to lobby and pressure those at the top, even those unscrupulous politicians who arecin the pockets of the N.R.A. and to spread through social media,calling our elective officials to account, and try and pursuade them to enact laws – laws which were enacted in my country, Britain, which changed the law so that only the Police could issue gun permits, and only to those who needed a gun to compete in Sport events or who needed for hunting, or for Law enforcement officers who worked in inner Cities. In Australia,they were even tougher who called the nation to hand in their gun’s when a national amnesty was enacted, and they changed the law so there wasa mass confiscation of laws. Those ammendments to the law werein response to mass shootings. But the question to ask is, “Why can’t it be done in the U.S.A., who are our fellow Anglican nations? Is it because in U.S.A., the so called “land of the free”, they value in many States, giving everyone and anyone the right to carry a gun and protect themselves, even if that means mass carnage, because it encourages the weaker and disturbed of society to “blow their emotional lid?” Or is it just because weak Congress has the powerful N.R.A. beathing down their neck, that gun lobby who place their own right to carry a gun as more important than protecting our children? Isn’t our right for “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the more important document called, “The American Declaration of Independence” a more important right for all of us? Laurie, may cut and paste your article in my Blog, to lobby those in Congress and anyone listening to listen to their consciences and hearts being pulled and wrenched by stories like yours?

    1. Reply to Chris Briscoe’s (godsthoughts7) at October 13, 2015 at 12:14 am

      Your assertion, “ I know I do, that the more society has open or concealed pistols carrying-citizens, the more these violent gun incidences arise. In other words, the very presence of more guns in circulation encourages would be gun killers to “blow up” and give in to temptation” … is only an emotional opinion which I will defend your right to have. However, it is totally FALSE, with no foundation whatsoever. I suggest you read Yale professor Dr. John Lott’s research on this issue titled, More Guns, Less Crime. Like you he was an anti-gunner and set out to write a thesis on the negative economic impact guns have on society. In his research he learned his underlying belief was wrong! At that time only 3 states were included in his research. Some questioned the validity of his research. So 10 years later, he repeated his study since dozens of states adopted CCW laws. He released the work in his book, More Guns, Less Crime. His book is not a quick read, but it IS FACTUALLY, not emotionally based.

      Your comment, “Sir, to stop these bad guys; and I do not believe that it is as simple as, “The only thing that stops a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun! ” Why do you think we police are armed?

      Further, your comment, “I would rather go along with the statement, “The only thing that stops a bad man with a gun is a good law enforcement agent with a gun.” Again, as stated in an earlier post if I had to depend on the police for personal protection (which is not their job and the courts have upheld this concept) my children would be fatherless today. Crime is everywhere. Cops are not and cannot be everywhere at once. Why is this so difficult to grasp? Your utopian ideas are nice, but quite unrealistic. The reason we police carry guns is to protect OURSELVES while we are enforcing the laws. Why shouldn’t citizenry have the right to protect themselves from the criminal element as I do?

      Your comment, “I do not see the connection with the U.S. because your second Amendment guarantees its citizens the right to “keep and bear arms” and also you citizens have the right to under your First Amendment to petition Government for redress.” The second part of this statement you got right, and we have to continually fight to protect these rights from liberal who don’t understand the importance of protect those rights.

      Your comment, “I did not understand your point about how surrendering guns to the Government can be dangerous.” Are you serious? The total for Chinese Communist Party democide is 77 million, more than the Soviet Union (62 million), Nazi Germany (21 million), or any other regime in the 20th century. I am going to make an assumption that you are very young and have not learn any history yet. If you are of the age of majority (over 18) it time for you to start forming your opinions on some facts rather than what hear or read from some liberal source with an agenda.

      You are making the dangerous assumption that all governments respect their citizens. The assumption that all government are good has historically been proven wrong. That’s why we defeated the British over 200 years ago fighting for freedom from oppression and excessive taxation. That is specifically why the 2nd amendment was penned.

      You obviously have very strong emotional opinions on the subject. But unfortunately your bias is so strong you are disabled from embracing or minimally considering facts I presented in previous posts.

      Again, I am alive today because I carried a side-arm and battled with the criminal element, and WON. My children have a father and my wife has her husband. Unlike yourself, I am not speaking from a pedantic or philosophical perspective. I speak from a law enforcement and shooting survivor perspective founded in the reality of today’s world. This you cannot deny, regardless of how strongly you FEEL about the issue.

      Respectfully, no further posts on the subject are needed. Most of what can be said has been said, so no further posts are warranted.

      Lastly, and finally, you comment, “We think more along the lines of “out of sight, out of mind.” Good luck with that. I wish you well.

      David

      1. I’m from the uk also and I don’t know the specifics of gun law, but in this country people don’t keep them to defend the home from intruders and most police aren’t armed. Most guns owned privately in this country are for sport or pest control. We don’t have any dangerous predators in this country so self-defense from animals is not required.

      2. Many people here do own guns for sport – in fact my dad does, and I grew up knowing about gun safety. But unfortunately that is consistently less and less the case among the American public, and the lack of checks and balances is awful, in my opinion.
        Thank you for sharing, that is very helpful to know.

      3. I think you can have a licence for shotguns if you run a farm. And you can have up to .22 rat catcher guns. Its pretty strict here. I think you need to be a member of a gun club for shooting in ranges. To be honest with you though I am just guessing. My dad died in a street crime, the guy was using needles to drug him up and rob him but the bloke pleaded no comment and my dad was into drugs himself so it was not taken as seriously as other crimes.

  13. This is a very powerful article. I’m scared for my sister who lives in the US. I’m scared for my friends and relatives who live there. I’m scared because it could happen to anyone. I think this article should be re posted until it reaches the congress. Great job!

    1. Thank you! Please help me share so that it does reach their ears! Also, unfortunately your fear is common. Many of my friends here in the US are afraid of the same thing. I’ve heard so many of my friends say they now check exits when going to the theater, sitting in a class room, etc. Something must change!

  14. Laurie, a touching story. Thank you for telling your story. I would imagine it is not easy for a mass shooter survivor to have a lot of words to say on WordPress. I am deeply sorry about your sister and hope your father is doing well. There are just some real problems in this country that Congress seems to not get. Not only with our crappy criminal justice system, but our gun laws. If you ever need relaxation, always come look at my photos for entertainment haha. At least they will give you a little something to enjoy!

    1. Thank you for reading. Writing has been a vital way for me to process my story, and I’m grateful for the WordPress community. Thank you for your condolences. Luckily, my father had no lasting issues from his injuries other than a scar; we all think it’s a miracle.
      I hope Congress hears this and responds! I do think that Congress is ignoring a lot of this and I hope they start listening.
      I’ll have to head over and see your pics! 🙂 Sounds lovely.

  15. Well written! I have never lived in a country where hand guns are legal and as I have children I don’t think I could. It does seem from the outside that America drastically needs to do something radical. I hope this will happen soon.

    1. It’s hard. I can’t tell you how many people have expressed to me their fear of being in public places such as theaters, classrooms, and churches. Some want to protect themselves in these public places and to be honest, I understand the impulse. However beyond impulse, reason has to step in, and I think that starts with Congress actually considering the humans affected and the fear of the population and enacting policies that protect these citizens. I don’t know necessarily what these policies should look like but I agree that DRASTIC action is needed. I hope they hear this letter and start to respond.

      1. So do I Laurie, you are very articulate, you should send your letter everywhere. Every newspaper, every TV station, anyone who will listen. You have the experience and the right for an answer! I truly hope you get one.

  16. Dear Laurie,
    I thank you for speaking up.I also believe that congress must act upon this issue and soon.Too many people have lost their lives already and our politicians are due to come up with a plan. You are so courageous to write about it.

  17. Thank you so much for this letter. Our country is crippled by fear, our government is led by citizens in that same fear and their choices reflect that. The strongest argument is an honest one and you’ve invited reason into an otherwise terrible and confusing state of affairs. I have a twin sister and I cannot even fathom what it would be like to lose her, or my other sister as you did. I am so sorry for your loss. Your voice is powerful. I’m willing to help with any of your advocacy endeavors moving forward–I worked in politics for years. Thank you, again.

    1. Thank you for reading. I so agree on the fear thing. I wrote a post on that awhile back. It’s upsetting to me that we continue to propagate that fear in this country, through the actions of Congress which then filter down to the citizens. That’s a huge reason why I appeal to reason rather than reaction. So much reacting is happening in this discussion, rather than bringing it back to human people with opinions and feelings and experiences.
      I plan on sending this letter to all state representatives and asking for signatures. I’ll be posting that appeal here when I do so, so keep your eyes out. I so appreciate your support and your honest, thoughtful words. Thank you. Hopefully we can bring some actual change.

  18. Wow. A really strong piece. My sincere condolences for your loss, and pain. I hope that one day things change for your country. Today I read that an 11 year old shot an 8 year old over a puppy. I just can’t understand it. I hope you can reach others and bring about some change.

    1. I hope so too. It hurts to keep hearing these stories over and over again. I read that story as well, and it pains me that he even had access to a gun that readily. I hope I can be a part of creating change, as well. Thank you for reading.

  19. One of your quotes really stuck out to me: “But if we have no way of checking who the person is, the gun becomes the problem.” It contains such truth. Thank you for sharing. I think your post will really get people thinking on what it means to carry a gun and how maybe we do need to talk about some restrictions rather than just keep the status quo.

    1. I hope that it makes people more conscious of what the responsibility of carrying a gun is. I don’t know what restrictions we need, I just know we need something to change. Thank you for reading.

  20. Thank you so much for this letter.
    I will be sharing it on my blog and on all social media and mailing printed copies to my family. I hope that hundreds of letters are inspired by your’s to Congress and to all 50 states elected USA representatives.

    Like all who have responded, my deep condolences and prayers to you and your family for peace and harmony.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and sharing. I deeply appreciate it. I do plan on sending this letter to all state representatives, as well. Hopefully with quite a few signatures. I agree and hope others also are inspired to write.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, as well. I am so hoping that this, and your post as well, will foster some much needed conversation and CHANGE around this subject.

  21. So sorry for your loss. Your writing from this first person experience is so important.

    I dug into the statistics on gun violence in America to assist in expressing my concerns at yet another mass shooting, and the fear I felt to see use of the words’ normal’ and ‘routine’ attached to the frequency of gun violence in America. What I found was so much more insidious than I could have ever imagined.

    I respect and admire your courage in speaking out with such a heartfelt, honest, and powerful voice on what is such a personal and tragic loss. Thank you.

    1. JoHanna I would love to see what you found if you’re interested in sharing. I wrote this in part as well because I know a lot of survivors, and I haven’t heard the voices of survivors in this discussion much at all. There are survivors of shootings that are on both sides of the issue. And to be honest I think all aspects are important, we just need to discuss this and hopefully provoke Congress to provide research funding on the issue so we can actually determine an effective course of action.

  22. As a person with a gun license, I wrote a similar post the other day. It is not about taking away a gun, but demanding responsibility. I think more of us need to unite and scream from our hearts that it is our job to keep our community safe.

    Thank you for writing this, for your honesty and for adding your voice to a topic much more important than the latest Kardashian escapade.

    Sharing everywhere!

      1. FANTASTIC post and I love that you wrote this as a gun owner. My boyfriend and I discuss this issue all the time. It gets so frustrating for us that people are so anti regulation of the 2nd amendment! As you mentioned, the 1st amendment is regulated for our safety. Why isn’t the 2nd? Love this perspective, thank you for sharing!

    1. It really is. I’m not interested in banning guns. I’m interested in being responsible when you do have one. I absolutely agree that I’d rather more of us unite on this issue instead of screaming at EACH OTHER and instead ask ourselves how to change the lack of safety.
      You are entirely welcome, I so appreciate your support and that you came by to read!

      1. Thank you so much for understanding my POV. There has to be some manner in which we can have a healthy discussion and effect change that makes sense. It seriously makes absolutely no sense to me that driving a car is more mandated than owning a firearm!

  23. Laurie. You will be in my family and friends prayers. This senseless violence has got to stop. Our leaders need to step up and take responsibility for these shootings. Communities need to stand together and create out reach programs for these lost souls who are creating these horrible crimes. This is all preventable. We were not created to go at this alone. We all require love.

  24. What a timely post for me. I’m in the midst of a Facebook firestorm on gun control. Your post is powerful. I grieve for you and your family’s loss, but I cheer for you as you take a stand to find a solution. We MUST pressure Congress to give funding for the CDC study. Gun violence IS a disease and must be studied. Then all our might should be put behind the “treatment.”

      1. In my opinion, the problem isn’t gun laws, gun safety, gun this or that… Guns don’t kill people; people kill people… Although, guns make it easier. I feel passionately that we need to address the mental health crisis first.

