I grew up with guns. There were a few in the gunin our summer house in Vermont. We used them and no one was ever hurt by them. , my father would fire one in the air to people who tried to pick our blueberries.
But that was decades ago. Now, our neighbor in Missouri tells us he has "enoughto a group for a couple weeks, even a month." My wife joked, "Do you expect a ?"
My brotherhere once had 17 guns. He was afraid our last president, Barack Obama, would pass gun control laws. "Whoever wants to take away my gun ," he said. That feeling is so common, it's on T-shirts and . People think all Americans love guns, but that's not really true. Most of us don't, but a small minority them. The 3 percent of the population that is like our neighbor owns half of all the guns.
Despite that, there is a long history of gun control in the States. Many people want to see stricterto stop high-risk people getting a gun license. For example, are male and often have a history of domestic violence. But since a quarter of domestic violence cases are never reported, many people can still buy a gun.
Also, some mass shooters have noat all. The Las Vegas shooter who killed more than 50 and wounded 500 in September not of a previous crime.
Background checks aren't the only form of possible gun control. The gun maker Colt oncethe federal government and another gun maker to produce "smart guns" that — like smartphones — could only be unlocked and used by their owners. But then America's powerful gun lobby — led by the National Rifle Association — got involved. They started a , and Colt gave up on the project.
Meanwhile, there's an average of one mass shooting a day, with 33,000 gun deaths a year.
I remember in Japan, you could only own afor hunting, not a handgun, and it took up to six months to get a license. The process included a . , in South Korea, you can also only get a shotgun for hunting, but you have to the gun the local police station at the end of the day!
This all makes me feel very guilty as an American, but as a non-gun owner I feelto change the laws here or people's behavior. While I was writing this essay, another American probably died of gun violence.
The Japan Times ST: December 1, 2017