Three hundred million guns and many millions of gun owners. This is where we are, and the numbers are growing.
Most gun owners are responsible and competent. They are not our enemy. They are fellow citizens and friends. Their strongly held views must be respected by those of us who may disagree.
Gun owners tell us they understand and practice gun safety. They say they know how to reconcile the Second Amendment and a gun-safe society.
So, let's take them at their word and give them a major role in developing a gun-safe nation.
A model for accomplishing this objective could be the way we handle another dangerous instrumentality: the automobile.
We love our cars and insist upon our right to drive. Yet we submit to considerable regulation to reduce death and injury.
Applying the automobile model to guns, we would put everything under state jurisdiction. Every state would participate and every state in conjunction with the others would establish universal standards regarding back checks, registration, licensing, ownership and testing, as well as full access to other states' data.
Each state would establish a private not-for-profit corporation for gun owners to encourage them to participate and make recommendations. Let's pull together on this.
A letter writer suggested Jan. 2 that the several states call a constitutional convention to propose an amendment to provide term limits on the Senate and House of Representatives and circumvent the entrenched Congress by having the convention themselves.
Calling a constitutional convention under Article V is probably the most dangerous endeavor the people of the United States could attempt. States have to apply to Congress to call the convention and that in-deliberative body would delay until the convention agenda was formulated to its political needs.
Once a convention is called, the entire venerable document is open to discussion and change! There is no provision in Article V that limits the scope of the deliberations and the outcome to a single article, amendment, or other clause. This means that the constitutional convention, once convened, could attack the Bill of Rights and revise it in any ill-concieved manner.
Given today's climate, we could lose the Second Amendment, freedom of speech could be redefined, and much, much more. I also agree with term limits, I just want to point out how dangerous a new constitutional convention would be.
HERBERT R. WILKINS, Hixson