        What I don’t agree with is having trouble pulling the trigger. Maybe I am just wired differently. But I would have no problem if faced with death or death of someone I cared about it loved ones.

        That being said, I can’t imagine the difficulties you have faced and the courage you have for opening up on this forum.

      2. First of all I appreciate that you responded! This is the kind of dialogue I want to have.
        I guess my point of view is that guns DO make it easier… so make it a little more difficult to obtain them. Also, in terms of not having an issue pulling the trigger – that is my issue, for sure! Like I said, I’m not against conceal carry. I’m mainly against people carrying without realizing the responsibility they are taking on. If you are concealing for self protection, you need to be both prepared to protect yourself, and prepared for the consequences of protecting yourself. Those consequences could mean taking a human life and that is no easy thing. I don’t know if enough people consider that, and I’d like them to. But I absolutely respect your ideas on that and understand that you do feel that you could pull the trigger. That’s just fine, in my book, as long as you’re conscious of what that entails.
        I also do agree that the whole phenomena needs to be research and underlying issues addressed. I’m not sure if that’s mental illness, or what it is, but sufficient research should be done.
        Again thank you for sharing. There are points of agreement and important perspectives to be shared, and I in turn appreciate your courage in telling me your views. This issue is so polarized it can be hard to talk about, and I want to change that.

      3. Well said! I’m enjoying this back and forth. I took the afternoon off to sit in; first- the dentist office, second the eye doctor. So your posts/replies/beliefs you have scared have helped battle my boredom of the mundane errands I must overcome.

      4. Agreed 100%. Sadly, we can’t legislate good behavior. And as a society we can’t call a spade a spade. We have to justify and try to “cure” people. Bottom line, you can’t cure evil people. And if it comes down to kill or be killed, I would at least like a fighting chance. I will not bring knife to a gun fight. I too have come to terms with the knowledge that if I pull my gun the trigger will be pulled and a life will be taken. Better theirs than mine.

      5. Why can’t we legislate good behavior?
        Just because someone is evil, does that mean they don’t deserve to live? Does that mean they don’t have dignity?
        A couple of questions for you to consider.

      6. Laurie,
        I have a full schedule over the next few days and can not commit to the time needed for a full intelligent reply to your questions. I wanted to acknowledge your reply and let you know I will answer in the next few days.
        In the mean time… Please tell me what additional law/laws do we need to get people to behave???? Thought the Ten Commandments were enough. We’ve added thousands of clauses and “in addition to”. We have, as a human race, been unable to force people (through laws and legislation) to behave and act civilized in last 2,000 years. Bottom line, it is a morality issue and all the laws in the world can’t change that.

        Please have patience while I get through my busy spell. I have a strong desire to continue this dialogue.

      7. Sure, not a problem. I’ll look forward to your reply.
        In answer to your question – first, I’d like to know why you brought up the 10 Commandments. I grew up as a Christian so of course I’m very familiar with them, but they’re not the law of the land. The law of the United States is what I’m referring to, law that is made through reference to the Constitution, etc. We certainly haven’t been able to FORCE behavior changes on people, I doubt anything can do that. I agree with what you say about this being a morality issue; I truly think it is, as well. And as such I then believe we have a moral responsibility to protect others.
        I am a psychology major and plan to go into counseling, so when I think of protecting, I think not only about treatment (of mental illness, in this case, is a big discussion right now) but of prevention. Prevention is not as often considered in these cases; we as Americans tend to focus on treatment. But if we can focus on PREVENTION then, what can we do to prevent these types of mass killings from occurring? Certainly, having some trained, armed members of the population could be a good idea. But those trained members should perhaps have to show they are trained. One of my biggest concerns with the current gun legislation is, putting someone in the situation of say, a mass shooting, who tries to stop a shooter but is untrained. Honestly, I’m terrified that an untrained armed civilian would cause more death and harm. Having BEEN in a shooting, I can tell you that adrenaline plays a huge role in what could happen in that situation. Perception can be distorted – you may not know where the shooter is coming from, for instance, and shoot at someone who is not firing. That terrifies me. That is a HUGE reason why I think people need to prove their training.
        So I have to wonder whether limiting access to firearms would be helpful. I don’t mean limit as in BAN. I am against banning guns. I mean limit as in, increasing the requirements for gun purchase in all avenues. Not in order to keep the good guys out, but actually, to DETERMINE who the good guys are, and whether they can actually take down the bad guys in a responsible manner.
        I apologize for the long windedness, but wanted to explain. I look forward to hearing further from you.

      8. I only brought up the 10 Commandments as a point of reference in history as the first set of “rules” (laws) written for man to follow. To point out that for thousands of years we have been unable to legislate good behavior. Nothing more, nothing less.
        ( Still not finished with the dialog but what I thought to be a time of uninterrupted personal time…. just got interrupted….. I will be back!) Please continue to be patient. It may take a week or more to get back to you…. Mother is in town 😳. I’ll leave it at that.

  25. I am sorry for your loss in what was a senseless tragedy. I am a bit concerned over your understanding of what the government is responsible for however. Also Congress is controlled by a document called the Constitution, and in that document is the 2nd Amendment which is kind of important in the context of your post. So, in your request for a dialogue what is your answer to the fact that it says the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed”?

    1. Wilson,
      I want to respectfully ask if you read my post.
      I am not against the right to bear arms, and I clearly state that within what I wrote. I also reference the Second Amendment several times, not necessarily by name, but by context.
      I am very obviously not against the Second Amendment and I do not believe the government should infringe on the right to bear arms. However, I do believe that regulation of the Second Amendment should be further considered in light of the mass shootings we have seen. What that regulation looks like I also do not know. I also believe that Congress should release funds for more research on gun ownership as a whole. Such research could then tell us where regulation should happen.

      1. I’m sorry, are we having a discussion or are you just interested in fighting with me? If you would like to dialogue, I’m open. If you do, kindly respond to my previous comment in which I describe my views.
        If you don’t wish to dialogue, please stop throwing comments out randomly in an attempt to incite me.

  26. An eloquent thought process and change DOES need to start SOMEWHERE and NOW. Who would be in charge of vetting gun owners is a challenge and how would they have access to credible proof of accountability. Gun manufacturers like cigarette companies before them, could do with taking more responsibility for their supply and manufacture along with permit permission for civilians. A three pronged constitutional change from the U.S. Governments, civilian and corporate gun manufacturing accountability is a good start me thinks. Keep up the dialogue, sincere condolences for your loss and horrific experience and well bloody done for taking a stance. Your sister would be proud 🙂 Lucy

    1. Bless you. I agree, especially on more responsibility for supply/manufacture. I love the 3 pronged idea as well, it is comprehensive and I think that could be more effective than just approaching one avenue.
      Thank you so much, glad you came by to read, Lucy.

  27. In discussing a post on this topic that we put up today, a friend asked if I had read yours. I am so glad they did!
    We said almost the same thing, a dialogue needs to be started!
    How very brave of you to lend your voice and try to affect change. You are an inspiration!

    1. I will have to go read your post! Much, much agreed. A dialogue is necessary here. Hopefully with all of us speaking up about it, some change can happen. So glad you came by!

  28. Though I do not completely agree with you, I do hear and respect your argument. It seems as if our representatives in Washington only deal in absolutes and “all or nothings.” There seems to be little interest moderation or compromise; just extremes and polarization. Praying for our nation.

    1. Agreed. They do tend to polarize things which is frustrating. I would really, really like to see some compromise especially in this discussion.
      Out of curiosity, what part do you disagree with? I’m trying to open up some dialogue here and would love to here your thoughts. I promise it’s a safe forum to share them; I will not attack you for what you share.

  29. Thank you. Your positive attitude is amazing and it is really great to hear this issue from your perspective. It is so hard sometimes to keep a positive mindset (its the whole reason I started blogging). As someone living on the other side of the world, gun violence astounds me and it is really great you are starting dialogue on the topic.

  30. Bless you – your heart is in the right place and your words are so powerful and strong. I hope the politicians take a moment to hear you. If they choose not to our only recourse is to vote them out of office until someone does listen to the people. I am so very sorry for your tragic loses.

  31. Laurie,
    I am sorry that you had to go through that and am sorry you lost so much. With sisters of my own I know how devastated I would be if I lost them.
    However, I feel everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’m not saying yours is wrong but I don’t agree with some of it. The government does have a responsibility to gun control. However, people who want a gun for the wrong reasons will find a way to get one, No matter how illegal. I grew up around guns and know how to use them so I guess you could say I’m a little prejudiced. The government should be helping with gun control but I don’t believe that they should have complete control over it. As I stated before bad people will get a gun no matter what, but making it harder for good people to get one for protection will not stop the bad people. If more people were armed bad people would probably be deterred from pulling a gun for fear of one being pulled on them. This is just my honest opinion and I know some if not most won’t agree with it. Again I am sorry for what you had to go through.

    1. Thank you for your kind condolences.
      It’s interesting that you think we don’t agree on so much. I think we disagree less than you might imagine. We both think that the government has a responsibility to gun control. And I certainly think that if someone wants a gun, they will get one. The only place I see that we disagree is that I think it’s a bit too easy to obtain one, and what’s the harm in making it more regulated, like a driver’s license is, for example? By making it more difficult for everyone to get a gun, it makes it harder for the bad people as well. And good people who want one and want to protect themselves would still be able to obtain. I hear your opinion and I understand your concern; as I wrote in this post I went through the conceal carry class myself because I am concerned about protecting myself. I personally just couldn’t take up the responsibility that would entail.
      One thing I’d like to point out as well is that you say the government should be helping with gun control, but you don’t seem to want to make it harder for good people to get one. What are some ways you think that the government could do better with gun control?
      I hope you don’t feel attacked by what I’ve written. I truly want a dialogue here, and if at any point you feel attacked by my words, please let me know. I appreciate your willingness as well to express your opinion, this subject is hard to talk about because people can get heated about it.
      And again thank you for your kind words about my sisters and for coming by to read this post. It means a lot to me.

  32. This is amazing. To hear the shooting from someones point of view instead of the news is truly inspiring. I hope your voice is heard from congress and many others. Again this is incredible and I am so sorry for your losses.

  33. Laurie,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you and your family for all you’ve experienced. I appreciate your courage and love how eloquent you are in expressing yourself.

    I completely agree with you that we are so caught up in fear of each other that we aren’t present to the fact there are human lives at stake. I’m happy to hear you are taking action. I’ve been sitting here wondering what I can do to help. I’m starting my own blog and website, and recently looked into joining the local Brady Campaign. Let me know if you can think of anything else. I’m excited to make a difference in this area!

    Thanks again for sharing your letter.

    All the best!

    Natalie

    1. You are very welcome. Oh man – the fear issue. I agree so much. Fear often keeps us perpetuating this violence cycle, instead of moving out to find some positive change. I actually wasn’t aware of the Brady Campaign and am just reading up on it; definitely inspired to get involved with that! I fully support what they are doing.
      Thanks for coming by to read, Natalie! And for being willing to make change happen, as well. Best to you.

  34. Hii Laurie.. This post says alot..people really need to bring a change in their mentality.. I mean at the end we are all humans.. Meant to live together on this planet..and I do believe there will be a change..and for those dear sisters.. may their soul rest in peace..
    Thanku for sharing this..:)

    1. Thank you for coming by to read! And that is exactly what I am trying to get people to consider. There are humans on all sides of this. I am a human survivor. There are human people who are gun enthusiasts. There is even a human person (no matter how messed up) behind mass shootings. They often have good families and siblings, too. I just would like people to consider all of this.

  35. Well said and nicely written sorry for your loss. Hear about gun violence a lot not that I would be able to understand how keeping weapons is all right when it does not just safe but often harms the innocent maybe it’s a foreign thing for me for in my part of the world it’s illegal

  36. Hey Laurie,
    I am a veteran of the Army with almost 15 years of service. I have been deployed and have seen the violence and horror that guns can do to people. I commend you on taking the CHL and beg to differ with you an a couple of things. First, you would be surprised at what the human body and mind can overcome when faced with tragic events as they are unfolding. Whether or not you could pull the trigger, I’m sure if it ever came down to that again (pray to God it never does), your fight or flight kicks in and you are capable of amazing things. Don’t doubt yourself. I too thought like that before I was faced with circumstances that required me to react.

    Second, stricter gun laws or additional sanctions/checks are not necessarily the answer. Majority of gun owners are law abiding and purchase their guns legally. Criminals that purchase guns are not concerned with policies in place because they are not going into establishments and purchasing them legally. I do agree with a background check and finger prints like needed for a CHL but as far as what types of guns or limits as to magazine round capabilities or rifle type etc. Additional sanctions are unnecessary. Until the public realizes that guns don’t kill people, rather people kill people, this debate will continue. It takes a person to make a decision that he/she is going to kill and then pick up a gun to kill. It could be a knife, a rock, a hammer, etc. It is not the tool that made the conscious decision to kill someone.

