Op-Ed: My Daughter Died Because the Wrong Man Owned a Gun

A lifelong gun owner respects and exercises the 2nd Amendment; he also insists that some people should not be allowed access to firearms.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that a Senate gun bill will not include a ban on assault rifles. Any comments? (Photo: Screen Grab/UltraViolet)

On July 23, 2002, my daughter and grandson were shot and killed by my former son-in-law.

My daughter came to my wife’s and my home on the afternoon before she was shot and killed by her husband, a felon. I asked her if I should send someone over to have her dead bolts replaced, but she said there was no need because he had left willingly. I didn’t press the matter further—much to my wife’s and my sorrow a day later.

That very night my former son-in-law came into her house, woke her and my grandson—according to the police—and, using a high-powered pistol, either a .44 magnum or .57 magnum, shot my daughter under the chin. The bullet tore up through her head, totally disfigured her face so badly that my wife and I couldn’t recognize our daughter. But we knew it was her. The authorities had picked her up at her house and brought her to the morgue.

We didn’t want to believe the corpse was our beautiful daughter, but we knew it was. 

In addition to killing my daughter, this felon, who had been my son-in-law, shot my grandson in the legs as he was trying to escape. My grandson “bled out” before the authorities could get him to the hospital. What a horrible, horrible last few seconds on this earth my daughter and grandson must have suffered!

We talk about other nations being lawless. We have no right; we are every bit as lawless here in the U.S. We allow guns to be sold to anyone and everyone.

The NRA refuses to admit the truth about guns and those who possess them. It seems to think it is okay for everyone, including felons, to have guns.

If someone tells me they need a clip that holds 50 rounds, I know from experience they are either a bad shot or downright silly. That number of rounds in a gun is only used for mass killings—of people.

My daughter and grandson are a perfect example of why felons should not have guns of any kind.

Put the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre in my daughter and grandson’s place for those last few seconds before death. It was about two a.m., and my daughter was innocently sleeping the night away before getting up to go to work at the U.S. Postal Service. My grandson was also sleeping. He intended to wake up and go to his classes at the University of Milwaukee nursing school. What good would an open carry or concealed carry weapon do him if he were caught in that predicament?

I was born on a hillside in western Arkansas October 19, 1930, near the foot of the Ozark Mountains. When I was about five or six years old, I started hunting with my dad (who was a crack shot with rifle and pistol) as my teacher regarding guns and safety. I was taught to respect guns and to never, never, point the business end of the barrel toward another human being.

I have hunted squirrels, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, quail, deer and most all kinds of wild game in the Midwest except black bear. I own and use .22 rifles, shotguns, pistols and high-powered rifles. I keep guns in my house for protection that I would use on an intruder if necessary.

I was drafted into the army in 1951, during the Korean War era. I learned how to use the M1 rifle and became a pretty good marksman.

All the above is to say I believe in guns…for some people. I do not believe a felon should have a gun. They gave up that right when they committed their felonious act. Further, I’m against anyone owning a gun that holds more than ten rounds in its clip.

When hunting or target shooting, you don’t need more than ten rounds in the rifle’s clip. In fact, a hunter of deer should not need more than three rounds in the magazine. If a hunter is lucky, he/she will get off maybe two shots before the deer is running full speed. Very few people, only if lucky, will hit a deer running full speed—I speak from experience.

If someone tells me they need a clip that holds 50 rounds, I know from experience they are either a bad shot or downright silly. That number of rounds in a gun is only used for mass killings—of people.

I wonder if Mr. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA would change his mind on ownership of guns if he had the same experience with guns as my wife and I had with the news of our daughter and grandson’s shooting death by a felon. 

I don’t want all guns banned. I believe the U.S. Congress should ban certain guns. I don’t believe felons should be allowed to buy guns. Furthermore, those who would furnish guns to felons should suffer the same penalty that is extended to the felon if the felon is caught with a gun.

I don’t believe automatic and semi-automatic high-powered rifles, with more than ten rounds in the clip, should be for sale to the public. To allow them in the public’s hands is to allow the possibility of their being in the hands of felons. To think otherwise is ludicrous.

I live in Paul Ryan’s 1st District in Wisconsin. He and his Republican colleagues, or most of them, aren’t realistic on ownership of guns, or they are in the pockets of the NRA, or both.

In some states, a convicted felon is never cleared to legally purchase a firearm again. But 11 states, as reported by ProPublica, grant automatic restoration of gun rights to nonviolent felons, and a few make it far too easy for even violent felons who used a gun in their crime to petition to regain their gun rights.

That defies all logic.

I believe in common sense, and it’s time for Congress to believe in it too and do something about gun violence.

What do you think Congress should do about gun violence? Propose solutions in COMMENTS.

These are solely the author's opinions and do not represent those of TakePart, LLC or its affiliates.

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