Marla Smart

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August 28, 2014
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Gun control vs. gun safety after 9-year-old's Uzi incident | Moms

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the devastating news this week: A 9-year-old girl at a shooting range in Arizona accidentally shot her instructor with an Uzi he was teaching her to use.

I am so sad a person has died by accidental shooting. My heart breaks for that little girl and her parents as they try to cope with the death that may feel like their own fault.

No charges are being filed, but I’m sure there is confusion and fear running rampant in that household.

Gun control is one of those hot button topics.

Growing up, guns were a very visible part of my environment. My home was not the norm, though.

My father owned one that I remember seeing one time. My brothers had BB guns like every other little boy I knew.

But, around town and at friends’ houses, I saw enough gun racks and gun cabinets that it was natural to me.

We had a family friend who was killed by his younger brother when a gun was dropped and went off on a hunting trip.

Neither boy was over the age of 12. It was horrible for family and friends. I’ve never forgotten.

When my husband and I started having babies, something clicked inside of me. Though I didn’t mind people owning guns, I did not want them around my littles. That felt so natural to me. Nevertheless, we had guns in our home. They were unloaded with the ammunition stored separately and everything locked up.

In retrospect, that kind of defeats the purpose.

In the past few years, I have done a complete 180. Not only do I feel guns are important to have by right, but I even have a permit to carry.

I did not take that class lightly.

There are many who ask why I needed to do it. I tell them it is crucial to me that I be able to defend myself and my family, as well as claim my right as an American to bear arms.

I love target practice. I’m still not much of a hunter, but I feel confident holding and using many different types of guns.

And I am not “packing” at school as a teacher, but that is a topic for another day.

Gun safety is key to this. I’m not talking about the “gun safety” that really means “gun control.”

I’m talking about Gun Safety: learn to use a gun correctly if you are going to have one.

Did those parents make the wisest decision having their 9-year-old on a shooting range? That’s not really for me to say about them.

I want my children to have a healthy respect for guns from an early age.

That means they know there are guns in the house and that they should never handle them without permission.

When we deemed them old enough to learn everything about safety and operation of guns, we got them the education they needed appropriate for their age.

I think those parents were trying to do just that.

It is tragic that an accident occurred. Loss of human life is awful and wrong and something I would not want anyone to experience.

I pray those involved in this incident will have peace during the coming days and weeks.

We need to not lose sight in the midst of this that guns are an essential part of life as Americans.

Respect for their power and safety instruction are necessary.

If those two are not in place, or if someone has a fear of guns, of course they should not own them. But those who can, should.

Additional content: Taking aim at providing protection for yourself, your family

We need to not lose sight in the midst of this that guns are an essential part of life as Americans.

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The News-Review Updated Sep 11, 2014 09:00AM Published Sep 22, 2014 10:17AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.