By Andy CastroLang
Even the symphony is involved in the conversation!
I went to the opening of the Spokane Symphony 2014-2015 season, and expected to be entranced by beautiful music and fascinating talent.
I didn’t think I would encounter Washington Initiative 594, the background check initiative we will vote on in November.
Yet, as Eckhart Preu led the orchestra on a Sunday afternoon in the haunting opening piece, “Noble Pond” written by Chris Rogerson, I couldn’t help but think about it.
“Noble Pond” is a short, deeply moving piece of music composed in response to the death of a little boy hit by a stray bullet, as he was fishing with his granddad at a pond in Noble, Oklahoma.
The bullet came from a policeman’s gun, and it was a terrible, bizarre tragedy that no one could have imagined.
There is no direct connection between the symphony and the Initiative. But gun violence prevention is on our minds more and more. Our state, and every state, seems to be burdened with more and more gun tragedies.
So closing the loophole that allows the purchase of a gun without a background check seems a small step in the direction of greater gun safety. There is no intention in this Initiative to step on anyone’s second Amendment rights.
This Initiative is about closing a legal loophole in Washington State that allows unstable citizens, and felons of violent crime, to access guns through unlicensed on line gun sales and unlicensed sellers at gun shows who do not do a background check.
It is about lowering the number of gun deaths among victims of domestic violence by 38 percent.
It is about lowering the number of gun deaths among our police forces by 39 percent.
It is about recognizing that guns are powerful weapons, tools we can own and use.
But they are not to be used for the killing of one another.
Initiative 594 is about that.
Responsible hunters and gun owners, like my older brother and his 3 grown sons, who hunt for food and for sport, have already had the background check and paid their fees to own and use their guns.
This initiative is not about them.
My son-in-law in Texas has already had the background check and paid for a gun through a licensed dealer, he has taken the classes in gun ownership and safety, and can now own a “concealed handgun license” for his handgun.
This initiative is not about him.
This initiative does not impact the antique shotgun that is in your family and will be given to you someday by your grandpa.
It is not about that.
Nor does this initiative affect the fees you have paid and the background check that was done when you bought your gun from a licensed dealer. That won’t change.
It is not about that.
It is about respect for human life and safety.
As a pastor, as a mom, as a human being, I believe human life is sacred.
At every stage, in every way…human life is sacred.
We should do all we can to protect and nurture these sacred human lives.
Initiative 594 should not be blown out of proportion by misinformation. Please take the time to get the straight facts.
My family members will still own and control their own guns.
But the guy who robbed and pistol whipped my younger brother in Chicago, well, maybe he would not have been able to get the gun, with the help of an Initiative like this.
There are no guarantees here.
But common sense safety precautions around guns, a criminal background check to determine who can responsibly own these powerful tools…this is not something to fear.
It is something to do, now, for all of us.
Guns are powerful.
So is your vote.
Vote Yes on Initiative 594.
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