    1. Hello sir,
      First of all, thank you for your service in protecting our country. I deeply appreciate it and respect your service.
      In response to what you said. I have no doubt, none, that if I were in a position to be trained that I could perhaps do amazing things. Herein lies the rub though, and to be honest I am a bit hurt that you addressed me the way you did. I’ve thought about this issue at length. It’s not something I take lightly. I personally chose not to get the full CCL because I know myself. I know the psychological injury I still struggle with in seeing my twin sister dead in front of me. Having that picture emblazoned on my mind for the rest of my life, I know to my core that I could not commit that injury against someone else. Even if it were my worst enemy. I’m also a bit insulted because I have been in that situation before. I know what my body did then. I know how my body continues to react to triggers now. I feel as if you are explaining to me a subject that you react differently to than I do. Your reactions may have taught you all the things you could do in a situation. My reactions have not taught me the same.
      I understand if you could do that – in your situation I’d say of course. That’s what you were trained to do. Of course you could do it and that’s fine. What I’m saying is, I cannot, and therefore, will not.
      Stricter laws/sanctions may NOT be the right answer – I don’t know. I just know something needs to be done. I guess in my mind, I think that restricting access to those who are trained is just a good idea. I don’t understand, and never have, why you’re not required to prove your training in all states in order to get a CCL. Even when I was taking the class for the CCL and was in a different mindset politically than I am now, I didn’t understand that. Who wants untrained people carrying out in public? In my mind you’re an exception – you have been trained and I respect that.
      And the thing is, that background checks and fingerprints are not a standard in all states for a CCL. I wish that they were but sadly that’s not the case.
      I think I addressed in my post the whole issue of “it’s not the gun, it’s people”. I agree – but if we don’t know who people ARE, or provide no way to check that, then the gun BECOMES the problem, in my opinion. Sure it’s not the tool that makes the decision. Tools are not animate, and people are. But it provides a whole new level of ease with which to kill, and when you provide that to someone that you have no history on, I have to wonder how that is responsible.
      I hope you don’t take any of what I’ve said as an attack – we don’t know each other and communicating online is difficult in that regard. I simply wanted to dialogue with you about this often polarized issue. I look forward to any response you may have.

      1. I apologize if you feel I offended you. In no way did I mean any disrespect or to diminish what you went thru. I am simply speaking from my own experience. While deployed. I saw my friend get blown up to oblivion by an IED while we were on foot patrol. Was the first time I came under fire and after the initial fear went away, I decided that today was nut going be the day I died and I did what I had to do to survive. As a survivor of seeing horrific events I can understand your hesitation and beliefs. I agree with you that something has to be done, but not sure if making it more difficult or adding sanctions is the answers, considering criminals don’t follow the same laws.

      2. I wouldn’t say offended… I guess I would say hurt and perhaps a bit misunderstood. But I also hope I didn’t diminish what you went through, or your experience. And I am so, so very sorry about your friend. That is awful.
        Again, I want to carefully say that it’s probably a bit different for me as a civilian. I’m not trained to be in a firefight. I totally respect your right to carry and if you were the person carrying, I’d be glad to know that because I think you’d be responsible. It’s other people who aren’t trained (like me, frankly) that I’m worried about.
        What do you think needs to be done, out of curiosity?
        Honestly I think this is why we all need to talk because I think we misunderstand each other a lot on both “sides” of this discussion. It is really helpful for me to know your viewpoint, too, and I mean that. I can see how we’re coming at this differently from our different perspective and I do see, from an individual trained in the military, how you’ve developed your perspective. That helps.

      3. I’m glad that you are open for an adult debate and refrain from name calling and stating your side is better than everyone else’s. It takes both sides to come to the table and have a logically debate of we are to ever get in anywhere.
        A little history of this so-called traing that people perceive we get in the military. So I will try and break it down in layman terms. There are pretty much two general jobs in the Army. They are Combat Arms and Support MOS (basically jobs). Your combat jobs are pretty much what you would expect, infantry, tankers, scouts, special forces, Rangers, etc. These are the jobs that people selected for whatever reason. Whether they like combat or didn’t score Hugh enough on their ASVAB ( think SAT for military) to get a better job. These guys are trained for combat and it does take a certain breed. Then you have support MOS (jobs that support combat) which is what I was. I was a 92A an automated logistic specialist. A regular guy that worked supply for ordering parts for the vehicles. Nit particular trained for combat. However, according to the Army, we are first soldiers and then our secondary jobs. Mind you, the only training we really get is how to fire a rifle. We are not trained nor experienced in combat warfare. However, time arose when we were required to go out on combat. Now, I have no problem admitting that I am not the biggest, strongest or bravest guy from the hunch. I went out on patrols, missions, and was completely out of my element and always thought that I could not take a human life despite the fact that we were at war. I went on these patrols, praying all the time to God to please keep me safe and never have to use my rifle. Always believed that I didn’t have what it takes to take another life. Part of the reasons I chose a non-compete roll. However, unfortunately we do not choose our plan that God has intended for us. Unfortunately, I was placed in situations where my faith was tested and had to act accordingly. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I had the skills or ability to perform under those stressful situations that I was forced to. I guess what I am trying to say, is that NEVER, atop believing in yourself. God has plans for us and only He knows the outcome. He never gives us more than we can handle. From personal experience, I can tell you that people you lease expect will amaze you. It’s because the grace of God that I am here today. I am bar far, trained for combat. My skills include knowing how to clean, clear, and fire a rifle. That is it, nothing more exciting and nothing less. My training includes firing at a target while on the safety of a range. Never before have I been so scared in my life and the thought of returning fire and possibly taking another life conflicted with my Christian beliefs. However, when the bullets and IEDs are going off, the fight or ugh reflexes kick in and the survival of my friends and fellow soldiers take over. As weird as it sounds, I felt God with me every step of the way. You don’t have to pretend to be something you nit, or badder than you really are. You can still be reserved and against the war, weapons, and shooting other human beings, and that’s OK. No one really wants to hurt another being. However, you want to defend and protect your loved ones. I’m just asking that you don’t cut yourself short as to what you think you can and can’t do. The human mind is a powerful too and has defense mechanisms implanted to protect us at all costs.
        I am for restrictions on types of weapons we should be lower to own. I’m for hand guns and rifles and also for background checks and fingerprints just like the military. I want to be sure that someone buying a weapon is nit. A criminal. I not a fan of the government telling me what I can and can’t own, or wanting to k of all the details of every weapon I own. They need to know is that I am are abiding citizen, no criminal background, and I have a right to own guns and am responsible. Remember, criminals do not go thru the same process.
        Did you know a majority of concealed carry licenses have never ever had to pull their handguns to defend themselves? The first thing they teach us is to de-escalate the situation and in fact if something is sterling from you to just let them have it. Insurance covers most losses while a death is permanent. Deals force is only supposed to be used in life or death situations.
        I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I believe that we are the first response when it comes to protect tong ourselves and our loved ones and would rather rely on myself at the precise moment than waiting for pool e to show up. I hope this makes a little more sense.

  37. Hi, I agree with you. My brother was also murdered. I’m not a US citizen but mass murder is a problem here too. Children from the age of 8 are recruited to commit murder here. I have discovered that many people who commit these crimes don’t actually have a valid reason for doing so. They don’t even know their victims in most cases. They are just copying what they hear and see in the media. It is the lack of intelligence to know the difference between fiction & reality and right & wrong.

    1. Hi there Wendy. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother 😦 It’s really hard to lose a sibling to murder. Where are you from? I agree. Many people who commit these crimes here do not have a valid reason for it, either, and I think we have a lot of copycats. I hope we can do some things that lead to change.

      1. Thank you. I’am sorry to hear about your sisters too. I’m from South Africa. I think the most effective way for change is to start changing the content broadcast via the media. It is the only tool I can think of that has the capacity to reach a wide audience, while appealing to all age groups.

  38. Well done and poignant statement. Thanks for sharing your thoughts & feelings. I’m not a survivor but have lost many loved ones other ways and I Doubt I could take another human or animal life if need be.

  39. Im sorry for your loss. I sincerely appreciate your words, however. Eloquent and to the point, your blog shares the best of human intelligence and emotion in a way that allows others to understand this horrible issue completely. Thank you for your contribution. Take care of yourself. (I too have a twin sister.)

  40. I feel the pain that you carry with you every day. I myself carry a gun with a license of course. I never really think about the fact of one day I may kill someone that breaks in or tries to harm me. What if that person has a family or children. They will never get to see their children or wife again and vice versa. Thanks for opening my eyes to what I haven’t seen all along.
    Please come visit my page @ nashvillephotogblog.wordpress.com

  41. I always thought it was absurd for the pro-gun groups to suggest that if more people had guns, they could stop a mass shooter. So they’re basing the protection of the innocent on chance — maybe someone in the vicinity of the shooter will have a gun, know how to use it, and be able/willing to shoot the shooter. That’s a lot of maybes in such a time sensitive and high stakes situation as a mass shooting. The only people who should be obligated to take on this duty are law enforcement, not civilians. Thank you for your letter.

    1. I do agree with you on several points here. Many of the people who want more guns and think they will stop a shooter, have never been in a mass shooting. Not all, but many (I have some survivor friends who support carrying concealed). It is a highly confusing and highly charged situation, that is for sure, and I am scared to think of what introducing more guns would do. In any case though I want to dialogue about this from all sides to see if we can find some kind of effective change.
      Thank you for coming by to read!

  42. This such a very well-written letter, and I really appreciate your perspective. I hope that the government reads it. I’m sharing in the hopes that I can help get your letter out 🙂

  43. very stimulating to the brain for sure!! I definitely agree that obtaining a gun should be more difficult. Its important to notice that those countries that allow people to posses a gun are more exposed to mass shooting and fall victim to such tragic events. Banning guns all together would be a great solution. Although I do understand where some points of view are coming from that innocent people would want to obtain a gun for self protection but they wouldn’t have to do so if no-one was allowed to have one!! Although I appreciate that its not this simple as someone who wants a gun will obtain one! However mass shootings and crazy gun attacks will definitely start to decrease if a new law was introduced!

    1. The hole in your logic there is that the law abiding citizens have no protection, so someone who builds or illegally obtains aa gun, or some other weapon, can do whatever they want to whomever they want. And the government and military are only benign if we keep them from being anything else. Guns are what backs up our vote, just as gold backs up the dollar. If the Founding Fathers let Britain take their guns, they would lose all chance of ever obtaining freedom. I’d say the best solution is to let ANYONE get a gun. Including minors. Let’s go hypothetical for a while. Say the government declared fists dangerous and illegal, and that every citizen must come and get their arms cut off. You think everyone would obey, just like that? The people would get robbed, and have no way to fight back. Then some president down the road might order a 99% income tax and no one could rebel.

      I know that you mean no harm in saying that, and I’m not mad at you at all, but if your so called “solution” takes place, I will go down fighting, with my group of teenage buddies.

      1. I don’t believe in complete bans, myself.
        But I will say this – the citizenry also doesn’t feel protected in part because Congress has not taken measure to protect. Not only by not regulating the 2nd amendment enough, BUT ALSO by not allowing research funds to study gun violence.
        As for giving minors a gun… FYI, Jace, there are already more guns than people in the US. I don’t think minors need a gun. I think they already have them.
        And yes, I did remove some of your comments, because I felt they did not add to the discussion. I reserve that right as moderator, as this is my blog.

      2. I know, I was just wondering. I know I am just an ignorant 14 year old and you have a perspective I could never have. But I know principles don’t change based on circumstance. I would personally rather die than kill even a rabbit, but I would kill to protect life and liberty, despite my loathing to do so.

      3. As they say each to their own. I don’t believe in allowing people to posses a gun. However saying that im from BRitain and here we don’t have that law in place. No one here is allowed to own a gun and in my opinion this decreases the risk of mass shooting and we very very rarely see stories like that in our news, yes bad things happen but it would be worse if people were allowed to posses a weapon. I understand that those living in certain states in the US are okay with this law and that is all that they know and haven’t experienced anything different. My opinion is that if this was abolished and no one could posses a gun for whatever reason, there would be more peace and security for people.

  44. I read this and your story (all three parts) about your sister’s. I am SO sorry you had to go through all of this, and I agree, stricter laws prohibiting people from easily accessing guns is necessary. I’m just so sorry you had to live through this as a testament to that belief. I honestly don’t know what else to say. G-d Bless.

