• Gun owners need to be responsible
    February 09,2013

    Gun owners need to be responsible

    My nephew was a young fellow in grade school when he and his little cousin were coming through the summer kitchen of the old farmhouse where they lived. There were a bunch of rifles stacked in the corner. He grabbed a shotgun out of the stack and pointed it at his cousin and pulled the trigger.

    No one thought there was a loaded gun in that stack — but there was — and one little boy lost his life. Really, two little boys lost their lives because the ongoing nightmare that the survivor lived was truly tragic.

    Yes, people have the right to bear arms, but it seems to me that the gun owner must carry his share of that burden of responsibility. If you own a gun and you do not properly secure it, or even if you do properly secure it, I believe that when it has been available to a child under any circumstance, then the gun owner should receive an automatic jail sentence, and that sentence should be substantial where death is resulting.

    I would not presume to write that law in this short letter, but I know that my nephew carried a very heavy burden throughout his life and the gun owner got away with only a guilty conscience. This situation has never produced justice, but a law could be written that would make the gun owner responsible, and I believe there should be a minimum sentence that would be automatic and would include anyone of whatever age or means.

    With this letter I challenge our Legislature to write this law — and pass it. Let Vermont be the first state to address the “gun problem” in a practical way. Should you do so, I would consider it an honor to the two boys involved if you would name that law “The Patrick Law.” Thank you.

    Arnold Martin


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