As a gun owner and game hunter, I am truly horrified and saddened by the misuse that weapons of sport and recreation have experienced in our society today.
I learned to respect weapons at an early age courtesy of my father, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the National Rifle Association (NRA). I started with BB gun target practice, then .22 cal pistol and rifle range shooting culminating with .410 gauge shotgun clay target bird shooting exercises.
Serving in the U.S. Army, I fired Expert with the M-14, 7.66 mm (.308 Winchester) rifle in basic training and later used the M-16 A-1, 5.56 (.223 Winchester) in Vietnam. The AR-15 assault rifle is an improved version of the M-16 used for combat.
While stationed in Germany, I graduated from German Hunting School (Jagdschule), where respect for the game animal and property owner was of upmost importance. Working in Bavaria, I was fortunate enough to train with a local biathlon shooting team.
I’m guessing that none of these young males who have created so much misery and horror with their mass killings had a father, BSA leader, NRA range officer or biathlon coach show them the way a weapon is supposed to be used. What a tragedy.