  45. Wow! Thank you to Laurie and everyone else for sharing feelings and thinkings so honesty on this forum. Unfortunately most of us have suffered in some way due to gun violence, even if we’ve just become more fearful because of what our neighbors, either next door, across the state, country, or world have been through. I heard this on NPR the other day about how Australia responded to a mass shooting in their country. Thought you all might be interested in it, too. Change is possible. http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/07/10/australia-gun-laws

    1. Thank you so much for sharing the info on Australia, Rebecca. I’ve been trying to do more reading on it. I’ve seen a few Facebook memes but that kind of information can be incorrect. I’m drawn to what I’ve heard thus far, though.
      I so agree! Change is possible – let’s create it!

  46. I’m from the UK so the 2nd amendment debate is totally unique from my perspective. I can’t possibly expect to even try to understand the raft of issues involved. But I just wanted to say that your post is beautifully written. It is balanced, almost bereft of emotion in some ways but so fragile in others. You must be such a strong person to have come through the loss and pain you have seen and still be able to write something so thoughtful – moving but at the same time composed. Thank you for sharing,

    1. Thank you for your kind, thoughtful words. Honestly, writing has been my haven. For a long time afterwards, almost a year, I could barely even journal. But it came back. Writing was always my life raft growing up and that hasn’t changed now. I can take my pain and mold it into something beautiful, and that provides incredible solace. And here, I can take my pain and hopefully use it to build something better than the way things are now. I know my sisters would be proud and I take great comfort in that.
      Wow – wrote you a book! In any case what I meant to say was thank you for coming by, it’s my honor that you read my words.

  47. This article is well thought out. I appreciate your perspective. My wife and I have concealed carry permits and have come to opposite conclusions on whether we will carry. I have chosen to carry and she has chosen not to. Her decision, much like yours was based on uncertainty about whether she could take a life even in the defense of another. She has chosen to carry pepper spray as a nonlethal self protection measure. I have great respect for her decision but I have chosen the opposite. If you allow me, I will explain why.
    I am a Pastor of a small church. I have several children. I have always owned a gun but had chosen not to carry it faithfully. Three years ago a friend called me from Portland, Oregon to tell me that he and his family had been in the mall when they heard the sound of gunfire. He did not have a weapon at the time and told me he experienced a feeling of complete helplessness. It was an attempted mass shooting but it was stopped quickly by a man who was carrying a concealed weapon. The details can be found on Wikipedia under “Clackamas Town Center Shooting”. This event forced me to consider carrying a gun.
    As a pastor I have had to deal with death more frequently than some. I have visited dying people and comforted the families after their passing. None of this prepared me for the feelings I experienced when dealing with a gun fatality. It is a terrible thing to see a young persons life ended in that fashion.
    These experiences made my decision to carry a gun very difficult. I have chosen to carry a gun but I pray that I never have to use it. I am very glad however that I live in a country where this is my choice and no one else’s.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, Pastor. This is so much the kind of thing I think needs to be discussed and your perspective is very unique here. I can tell you and your wife both have deeply thought about this entire issue. I have great respect for the decisions of both of you.
      I have heard of Clackamas. I’m so sorry to hear your friend was there. I can see why that forced you to re-consider. I pray too that you never have to use it, though. But if you do I know that you will be aware of what it entails, and that sir is commendable.
      I am deeply grateful to you for sharing your story and I hold in high honor and respect what you have said. Thank you.

  48. Hello and thank you for this post. I am in the UK so do not understand the US law on guns. Please would someone tell me what the second amendment is and why it should (or should not) be repealed? I wish to understand this hugely moot ant issue. Thank you.

  49. I too am a survivor of violence. Without my firearm available to me, my wife would be a widow and my children fatherless. We are granted one body by our Father in Heaven and as such we have a responsibility to care for it and to protect it. As horrible as it would be to forfeit the life of another, I could not face my family or loved-ones knowing I did nothing to protect them (or myself) when I am trained to deal with such situations.

    I respect your thoughts and feelings, but if you have loved-ones in your life, you have a responsibility to be there for them, especially as a wife or mother.

    I pray for peace and for your healing process to go quickly.

    1. I respect your thoughts and feelings as well. I just differ in what I choose to do. If you feel that you can responsibly carry a firearm, by all means. I do not, so I choose not to.
      For me, it’s not a matter of not being responsible to my family. Actually, my goal in writing this post is to speak directly to Congress, and to ask them to release both research funds and consider further regulation that will allow my future family to be protected. I think we both are just going about it a bit differently, and that is okay. As I said before, if you feel you can responsibly carry a fire arm, by all means.

      1. Dear Laurie, I would definitely agree on granting more monies for unbiased research. The reason I specifiy “unbiased” is that any report published must be done completely unbiased so the public is not mislead such as a CDC (Center for Disease Control) report that published outrageous statistics for “children” killed with handguns. When one actually delves into the report I am referencing, one would learn that the CDC defined “children” as individuals from birth to 23 years old! This hugely skewed the data distribution with crimes committed by juvenile thugs that illegally posessed handguns before the legal age of 21. If one looked at the actual number of children (10 years of less) killed by handguns, the number of deaths was lower than the number of bucket drownings. If any monies should be spent on research it should be on the affects of the inordinate amount to anti depression and antipsychotic drugs that are pumped into the general population. Drugs these dangerous drugs with horrible side effects were not available 30 years ago and violent crimes were lower.

        As for further regulation, if the 60,000 pages of gun regulations on the books do not work adding another 100 will not help. Remember, criminals by definition do not follow the law, regardless of how many laws are enacted. Look at Obama’s home town of Chicago. Chicago is one of the cities with the highest and strictest gun controls, and yet they had over 300 shooting in September alone. Simply stated gun regulations will NOT stop the criminal element.

        What is needed to bring the number of violent acts down is for children to grow up with TWO parents that teach and discipline their children. Discipline in this context does not mean punish. Discipline comes from the root word disciple which simply meant to teach. Our youth today (and many adults) have never learned the most basic critical thinking skills, problem solving skills or conflict resolution skills that should be modeled by parents. I grew up with guns and was taught not only how to use them appropriately, but also that I would have sever consequences if I in any way misused them. While my parents were very loving and kind parents, they knew how to draw lines that would in no way ever be crossed without sever reconciliation of poor or irresponsible judgement. There are only two things required to address this issue and it boils down to being “respectful” and “responsible.” Everything else would naturally and eventually fall under these two.

        Please believe that I can relate to your emotions and feelings, but I respectfully disagree with more regulatory efforts that have already historically failed (as the Clinton 10 year gun ban proved) and will continue to fail because, as I stated earlier, criminals do not care about any regulation, law or rules that would inhibit their poor judgment.

        I continue to pray for healing for you and your family. God bless you, David

  50. Thanks for this post which has the people at heart. You show an example of someone who looks ahead to see what change can be done for the common good for now and the future not focusing on the past. I want o congratulate you on this and pray God may reward your efforts.

  51. The impact of shootings on the news, to be honest, its hard to imagine what you go through and have to live through afterwards. Especially since I come from Australia and nothing that severe occurs here, I hope your voices are heard and a change is made. Thanks for sharing your story.

  52. Of course before knowing fundamental rights a person should get through his duties and duty of individual is to know that you cannot mutilate anyone’s life in few seconds without any reason. And what you did really beyond the law, beyond human nature really appreciative and inspirational act

  53. Laurie,
    I am sorry for your loss. I think it is wise that you are self aware enough to decide that you can not take a life and therefore do not carry a weapon. That is your choice. The loss of a loved one, be it natural causes or through violence will always be with you. Nothing can replace or heal that loss. Again my heart goes out to you.

    I have mixed emotions about saying anymore. However I feel I must. I find it interesting that you do not mention Jeanne Assam. If God was your shepherd on December 9, Jeanne Assam was the sheepdog. Did she save your life? How many lives did she save? Do you regret that she returned fire? Although the bullet that ultimately took the killers life was from the killers own gun, Jeanne Assam left him no alternative.

    And what of the killer? The one that plots and schemes in secret for weeks or months? A pattern has begun to reveal itself of young males, sexually frustrated, some living with their protective mothers but all feeling hopeless enough to commit suicide after “taking revenge” on the world that has slighted them. The societal roots of this tragedy is decades old. Society as a whole has vilified young males for their masculinity striping away competition, suppressing aggression rather than channeling it for constructive endeavors. No gun law will turn back the clock fifty years.

    What is odd is this clamor to “DO SOMETHING” when there is a tragedy such as you experienced and now in Oregon. I say odd because the numbers for homicides accidental shootings etc. are in a long term decline and are on par with 1973. This is true even as gun ownership concealed carry permits and number of guns have skyrocketed.

    Sandy Hook was the turning point where a majority of Americans saw the truth about “gun free zones”. “GUN FREE ZONES” IS A LIE. What you really have is a KILLING ZONE. Your options are limited, charge the gunman, run, hide, beg for mercy. BEG FOR MERCY FROM THE MERCILESS.

    The Oregon killer came from California. It is said he or his mother bought many of their guns there. If that is true he was subjected to every fantasy gun law now being called for. A test and a background check BEFORE you can buy a gun. You can only buy one gun in thirty days another background check for each gun and a ten day waiting period. You can only by guns approved by the State as “safe”. Your gun is registered with the State. Test fired ammunition is recorded on file. you are limited to ten round magazines, You can not open carry in California. Your gun has to be locked separate from the ammunition. cannot be in your console or glove compartment. Conceal carry permits are almost impossible to get.

    NONE OF THESE LAWS STOP MURDERERS IN CALIFORNIA OR THE KILLER IN ROSEBURG.

    Many Americans now understand that they alone are responsible for their own safety and the safety of their loved ones. Contrary to popular belief the police are not responsible for your safety. The case law is settled on this one.

    Many of us like ARMYMIKE2011 & DBHALL1911 have the resources to train and shoot regularly, it’s a life style and a commitment that we do not take lightly. Understand that we have no obligation to protect you or others. Although most would come to your aid. If we do so it is with the knowledge that their are no guaranteed outcomes and if we engage, we may not return home that night.

    Some like Obama or other elected officials have paid armed security to protect them and their families paid for by their constituents. The super rich like Bloomberg spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for their own private security force armed to the teeth. This is the same Bloomberg that is spending millions around the Country pushing laws to restrict the availability of firearms to the average citizen. Those who may not be able to afford the price of a gun let alone an army of armed men. Where is the justice in that? A firearm alone is a luxury. A high priced luxury. The cost alone is enough to prevent many from protecting their families. Ammunition is expensive in the era of Obama making it a sacrifice to train. Every requirement by law that requires time or money adds to that barrier. Where is the justice in that? What makes Obama’s or Bloomberg’s life more valuable than the average citizen?

    Guns have been on this Continent for more than four hundred years, open carry in Colorado has been the law for more than a hundred and fifty years. The average man or woman going about their business with a holstered sidearm is not to be feared.

    I wish you peace and the healing hand of God.

    1. Tyre,
      First of all, thank you for your condolences. I appreciate your words.
      Second – for ALL this, I have one big response. Please re-read my post and let me know if I ever gave the impression that I am against citizens carrying. I am not against citizens carrying. I am against irresponsibility in citizens carrying. So of course I was grateful to Jeanne. She was generally responsible in how she carried.
      What I am asking people to do is – consider not just the action, but the FEELING of seeing someone dead by your hand. How would you respond? Could you do it? Are you aware that when you carry, that’s the responsibility you take up? I am concerned about citizens that carry in a reactionary way without ever considering that responsibility. That is one huge thing I am addressing here.
      I hear what you have said, I have read all these things before, but in terms of dialogue I don’t want to know facts. I know the facts. What I want to know is how you feel about carrying yourself, and have you considered the responsibility it takes to do so? That is all.

  54. Laurie,
    First of all you have been through something horrific that I cant possibly imagine going through myself. Thank you for this article. It says everything that I feel about gun control and that I too dont believe I could ever take a human life. Pulling the trigger comes so easy to too many people. But not me.
    If anyone on here needs anything as far as petitions, votes, whatever it may be please let me know.
    In the meantime I hope we can just pray for our country and do our best to make a positive difference in this world.

    1. Alison,
      Thank you for your kind words. I so appreciate your support. In terms of what you can do – contact your congressman. If you need telephone numbers/emails, People magazine just published them. Feel free to share my words with them. Ask for change.

  55. Thank you for this post. I was a student at Columbine when the shooting happened there. My experience pales in comparison to yours and that’s putting it mildly. It’s hard to put into words the reality of mass shootings so that others can understand how horrific they truly are. You did a masterful job of it. People need to understand the suffering that comes from mass shootings. My heart breaks all over again each time they happen because I know the horror of it.

    You’ve inspired me to tell my story to more people because I think change will only happen once others get an idea of the true human cost of mass shootings. Only those who’ve gone through them can do that. If enough of us do it maybe, one day, others won’t have to go through the same.

