Rank-and-file Americans, most Democrats in Congress and a handful of Senate Republicans support some form of common-sense gun control. But nothing ever gets passed.

First published: June 2022.

I shot a gun. Once.

My brother was a target shooter. Many years ago, I went with him to his club and he offered me his handgun to fire. I refused. He asked again so I figured, “why not?”

I took aim at the target.

When I pulled the trigger, it was as if the bullet left the barrel in slow motion. I watched it fly in slow motion as it headed toward the target.

I felt a tremendous sense of power in the milliseconds I followed that bullet. It barely hit the target, just striking the edge. I missed like the beginner I was.

That feeling of power though was strong.

That feeling of power was so strong, so visceral, that I never again picked up a gun in my life.


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I can only imagine the feeling of power an 18-year-old must get from firing an AR15, the chosen rifle of most mass shooters. If I felt that way from a low caliber handgun, what must it feel like using a rifle that can be turned into an automatic weapon by adding a bump stock?

Such power.

Life and death power.

Now, imagine that person with psychological problems. Because that’s a given for anyone heading off with a goal of killing Blacks, or Browns, or Asians or Jews,  or children excited about the school year’s end and the anticipation of a season of swimming and fun.


But we don’t have to imagine because it’s happened too many times. A phrase we utter with each  mass shooting  – “too many times.”

Did you know that since Buffalowhen 10 people were murdered – there have been 13 mass shootings in the United States?

Add in last week’s tragic murder of 21 mostly children, and that’s more than one a day, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

We’ve listened to presidents of both parties decry this violence, call for common-sense gun control and, always, offer thoughts and prayers. We cry about the United States being the only country in the world with this problem.

And then there’s silence.

And no action.

Until the next one.

The desk inside a shooting range in West Virginia. | Unsplash/Teitur Hansen

Rank-and-file Americans, most Democrats in Congress and a handful of Senate Republicans support some form of common-sense gun control. But nothing ever gets passed.

About 90% of Americans and nearly 75% of National Rifle Association (NRA) members support stronger gun control.

No one is advocating eliminating the Second Amendment. Many, mostly Republicans, scream “they want to take away your right to own guns” whenever putting a limit on assault weapons or anything that isn’t a sports gun or rifle comes up.

Trust me, as good a job as the founders were who signed the Constitution in 1787, fresh off a revolution, they never could have foreseen many of the issues that we face in 2022. How could they?

Pew Research Center

Still, no one seriously believes we can or should eliminate the Second Amendment, even if it is replaced with something more “modern” in scope, as some have discussed.

Even if someone wanted to do that, it would take years to happen.

We have until tomorrow.

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We cry and scream every time someone, filled with hate for whatever idiotic reason, guns down a church full of people offering him solace, or a school full of children looking forward to a life full of tomorrows, or a supermarket filled with people shopping for a birthday cake for their son.

We plead every time for congressional action. Gun owners and non-gun owners alike. People who shoot or hunt regularly support it. People who have never pulled a trigger support it.

Even those who have fired a gun. Once.

We have to make it stop.

PMP Magazine


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B. Jay Cooper, Former deputy White House press secretary to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Also headed communications offices at the RNC, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Yale University.

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