As our nation mourns the loss of 20 innocent children and six adults in the aftermath of the senseless slaughter in Newtown, Conn., it comes as no surprise that the subject of gun proliferation, especially assault weapons, will be on the front burner, and rightly so.
The ban on the sale of assault rifles expired in 1994 and from what I understand, crimes committed with those weapons decreased during that time. We are now at the crossroads of another decision -- should we once again ban the sale of these weapons of mass destruction? We may not agree on a lot of subjects in our country, but when it comes to assault weapons, there seems to be some agreement that sales should be restricted to police and the military.
Our obsession with guns has even permeated our traditional Christmas songs and movies. Bing Crosby sang that a "wish of Barney and Ben was a pair of Hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots," from the song "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." And, of course, who can forget Ralphie's request for a red Ryder BB gun from the movie "A Christmas Story." A group called the Vandals sang "A gun for Christmas" which I'm sure was not covered on a Johnny Mathis Christmas album.
Children used to sing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." Those same children are now adults and some are singing "All I want for Christmas is a semi-automatic rifle."
Maybe it's finally time to restore some sense of sanity to this issue of gun control. And yes, I know we don't want to trample on the Second Amendment but when our forefathers were drafting that provision they were looking at muskets and not AK-47s. And back then they were probably singing "Santa Claus is coming to town" and not "Santa Claus is coming to the firing range." How about having a New Year's resolution that we no longer have to endure the carnage that has been sweeping our country attributed to the sale and distribution of assault weapons. We owe our children and ourselves nothing less.
Editor's Note: Bill Kalmar of Lake Orion, Mich., retired from Comerica Bank in 1993 and was then director of the Michigan Quality Council from 1993-2003. The Fort Scott native now writes on a freelance basis.