    1. Wow. Thank you for sharing, Leiha and it’s good to “meet” you. I know a few other Columbine survivors also, some of them put together a survivors group up in Denver.
      I know just what you mean. Today has been rough for me with the news. 😦 It just does put you right back there all over again.
      I would love to hear your story, if and when you are ready to share. I do agree that I think more people need to hear from us survivors. I think that it makes such a huge difference to hear it from a firsthand human perspective. I hope and pray my story does just that – keeps others from going through this horror.
      So grateful you came by to read.

      1. Yeah, my best friends are fellow Columbine students and we still commiserate with each other. No one else can understand except those who’ve gone through the it.

        I’d love to shout my story but tend to not because it seems to make others uncomfortable. I’m not sure if that’s just my experience but family and friends (those who weren’t there) seem to not want to hear the details. It frustrates me because while it can be hard to hear for others, it was even worse for me. I’m happy to share my story whenever because it’s been hard to otherwise.

  56. Not all mass murderers have mental disorders, some are regular people. Lack of guilt or intelligence does not necessarily conclude a mental disorder. I agree that our values play a big role in the choices we make and the actions we take.

  57. First off, I commend you on writing this and getting the dialogue moving. I am moved by a couple of posts in this tread. First, from the gentelman that is in the Army that was increadibly honost in what level of training he has recieved to be a protector of our nation. Some of us believe that our government has taken the responsibility to train our military members to a higher level and for him to come forward and say his training was not what I expected. Also from the pastor that has experienced life and death first hand and to have each of you decide differently in your decision to carry and mutually support each other.

    In all of these posts, I have only seen that the media was referenced a couple of times. I believe that you have nailed the point that training is the key to these issues and I believe that the media should stop blowing some of these stories out of proportion and instead report on the facts and then show how people can obtain the correct training in how to protect themselves responsibly. Conceal Carry classes are just a start, and for someone like you enough to make a difference in making an educated deciision on what you could do if faced with this horror again.

    I think a call to action would be to show what type of education should be required to be put in place to prove that you are a responsible armed american. You and many have referred to the minimum to drive a car, but we do not hold the same to owning a firearm. The fear I have with this, is that it will be driven by money and not common sense, it seams that we get too relaxed on our laws (Even getting a drivers license) just to streamline the process and get our money. Education and training are the key.

    1. Scott,
      I agree. I have been very moved by some of the dialogue here and it has been so helpful in terms of this discussion. The two you mentioned also stood out – Mike, and the pastor. I’ve had them on my mind in the past few days quite often.
      I absolutely agree on your point about the media. Well said, sir. That would be extremely helpful in terms of this discussion. Instead it seems the media participates in fear mongering, which is making the situation worse. I would like it if they would inform on responsible actions.
      Personally, if I did feel that I could carry (which I do not, as I wrote) I would want there to be more requirements in order to carry. In Colorado, all I had to do was take a book learning class (not target training, just information) I believe get a background check, and then register. That’s all. Even at the time I thought there should be more involved. People who carry need to show that they can target shoot, and target shoot well. This is only my opinion, of course. What scares me is people who carry without this. Because ESPECIALLY in an adrenaline laden situation, it is easy to miss. Which to me is terrifying – what if the miss kills an innocent bystander? Horrific.
      I love your call to action and completely concur. Education and training. Fantastic. Thank you so much for contributing to this dialogue. I deeply appreciate your words.

  58. This is the sort of message that the anti-gun control forces need to see. It’s a thoughtful, well considered piece and with your permission, I’d like to share it via my site.

  59. Even if we had the resources to thoroughly background check all of the gun purchasers, do we know about anyone else who might have access to that gun?

    And one if the scariest parts of a shooting is now that you can also be hit by “friendly fire” from all those who carry and want to help. How would their conscience deal with that loss of life.

    Myself? I know how hard it is for me to grab my cell phone before it goes to voicemail. In the case of a threat, I doubt I’d be if much help.

    1. Gun control isn’t the answer. Just look at chicago. The bad guys will always have access to guns and other tools. Again, we’re blaming the tool not the person, so I agree. We’ll never be able to completely control who has access to what.

      1. Jon, everyone says to look at Chicago. I’ve heard this one a lot this week. I think the trouble with that might be that Chicago is a huge municipality, where within one section guns are heavily controlled, while right next door they are not. Someone can go to the next county over and purchase a gun easily. So in my opinion it’s not really the best example.

      2. That is true. But isn’t that true on different scales of distance over everywhere. Its the point where gun control begins that no one should have a gun right? But how do these people get through? Its pretty easy. And thats the problem of gun control. Because law abiding peaceful citizens will hand over any weapons that they possess, while someone who’se planning something.. But I can see where you’re coming from

      3. Yes, it is, because guns and gun laws are not well regulated or enforced in our country at this time. I do NOT think that no one should have a gun. That’s ridiculous in my book. But here are some questions I have: why aren’t background checks required at gun shows? why aren’t background checks required when trading guns with another person? why aren’t guns registered with a number such as how cars have VINs? why aren’t people with mental illness restricted from having guns – not just so they don’t inflict harm on others, but so they don’t inflict harm on themselves! This just seems like common sense legislation to me that won’t hurt gun owners at all, and may prove helpful when it comes to gun violence.

      4. They do in mine too, the problem there is just convincing government officials that want to be re-elected not only that it is a good cause, but that they can make a plan that will work

  60. Yes, yes, and yes! No one can drive a car unless they are old enough and have passed written and driving tests but just about anyone can obtain a gun without any type of clearance. This is not right.

  61. Just look around the world, what other countries permit random citizens to carry a weapon that can instantly kill another person at a whim, this is mass paranoia and fear, sounds like a war zone, I could never live in a society like that, it’s not freedom!

      1. Intent makes a large difference, I agree. My intention in how I use a car, or a knife (food or weapon?), or any other object matters greatly. I think it does slightly differ though when it comes to a gun, mainly because of the ease with which you can take a life, even by accident.

      2. Exactly. The ease which with you can kill someone with a gun in not matched by much else. But according to some past studies, guns are used 300 times more often to uphold the law than to break it. Knives are a whole lot more popular among murder criminals, according to the FBI. Knives are used for about 5 times more murders than guns, but guns are dangerous if you don’t know how to use them. what I don’t understand is how anyone thinks this is okay, and does it.

      3. Stiffer gun control laws will not stop mass shooting. Taking away our right to have guns will not stop them either. Laws only keep honest people honest.

        If laws stopped bad things from happening then lets make murder, rape, child abuse, robbery and drugs illegal. Oh wait they all are and so explain to me how stiffer guns laws will help. A criminal would not be a criminal if they gave a rat’s a$$ about laws or human rights

  62. I can’t imagine how painful that experience must have been for you, and I am deeply sorry for your losses. You raise such an important point here, one that acknowledges our ability to bear arms without revoking that right – and that is to truly think about the responsibility entailed in carrying a firearm, and what it would mean to have to use one against another human being. I’m not sure what type of laws could be passed to prevent incidents like this from reoccurring. Like the laws in place against certain drugs, I find myself thinking that people will always find a way to obtain and use them, even for nefarious purposes. However, directing the dialogue towards real human experience and asking others to employ true consideration and responsibility is essential if there is a solution to be found. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story and your heartfelt stance in order to illustrate the significance of this issue.

  63. This post was beautifully written and I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you feel daily. I’m genuinely curious and I hope that this question is okay – is it difficult to watch the same thing happen over and over again, with dialogue about gun control beginning but never having a conclusion? As someone from Australia the gun laws in the USA seem so backwards and thoughtless when history keeps repeating itself. This was very powerful.

    1. Georgina, it is heartbreaking. The range of emotions I’ve had this week have been all over the map and centering in on gut-wrenching. That’s truly why I wrote this post. In America we are very split on this issue, and we tend to dehumanize one another over it. I was trying and am trying to give a human face to it, and to reach out and ask for dialogue first so we can find a solution that is not black or white, but that works for us.
      But yes…it is awful and very hard, and I hope one day soon we can stop these events from constantly occuring.

  64. I am truly sorry that you or anyone has had to go through something so horrific. Thankfully you survived. I think most people would agree that something needs to be done. Taking away guns or amno is not the answer because lets face it, if someone wants to harm you they will find a way.

    To many times mental health is used as the reason such violence was done, which to me creates another issue. People with mental issues are already looked down upon and now are people supposed to worry they might go off and harm us? It gives people a reason to be afraid. No one will ever truly know why people do the things they do.

    Education can and will play a key role But that is not what the powers that be want. They want firearms to be non existent.

    I think the majority of people do understand the huge responsibility they take on when they own a weapon. As for those that dont get it thats where the education comes in. Make some sort of class mandatory for anyone who buys or wants to carry a firearm. As for background checks Im sorry but background checks can mean nothing especially if on paper they look great with no issues.

    I grew up around guns, I learned to respect them and what they can do. Would I carry one yes, would I go through a class or be required to have so many hours at a gun range learning what I need to yes. Could I actually pull the trigger? I dont know, I cant say what I would do if put in that position. But atleast I would know what to do.

    We dont need more laws that no one understands or dont know about, we need to fix whats already broken before we ever have a chance at making things right. Educate, listen to what people have to say.

  65. Wow, sorry for you lose. Guns are used for the wrong reasons. Our Government does not see the suffering, they care more about their ego and votes. The only way to take control of our safety is Martial Law. People need to be stronger and keep pushing for what is right.

  66. Thanks for sharing ! What a beautiful testament ; I applaud your positive outlook despite your lost! I do agree with your statement !

  67. The Government needs to shape and put a stop to this nonsense! There have been at least 9 campus shootings in the last month. It needs to be stopped!

  68. Laurie, I can appreciate you decision to remain disarmed knowing that you would not be comfortable taking another person’s life even if you or your loved one’s lives were in imminent danger and threat from that individual. From my perspective though, I believe that if I were personally to remain passive and not attempt to stop someone from taking the lives of others, I would be even more responsible for passively causing the death of innocent persons. To me, once a violent person threatens to take the lives of others, I have no choice but to take someone’s life – either I actively take the life of the aggressor, or I passively take the life of his/her victims by doing nothing to stop him/her.

    1. I understand what your saying, but some people do not have the ability either mentally, physically, emotionally or whatever to take another persons life. People react differently in any given situation, We dont know what we would do. And defending yourself or others doesnt automatically mean taking the life of some one…

    2. In reality, the mass shootings appear to take place while the victims are in a setting that would not give them the opportunity to shoot back. Do you think if gunfire is behind you rapidly shooting you would have time to get your gun, find the shooter and save lives? If you attempted you might even take more innocent lives. Guns kill. Reality, says to me in most of these situations the innocent haven’t time to defend. I have to agree we need better laws and we need to deal with reality.

  69. Reblogged this on granolanotcrunchy and commented:
    This is a truly inspiring story. She is downright one hell of a strong woman. Praying for her and her family.
    Let us learn not to take our families for granted, nobody is guaranteed a tomorrow. Say “I love you” and give your sister or brother, or mom or dad a giant hug today. I hope congress hears her voice.

  70. A very powerful posting. I’m sorry for all you’ve had to go through and for your losses. You are both courageous and articulate. The world needs more people like you in this endless debate. 🙏🏼

  71. Hi Laurie,

    I love how you shared your heart! I have had the privilege of meeting and listening to your father, David, at Sheepdog conferences over the last few years. He is a fine man and you are blessed to have such a fine father! What your family went through breaks my heart and drives me to be a better Sheepdog.

    I appreciate your mature and self-aware decision about whether to carry a firearm. I am a firearms instructor, hold several distinguished graduate certificates and have years of professional training. I am responsible for the firearms training for the Life Safety/Security team at my church. I can tell you that simply having a concealed carry permit and a gun doesn’t make you ready to use deadly force any more than having a guitar makes you ready for the stage. The gun is just a tool. How it is used makes all the difference. Training and the mental Combat Mindset is critical to prevailing when deadly force is necessary to protect yourself or someone else. If you have decided using deadly force is not something you are mentally prepared to do, then you have indeed made a wise choice not to carry a gun.

    Here is my concern: There are those who will conclude that since you decided carrying a gun isn’t for you, the government should make that decision for other law abiding citizens. After all, if you don’t need a gun, why would anyone else? Since some either make wise choices like you, or are irresponsible and murderous, why not restrict and regulate even further, the expression of everyone’s 2nd Amendment rights?

    But, if you decided that you shouldn’t exercise your 19th Amendment right as a woman to vote because you didn’t feel you had studied the issues enough to do so responsibly, would it follow therefore that the government should hinder or prevent other women from voting? Would it be alright to have some “common sense” regulations like passing a test and showing knowledge of the issues before we allowed women to exercise their 19th Amendment right? I could make a very persuasive argument that far more people have been harmed by the way people vote than by the way people shoot. Therefore, shouldn’t the government enact some “common sense” regulations and monitor how women are allowed to exercise their 19th Amendment right? Obviously, the answer is no. It is none of the government’s business whether or not you vote, and the same goes for other law abiding citizens.

    My point is our rights as free citizens don’t come from government. They come from our Creator. Whether or not to exercise those rights is up to the individual, not the government. That’s part of being a free, law-abiding citizen. That goes for the 19th Amendment which acknowledges your God-given right as a woman to vote just as much as for the 2nd Amendment that acknowledges your God-given right to bear arms if you choose to do so legally and responsibly.

    We see lots of hyperbole about guns these days. I remind people that Cain murdered Abel long before Mr. Glock and Mr. Colt came along. What matters is what is in someone’s heart, not what’s in their hand. Cain’s murder weapon wasn’t responsible for Abel’s death. Cain was.

    Evil is the real enemy. Always has been, and always will be. And, when evil shows up with a gun, even the most anti-gun liberal will be very happy to see a good guy with a gun.

    God Bless you, Laurie! Thank you for sharing your heart!

    Jeff

    1. Hello Jeff! Thank you for your kind words. I agree, I so appreciate my dad and everything he’s taught me. On this subject, funnily enough, it was my dad who taught me gun safety when I was about 10 years old. That’s definitely influenced me for the better. And that is one of several things that I’ve been privileged enough to learn from my dad.
      Thank you as well for your thoughtful remarks on the subject. Due to my CC class that I took, I absolutely agree that just having a concealed doesn’t make you ready to use deadly force. The mindset you have makes a huge, huge amount of difference. That is actually part of what I’m calling out here – people who carry without realizing the responsibility and mental stamina they should have to do so.
      I do have to disagree with you on how we regulate the 2nd amendment. You contrasted it with the 19th amendment, which I’m not sure is a fair contrast. The right to bear arms doesn’t seem to me to be an equal subject as the right of women to vote. A comparison I’ve been using somewhat more often is to the 1st amendment – free speech. We see regulation of free speech in that someone can’t yell “fire” in a crowded room, can’t commit slander, etc. Not that that is necessarily a fair comparison either, because in my opinion even the harm that speech can do isn’t equal to the harm that weapons can.
      My point really is that amendments are 1) broadly interpreted and 2) often regulated. Even the right to vote is regulated by age.
      I don’t suggest that we take away rights. I think that’s useless. I’m wondering though, and perhaps you can answer me, why many pro-gun advocates are so anti 2nd amendment regulation. If you understand the harm that weapons can cause, even at your own hand, and have made every effort to make yourself responsible, why is it an issue to regulate in order to ensure that more responsible people are using guns than irresponsible ones? I truly ask out of curiosity, because most of the people I have encountered here with this dialogue DO use their weapons responsibly, and have made every effort to be highly trained. It seems odd to me though that they acknowledge their need for training (A HUGE need) and yet, have issue when it comes to requiring training for conceal carry for everyone else. Why?
      Evil IS indeed the real enemy. Heartily agreed. I’m deeply grateful for Jeanne Assam’s actions on the day my sisters were killed, as well. And we can’t regulate heart or intent, to be sure. That’s silliness. But I wonder if we can determine some factors that could lead to greater danger for the general population (mental illness has been bandied around a lot, for example) and more heavily regulate when it comes to those.
      Just my thoughts, and I hope you take them as respectfully as they are meant. As I wrote here, I hope to encourage dialogue. If my words seem at any time as if I am attacking please let me know.
      My best to you, Jeff, and blessings to you as well.

      1. I can’t answer for Jeff, but for myself, I am a staunch 2nd Amendment supporter and a sound defender of the Constitution. If you read the 2nd, and the notes, letter and articles written about it by those who wrote it, you find that the amendment isn’t about stopping a lunatic with a firearm or other weapon, it’s about keeping the central government honest. We as a nation have forgotten that, especially since the 1964 Gun Control Act. Remember the government was not created to protect you, that you have to do for yourself. I carry for protection from other citizens and governments (domestic and abroad).

      2. Hi Laurie!

        I love your thoughtful and reasoned approach to this topic! Bless you!

        Yes, analogies always have limitations, and perhaps the 1st Amendment is a better example than the 19th. Regardless, my point was that it is dangerous to assume we can erode one right without jeopardizing others.

        Let me address your two part question about why the 2nd Amendment is so strongly defended, and your assertion (observation?) that some have an issue with training being required for getting a concealed carry permit.

        I can’t speak for others, but among many reasons I am not a fan of infringing on the 2nd Amendment is that it is simply silly to blame inanimate objects for the maniacal behavior of a few. Guns are not the problem. Guns are simply tools. Some argue that making the tools less available and harder to obtain would reduce crime and murder. If that was true, then places like Chicago with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, should have some of the lowest murder and gun violence rates. And, places like Vermont, which has virtually no restrictions or training requirements, beyond being a law abiding citizen, to carry a concealed firearm (even for minors with parental permission!) should be among the most dangerous. Of course we know that Chicago has astonishingly high murder and violent crime rate, and is on track to set a new record. Vermont…well, not so much.

        Professor Lott’s book, More Guns, Less Crime cites numerous studies that show the exact same thing. Gun owners are simply not the irresponsible and crazy lot that the main stream media would like us to believe. And, criminals prefer gun-free zones and areas where they’re not likely to encounter an armed citizen. Go figure!

        So, why do I think eroding the freedom of law abiding citizens in a misguided effort to reduce criminal behavior is a really bad idea? Because, it simply doesn’t work. Criminals don’t obey laws. That’s why they are called criminals. I can’t think of a single mass murder in which the murderer(s) didn’t break plenty of laws that are already on the books. Can you? If not, then what line of logical reasoning can we find that concludes, therefore if that murderer had to break just one more law, he would not have committed murder?

        Another reason I defend the 2nd Amendment is that like our Founding Fathers, I understand history and human nature. Our Founding Fathers knew that unless We the People had the means to defend ourselves from tyrants, we wouldn’t be free very long. The 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting or target practice. It is about defending God’s gift of life and freedom. History is filled with examples of dictators and tyrants slaughtering helpless, unarmed populations. To think it couldn’t happen here is to engage in denial of the highest order. History is repetitive because it is human nature to assume it won’t happen to us this time.

        There are lots more points to be made, but time and space is limited.

        As for having issues with training, I truly don’t know any gun owners who think training is a bad idea. I am sure there are some out there, but I certainly don’t think they are even close to a significant percentage of the millions of gun owners in America. Do you have evidence to the contrary? If so, I’d love to have you educate me on that matter.

        I love the dialog you have started, Laurie! It often helps crystallize and clarify when one needs to put thoughts into writing.

        God Bless you!

        Jeff

  72. Yeah I can see where you are coming from. I personally am applying for a gun permit. I won’t be helpless when some crazy jerk decides to shoot people. At that point, I can understand that you feel he is still human, but a that point for me, he needs to be put down, however you can do it. I don’t, however, appreciate the “not shoot to kill” attitude when dealing with this. If you do choose to fire, do kill what you are shooting at otherwise you are creating more problems. I have done some U.S. Army ESTs (shoot, don’t shoots) and a small amount of training with US NSW members, so personally I feel confident with a firearm in that situation and others. I can understand your mentality, though. If you wouldn’t be able to use it, it wouldn’t be wise to carry. However, for me, at that point, I am not caring for the person who is shooting others. He’s not anywhere on my list of cares. I care about the people he’s shooting at. He’s made a bad decision, and he should be prepared to suffer the consequences. As you can probably tell, I’m totally for gun freedom. The bad guys will always have access to guns, but the good guys need to legally be able to be there to protect others. I do appreciate the suffering you went through, and offer my condolences. This shouldn’t happen.

    1. I think the point needs to be belabored that you may think you’re prepared for such a situation by going through a couple simulations but nothing can prepare you for the actual situation.

      I spent my summers on my grandparents’ farm in Montana and learned how to shoot and handle all types of firearms there. I then found myself huddled under a table in my cafeteria at Columbine when I was 15. I can unequivocally say that you’ve no idea what you’d actually do in that situation. Your foremost thought is keeping yourself alive and your body takes over. You have to make split second decisions and have no time to think through a decision. While I could handle any firearm in any other situation, I would’ve had no business doing so then.

      It’s a nice thought to think you could somehow save yourself or others in a similar situation but you’ve no idea if you actually could. If anything, you’re more likely to injure or kill someone innocent in trying to do so. You may have gone through some simulations but I can tell you what it’s like to feel a bullet go by your head while you run for your life. It is not the same nor does it even come close to simulating it.

      On top of that, you are usually caught by total surprise. It gives you almost no time to prepare sufficiently to fire a gun at the appropriate target. And even if it does, you better be one hell of a shot.

      I’d rather we not feel like we’ve got to prepare for these shootings. I’d rather we do what we can to prevent from them happening period. Common sense gun restrictions do not inhibit law-abiding citizens from obtaining them or owning them. It doesn’t keep them out of the hands of everyone who shouldn’t have them, true. Saying that’s a reason to not enact them is akin to arguing for no laws in the country since that doesn’t keep everyone from breaking them.

  73. While I am definitely pro gun, I really enjoyed your post Laurie. I think you have a unique and thoughtful perspective and while I may not entirely agree, I certainly respect your decisions and stance on this issue. So sorry for your loss and thank you for respectfully sharing your view.

  74. Great post. I wish every gun owner realized the importance of firearm training too. Anyone who owns a gun needs to understand what all is involved. Not just if they would shoot somebody but also if they could & in what situation…Sometimes having a gun suddenly escalates a rather harmless situation, no matter how volatile, into a life or death matter. When is taking a life justified, because threatening to take a life is not what owning a gun should be about. It is a lot to take in, not just something to spout off that oh yeah I’d kill him….would you, could you & why?
    I am sad for you feeling like you need the protection, especially knowing why. I am smiling to see that, despite the depth & intensity of your desire for protection, you still managed to make a responsible informed decision.
    I have owned a gun. I have been trained & know I would have no problem using the gun in certain situations. I also know that these situations in my current life are fewer than the situations having a gun would create for me. It’s all about personal choice & responsibility. Kudos to you for actively living instead of just surviving. Life isn’t about going through the motions, it’s about setting things in motion. So, thank you for doing just that!

  75. I never knew that they don’t do a background check on those purchasing guns. This piece of information sent goosebumps down my spine as I am even more aware that anyone can be carrying a gun and that they weren’t checked firsthand. This stuff has been happening way too often and I don’t understand why the government isn’t doing something about it. I am a student of a community college that had a shooting in early September. I was not on campus at the moment it happened, but the lack of communication regarding the shooting was terrifying. All students received a text notification approximately 43 minutes after the shooting notifying all students to stay undercover because there was a shooter on site. I’m terribly appalled at the rising gun violence in America.
    P.S. I’m so very sorry for your double loss of both of your sisters and the injury of your father. I also applaud you for being the bigger person in your decision not to conceal carry a weapon.

    1. Background checks ARE conducted for almost all gun purchases. Legal ones, that is. But, of course criminals don’t follow the law. That’s why they are called criminals. That’s why limiting the freedom of law abiding citizens (i.e. so-called “gun free zones”) gives the advantage to criminals.

      Jeff

  76. Very well said. You choose to share your traumatic experience as explaination on the government’s failure rather than animosity. I have a slightly different opinion but truly inspiring! 🙂

  77. “Many who argue against gun control say that it is not the gun that is the problem, it is the person. But if we have no way of checking who the person is, the gun becomes the problem.” This sums up exactly how I feel about the whole problem. Thanks for sharing your story and I’m sorry this ever happened to you in the first place. I’ve shared your story so hopefully your common sense will resonate with others.

  78. Very interesting and unique perspective. I think you’ve nailed the fact an important factor in choosing whether or not to carry a gun is self-knowledge, which comes only from proper training in handling the weapon. Many countries require all their citizens to serve in the military for a brief period for this reason.
    I like that you mention a country’s purpose is to protect its citizens. However, there is a subtle distinction you have missed. The founding fathers actually designed our country this way: A country’s GOVERNMENT has the duty is to protect its citizens from OUTSIDE INVASION. That’s why the 2nd amendment exists – for citizens to protect themselves from everything else, including inside threats. Although this was initially meant as insurance for citizens to protect themselves against their own government should it neglect its duties (and whether we are at this point is another issue entirely!), it has become about protecting us from each other as well.
    Whatever side anyone falls on this issue, the fact that you have had to deal with a mass shooting is deplorable, and I wish you the best.

  79. My condolence. I’m glad God has saved your life even though your family is gone. I’m also happy you respect the lives of others and hence you decide not to retaliate.

  80. I read a thought on this, comparing getting a gun license to getting a drivers license which no one complains about it…..I don’t understand the opposition to regulation. You can still get a gun, but there needs to be a control process.

    1. One critically important difference between comparing a driver’s license with owning a firearm that is often overlooked is that driving is a privilege, and bearing arms is a right acknowledged in the Constitution of the United States of America.

      Jeff

  81. A well written sentiment.

    The issue is, I live in the UK, we can’t legally own firearms under a certain side (removing the concealed carry altogether).

    But losing someone to gun crime does open ones eyes to the fact that gun ownership happens with or without the right to carry. (In my case, a gang surrounded a friend of mine in Tottenham, London. They then shot him for no apparent reason, suspected gang initiation I believe)

    In your situation, I can only imagine the pain and hurt and I really respect the thought in this post stating that you could not take the responsibility of another human life into your own hands. Even with the loss, that’s a trait that elevates you. It’s a sign of strength.

    But it also reminds me of the fact that those out there that do take lives into their hands (Police officers, Armed Services, Personal Security etc) and the respect they deserve as well. Whilst the truth is, the average human is capable of taking another life when the need arises, it’s also a sign of strength when someone admits they could not do so as this is a choice, not an inability. And those that do take that responsibility into their own hands through a profession take on a hard task in life. Whilst none of those professions directly relate to taking life, it’s always a strong possibility.

    Massive respect for the write up!

    Eye opening and a respectful way to honour the fallen, life is precious, all of it.

    Just my two pence (We don’t have cents!)

  82. Laurie, I believe you have the potential to be heard! REALLY be heard! I mean wow, I am now sharing your story and thoughts/views with anyone who will listen. Absolutely moving! I wish I could do something to help! I support your views on this matter 100%! Brilliantly written, and I can’t wait to see where this goes! Good luck my love!

  83. This is a Great post. I agree that you should not carry if you are not willing to use the gun…because, as my brothers who are police officers have told me…if you do not intend or cannot use it, it could be taken from you and used against you. Not everyone should carry, for a number of reasons, but our right to choose to do so should be left in place…I also agree that they need to do more in the form of background checks, to make sure that those carrying will not be a potential harm to others. Thanks for this post, Sorry for your loss, God Bless. You have been sadly Heard!

  84. Thank you for your honesty and sharing your experience. I really can’t even imagine what you have been through and I think its great you are speaking out.

  85. What is your plan for the government to be more of a protection? The fact is, police can not possibly be everywhere. I respect your decision to not take a life, however if you’re expecting the “government” to take care of it they would take the life of the men as well. So you’re saying the life of the killer is important, but the police should protect us more (which would entail killing the killer). Really someone with a concealed permit would do the same thing only much quicker and saving many more lives. You have to either be against killing a killer or against protecting more people from being killed. Here im confused because you’re saying both. What exactly are you wanting to change. I am beyond sorry for your losses, I can’t imagine your pain, but I wish so much someone with a concealed license or a police officer was there to rescue your family and the many others that were killed.

    1. A few things here I’ll address:
      I never mentioned police protection. I have issues with that also, but I’ll not address that now. I think I wrote here that I don’t have all the answers. I just think that Congress should more deeply consider it and their responsibility to the American people. That may mean better regulation and more enforced regulation. I don’t think that protecting us more means killing the killer, at ALL. I think there are several steps the government can put in place before that.
      I completely disagree with your statement “you have to either be against killing a killer or against protecting more people from being killed.” There is a LOT of grey in between those things, and it is precisely that grey that I am trying to point out with this letter. We have so many options available, it behooves us to find a helpful one.
      On the rest of this, I will be posting next week about my specific ideas for change in this area. If you’re curious, I encourage you to stay tuned.

      1. As I’m sure many others have mentioned… People that have the intentions to kill will typically do it illegally. People that are getting their concealed weapons license are well to do citizens who are desiring protecting in the case that the police are not able to get there in time. Making the laws stricter is only keeping people from being able to protect themselves while people that wish to kill will still go on getting guns illegally and killing people. Obviously you don’t have all the answers, but you’d think in a post like this you would have some sort of idea of a possible solution. Otherwise you’re just complaining about a problem, which everyone knows is a problem. Congress are in congress to protect the people, so are you simply encouraging them to keep doing their job? I’m just not sure what your post is trying to say other than rally those that think no one should own guns should own them. What kind of “steps” are you recommending the government to take? I’m glad you’re writing another post with your ideas, but I’d recommend just adding them to this blog post as currently it sounds like you’re on both sides of the line in this one.

      2. My entire point with this blog post is to create dialogue on both sides of the line. So yes, I do sound that way, exactly. I think this argument (guns/no guns) is alienating. We stop listening to people on the opposite side and that helps no one. I don’t offer a solution, Melissa, precisely for that reason. I’m trying to start dialogue and find a unique solution that incorporates both “sides.”
        I wonder why it is so important for you that I provide a solution and tell Congress what to do? I’m also curious – do you think Congress is protecting us now? How so?

      3. Because your blog post says “dear congress” as a letter to the congress… therefore stating that you have something in fact to notify the congress of. Your blog post in the case of your last comment should then be “an open conversation on gun laws”, with questions on other people’s opinions. Yours is trying to make a statement, but the statement of which no one really knows. If a congress man read your post, I think they would be very confused as to how to respond or to know what they are suppose to be taking from it.

        I think your writing is absolutely beautiful, and your life has quite a story to tell, with just this blog post in particular… I would challenge you to either have a precise goal in mind for the post in case a congress man were to see it, or to make it into an open dialog for others to chime into.

      4. Yes I do have something to notify Congress of – and the things I have to notify Congress of are these 2 things which I clearly stated:
        “I am appealing to you today not to repeal the 2nd amendment, not to take people’s guns, but to consider within yourselves your responsibility to your people.” and
        “I ask you to open a dialogue – to see the human faces of this issue. To see my face as a survivor. To see the faces of gun owners who feel the need to protect themselves.”
        I am clearly asking them to 1. take responsibility and 2. Open a dialogue. I have a VERY precise goal – it is those two things, which again are clearly stated within this letter as they are both preceded by, “I ask you to…” and then the action I am asking them to take. I think you may not understand that I consider dialogue an important and decisive ACTION.

    2. “I’m just not sure what your post is trying to say other than rally those that think no one should own guns should own them.”
      Well, the overarching idea is that something needs to be done, and the idea that more guns equals less gun violence is absurd. The reasons are posted clearly in the beginning: “I write you this letter so that you can see the face of a survivor…” “…And most importantly I write this letter to open a dialogue about the role that gun violence has played in our country.”
      There’s not a single call in here, or for most people for no one to own guns. That’s a limited few people. Even I don’t call for that, and I really, really dislike guns. Straight out banning things doesn’t work. That’s been shown again and again, prohibition and the war on drugs are just two examples. Regulation though? It’s an amazing idea. It’s just astounding how well it works. I mean, look at the incidents of vehicle accidents in percentage of population comparative to the laws enacted. As they are more regulated, vehicle accidents, deaths and malfunctions go down. Guns are far deadlier than vehicles, and every time a mass shooting happens, we don’t go “hey, this regulation thing worked great for vehicles, why don’t we try that with guns.” or “hey, regulation has worked fantastically throughout the rest of the world, why don’t we try that?”
      No, the rallying cry becomes “Don’t take our guns! Banning guns doesn’t work! We need more guns! Mutually assured destruction is the way to go!”
      I will point out, I’m not saying those words are coming out of your mouth. Your position within the comments thus far has been rather ambiguous, but seems to lean on that side of things.
      It comes down to the idea that regulation =/= banning, and people can’t figure that out.
      As far as giving solutions, well, nobody has to have a solution to know there’s a problem, or speak about a problem. There’s a reason that debate is so important, generally, no one person has all the answers, and if they tell you they do, then they are probably delusional, self righteous or just plain full of s***.
      What we need to go off of is data, and the reality of the data is that regulation works. Even in countries saturated with guns (see Germany and Switzerland), they have insane amounts of regulation, and it works really well. Australia is an often used example and for good reason. They heavily regulated guns after having the largest mass shooting in the world in 1996 (a record that luckily still stands) and, surprise, gun violence went down drastically. What was uncertain was if there was going to be a rise in violence through other weapons. The surprise answer to a lot of people is the fact that there was not a correlative rise in that violence.
      Now, the same can not be said for most countries that have outright banned guns. Almost every single one of them have seen a correlative rise in violence via other weapons that sometimes goes as far as actually increasing the injury and death rates. So, yeah, I think we can all agree that’s not a good thing. We can learn from all of this. Yes we have a right to guns, yes they are not inherently bad, but also yes, the only function they serve is to kill. It is a necessity in some areas, when hunting is the only way that you are going to be able to eat, you need a gun. I mean, you could use a bow and arrow and some people do, but lets face it, a bullet to the face is a lot more likely to murder something to death, especially quickly.
      Finally, “regulations won’t stop people from doing bad things.” No. They won’t, but it absolutely will make it a whole lot harder. Yes, there will still be all the guns that were sold prior to the regulations on the streets, and there will be a gun black market, but there already is, and for crying out loud there’s a black market for everything including dirty undies, which are totally not illegal in the first place. If the thought is that regulations won’t help, there’s just too many guns out there in the first place, well, perhaps just talking about this now is even more of an issue than we thought? There are ways to work with that though, like voluntary buy back programs, which have happened in the US and were part of the overhaul in Australia, and they work really well. At that point, the only people who’s guns go away are the ones that want them to. There’s no forced removal of guns or any other thing like that, and it takes guns off the streets. It will not be perfect and it will not stop all mass shootings, but it will help. Also, it would be good to point out that no, tighter regulations won’t actually keep the general populace from obtaining a gun. Make it more difficult? Sure, but have you noticed the process of getting a car completely legal to drive? Even super strict regulations aren’t going to cause that much of a mess. What it will do is make it harder for people that shouldn’t have them, like those with prior felonies for violent crimes, from getting them. I mean, right now, it’s pretty easy to hop on armslist.com, NRA meetings and even facebook, and buy a gun real easy. No background checks, no questions asked. It should not be that simple to obtain something that is strictly meant to kill.
      If we can strictly regulate 2000+ lb potential murder boxes on wheels so we can get from point A to point B, then we can strictly regulate definite murder barrels.
      Besides, the 2nd amendment calls for a “well regulated militia.” Those first two words are very conveniently ignored.

      1. Hi Ivy Willow,

        I feel lead to address some of your points with facts.

        You said, “…the idea that more guns equals less gun violence is absurd.” Do you have any objective evidence to support that statement? I would encourage you to read Dr. John Lott’s book, More Guns, Less Crime. Dr. Lott presents hard, scientific facts and solid studies that completely dispel the myth that more guns means more violence. In fact, gun violence has been shown consistently to go down when and where “shall issue” concealed carry permits are found.

        Point two: You said, “Guns are far deadlier than vehicles.” Again, do you have any objective evidence to support that statement? According to the National Safety Council, we lost an estimated 395 people in fatal highway accidents just this past Labor Day Weekend (2015). Any loss of life is tragic, but objectively, the loss of 395 people represents nearly 40 times more lives than were lost in the recent Oregon massacre. According to the National Vital Statistics Report, tobacco kills 529,000 people each year. Medical errors kill 195,000, vehicle accidents kill 42,000 and firearm homicide accounts for 10,800 deaths annually. So, objectively speaking, guns are certainly not “far deadlier than vehicles” as you asserted.

        Point three: You said, “. I mean, right now, it’s pretty easy to hop on armslist.com, NRA meetings and even facebook, and buy a gun real easy. No background checks, no questions asked.” That is simply untrue. Any firearm purchased (legally) on line must be shipped to a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. The (legal) transfer of that firearm from the dealer to the purchaser is done only after completing the appropriate background check and only if it comes back clean. There may be places in the country where individual private sales do not require the services of an FFL or require background checks, and criminals can certainly get a gun by breaking the law any day (that’s why they are called criminals…they don’t obey the law). But to say you can buy a gun on line “real easy” and with “No background checks, no questions asked.” is misleading and completely untrue.

        Point four: You said, “…a “well regulated militia.” Those first two words are very conveniently ignored.” According to Brian T. Halonen of the Constitution Society, “The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.” So, you see the meaning of “well regulated” was certainly NOT to limit and control as we might assume the term means based on today’s use of the word. It meant that firearms were to be functioning properly and in good working order.

        There is much hype, hysteria and hyperbole surrounding the issue of guns and the 2nd Amendment. Facts and rational discourse gives us at least a chance of objectively discussing the matter. I could go on much longer and address the myths of buy back programs and confiscation in the UK and Australia reducing violent crime (they didn’t), but time and space are limited. Suffice it to say it pays to check facts and to think with objective reasoning instead of emotion and personal preference when contemplating these things.

        God Bless you, Ivy!

        Jeff

      2. Thank you for your response Jeff!
        I have done more research for my own post that I will be releasing tomorrow, and it seems that we are both wrong on the first point of amount of guns and amount of violence. If looking at separate data, then yes, both sides can be supported, but as a whole, there doesn’t seem to be any direct correlation either way. http://www.factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/
        Point 2: Pure numbers, you are absolutely correct and render that statement false. I was speaking in terms of guns are made specifically for killing. Though that doesn’t function as hard data, and I can absolutely see how it was read the way you read it. That was horrible wording on my part.
        Point 3: Armslist is a very good example of a work around for background checks and the likes. As long as sellers are listed as personal seller’s there’s nothing that they need to do. Swap the gun for the money and you’re done. This happens at conventions as well for everyone who is registered as a private seller. There is no need to transfer the gun to an FFL first. (I do contend that this MAY be state dependent, but federally speaking, there’s nothing saying a gun bought online needs to go to a FFL. http://fox6now.com/2013/11/07/guns-for-sale-no-background-check-required/
        I will outright say that I’m no history buff, so perhaps my comments don’t quite hold as much weight, but as I understand the word militia to mean and to have meant a group of people trained and ready to defend their country, not under the direct command of the government. So, how would a well-regulated militia refer only to the weapons?
        Again thank you for your response and the chance for good discourse.

      3. Hi Ivy Willow,

        I see what you mean about Armslist. Thank you for clarifying that. I misunderstood when you said the purchase was on line. That lead me to think of sites like gunbroker.com where you can actually purchase a firearm on line. That has to be sent to an FFL, background check done, etc, before the transfer is made. I see what you are saying, tho about Armslist, which is a way of connecting people for private sales where the transaction actually takes place face to face rather than on line and doesn’t involve a dealer. That is much like Craig’s List or other advertising places on line where buyers and sellers are connected to do private transactions. The legality of that varies by state, as does whether or not background checks are performed for sales at gun shows. That is a good point you made. Thank you for that!

        As much as I am against government over-reach and excessive regulation, I do think background checks have a place. As a good, law abiding citizen, I appreciate making it harder for those with criminal backgrounds or mental health or drug abuse issues or domestic violence issues to purchase guns. It isn’t perfect, and effects mostly law-abiding citizens, and criminals will still get guns outside the system, but I think it is reasonable to closely examine ways people can get around the system as you highlighted.

        As for “militia”, you said you were asking about the first two words, “well regulated”. According to Daniel J. Schultz at the Lectric Law Library http://www.lectlaw.com/files/gun01.htm “When the Constitution was ratified, the Framers unanimously believed that the “militia” “included all of the people capable of bearing arms.” Clearly, the “well-regulated” part meant they (and their arms) needed to function properly. So, it appears the whole phrase “well-regulated militia” referred to all people capable of bearing arms (and their arms) being properly functioning…not “regulated” in the sense of the word today. I am not expert in that area, but apparently those who are have come to that conclusion.

        Blessings!

        Jeff

  86. Reblogged this on Simone Samuels and commented:
    “I am appealing to you today not to repeal the 2nd amendment, not to take people’s guns, but to consider within yourselves your responsibility to your people. As I considered my own responsibility towards human dignity when I chose not to carry, I ask you now to consider your responsibility towards human dignity when it comes to guns in the United States. I ask you to bear the grave burden of human life on your shoulders and decide in yourselves what checks and balances can be made to sufficiently uphold its dignity.

    I ask you to open a dialogue – to see the human faces of this issue. To see my face as a survivor. To see the faces of gun owners who feel the need to protect themselves. As the tradition of my childhood says in the Scriptures, “Come, let us reason together.” Let’s make this discussion human again.”

  87. Thanks for sharing this. So sorry for your loss, and I hope that others like you are willing to speak up. I think it makes a difference when those who have lived the experience call us out than when those of us who are on the sidelines try to shout opinions to the referees.

  88. Hi Laurie, my condolences on your loss and bravery of taking up the subject so openly. I don’t live in the US (but have visited) but Europe, and I never went through such an experience. I’d be confident to claim many around here keep wondering at the reasons of the frequent mass shootings taking place in the US.
    I am suggesting that reality and dreams are very far from each other in the US. Mass shooters seem to be bitter, disillusioned people and take their rage on others. At the same time the society keeps screaming ‘in the US you have the opportunity to be anything you like’. Am just suggesting the gap between reality and dreams are far away, and that the issue is not whether somebody has a permit to carry a gun or not – but education: lack of limits, giving false hopes combined with a society that defines success as money on the account, and public fame. What do you think? As an American?
    I’d also be greatful for comments from anybody else who might have insight. Thank you.

  89. Laurie. Bless you for all you have been through, and for having the strength,to open the story up and encourage dialogue. That is definitely what is needed. I live in Canada where gun laws are slightly different, however we need to also have dialogues because there have been enough mass shootings up here. This to me is something everyone, everywhere should be thinking about. You are absolutely right, that retaliation does not solve any problem. Once my wife and I were attacked in our car, because we had just run a charity Bingo, and had about $1000 in the trunk. These guys didn’t have guns…that I know of, but they had heavy lead pipes, which they intended to use. Luckily, I managed to get away from them, but as my car moved forward, and past there car one of them swung the pipe, intended for me, but dented the car instead. If we had of stayed there much longer things would be much different. So, I felt for several years that if I had a gun , there is no doubt I would have used it. I don’t ever feel that way, but felt abused by these guys. I had to let it go. I agree with you, that your Congress, and my Parliament, need to find better ways to deal with these situations.
    I am so sorry for the loss of your friends and family,but I am glad you are speaking out. I too will be sharing your story with others. Be strong in your convictions.

  90. First of all I am so sorry for your loss. I too feel similar to you. Thank you for starting this and I want to share on my blog. It is a very important conversation. Often it is the perpetrator and not the survivors/victims that we hear about.

  91. Hi Laurie,

    Background checks are performed in Colorado at gun shows and are also required by law for all private gun sales in Colorado. Of course, that only effects law abiding citizens and not criminals.

    As for regulation of guns, sales, etc. We already have plenty of laws regulating the sale, possession, use, carry, etc of firearms. We The People have already tolerated far more infringement upon our rights than our Founding Fathers ever would have tolerated.

    We are not going to legislate murder and evil out of existence. But, limiting freedom of law abiding citizens certainly gives the advantage to criminals. That is of course why criminals intent on getting body counts pick gun-free zones where law-abiding citizens are prohibited from carrying firearms.

    God Bless you!

    Jeff

  92. Well said. It is the same problem in the Philippines. People esp in conflict areas arm themselves because they believe the government has failed to do its duty of protecting them.

  93. A beautifully written and heartfelt piece.
    I arrived home to find the doors of my home open and entered the house with a gun in my hand. Over the next few days I realized, that taking a life would damage something in me irrevocably. The right to own weapons is not the cause of gun violence. The ownership of guns by those who are mentally ill, addicted, or convicted of criminal offenses is itself a crime. There is no link in the United States between the FBI record checks and the records of those who have been involuntarily hospitalized for presenting imminent danger harm to themselves or others. On numerous occasions as a community mental health worker I have convinced individuals with mental illness is to handover their firearms and ammunition which was then sold and the proceeds returned to them. Like so many other problems, this one originates in the injustice and inequity with the poor, the mentally ill, so many who are just different or of minority ethnic origin are treated. Many people say you are what you eat, perhaps sociologically speaking people frequently become as poor as this is the injustice that we feed them.

  94. Your positive and well thought post is appreciated. It really makes you “think” because this us everybody’s responsibility! Having an open dialogue is definitely needed. I’m definitely sharing this post!😊

  95. I haven’t read through all the comments to see if anyone’s brought this up, but it’s lingering at the back of my mind…

    To those who want to carry a weapon outside their homes because they think they might have to stop a mass shooter: Do you really go out every day expecting to come upon a shooting? If you really do go out looking for a fight, you probably should not be trusted with any weapon at all! Are you that delusional that you really think you can be a superhero and stop a crime before it happens? And if you are so afraid of the possibility that you might get shot at, how do you even get out of the bed in the morning?

    Great essay, by the way!

    1. I don’t believe people who are prepared for a mass shooter are looking for a fight. Or that they’re delusional in thinking that a shooting could happen at any moment. What’s happening, I believe, is that the shootings are occuring more often and now they happen anywhere. So those who seek to protect themselves want to be ready if the situation is thrust upon them.
      For example, where I live (and where I live is a nice and safe area) there has been a shooting at a local grocery store with the result of 2 critical injuries. This has caused fear with the local residents and many consider acquiring a weapon for protection. I agree with you that even if one does carry a weapon it is doubtful that he/she would be able to stop the shooter like superman. But, it’s the security of knowing they are ready to face the situation.

      1. But just because one carries a gun in order to protect themselves, does that mean they are ready to face a situation? That’s part of what I ask people to consider here, if they plan to carry.

      2. I don’t think anyone is ever ready. It’s one thing to imagine scenarios, but facing what you did- I can’t even imagine. Thank you for sharing your experience by the way! This is a great post and challenged me to critically analyze my own thoughts on carrying guns.

  96. I agree. One thing is to be allowed to carry a weapon, another one is the responsibility to use it against another human being. I think everything should start from education, values and moral. If these are learnt when you are kid, noone should feel like needing a gun…

  97. A discussion is always beneficial but after so many experiences such as yours, it is time for legislative action. As a minimum Congress needs to pass a law that requires effective background checks before a gun can be purchased which goes beyond a no criminal record search. We need to elect legislators who can be reasonable. It has to be possible to protect our citizens and the 2nd amendment rather than the NRA gun lobby.

  98. If the government takes away our guns, then they have the power and freedom to do much worse things than a small shooting. There is nothing good about it either way, but the way the Nazis got so much power in WWII was from taking away the civilian guns. Trust me, you do not want the federal government getting involved.

      1. What I am aiming to hear in my invitation to dialogue is not primarily your ideas or ideology. I know the positions of both “sides” so to speak. What I want to hear is how you yourself have worked through and come to the conclusions that you have. I invite you to share that personal story here, with me.

  99. I just have to say thank you for choosing to speak out on this matter. It’s not always the owner, not always the gun. And you are absolutely right, it is very important that people think things through before getting a concealed carry permit, because without proper knowledge of how you will react in any situation, you may have just created more danger.

  100. The world is so fortunate to have a voice like yours to speak for those who have experienced gun violence. I hope you always have the strength and courage to continue your journey!

  101. I’m sorry for what you had to go through but if it’s my family or someone who’s trying to end us then they must go it’s my right as a human being to be able to protect my family. Getting rid of the second amendment will not keep guns out of criminal hands. Criminals don’t obey laws. Drugs are outlawed but guess what they are on every street corner in the city and that is how it will be with guns as well. Look you don’t have to get a gun and protect yourself but I have every right to be able to protect mine.

  102. I am not from the US so it is not my place to comment about US gun controls. However, I can assure you that when the rest of the world hears of such tragedies, we do share your pain and grief. Perhaps this collective emotion can one day empower you to achieve what you strive for.

  103. Personally I think the problem has always been in the constitution and I think the right to bare arms should be repealed. I say this as an outsider because living in England gives me a different perspective. The fact that even or police officers aren’t allowed to carry guns makes a massive difference in the way gun violence is controlled. Yes we still have fun violence but not the way you guys do and not to that magnitude.

      1. A knife you take down one person, a gun, you can take down multiple before they have a chance. With a knife you have a chance to run away, with a gun the bullet can still hit you in the back, if they’re a pretty good shot. No chase necessary.

  104. Laurie, thank you for putting into words what I’ve been unable to since my own experience in a mass shooting. I get jolted back to that day often and it’s easy to feel lost in the political clutter shrouding this issue, so your post is a breath of fresh air.

  105. Can someone please explain to me how we stop the guns from getting into the hands of criminals who get them illegally? Not sure how banning guns from law abiding citizens will stop mass shootings if the manufacturing of guns will still go on. Criminals don’t follow laws-that’s what makes them criminals in the first place.

    Thank you Laurie, for your words. I believe we have a right to defend ourselves, but I also believe a world without guns gets us a little closer to peace. It’s a tough call since the first murder was by Cain with a rock to Abel’s head. Unfortunately if it isn’t guns, it’s knives, bombs, or rocks to be used as a weapon of hatred.

    What we need to be advocating for is everyone to raise consciousness and to agree to create a more peaceful experience for each other. Maybe when we start to advance mentally and spiritually, we will empathically start to see less needs for guns. I can only hope. God bless.

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