Our take: Newsweek writer Kristin A. Goss talks about her father and their conversations about guns during her childhood and adolescence. Following the Sandy Hook shooting, Goss notes that there has not been a better time in decades to begin earnest conversations about guns, noting that "we must have millions of unfiltered, nuanced, and possibly unpleasant individual conversations, the kind Dad and I had, about the scourge of firearms violence."
Whenever America suffers a mass public shooting—seven times in 2012 alone— I think about my dad and our months of wrenching conversations after the Columbine High School massacre more than a decade ago.
A Colorado farm boy who grew up with guns and displayed the family rifle in his study, Dad agreed with the National Rifle Association that an armed population was a bulwark against tyranny. His wayward daughter had gone east to college (never good) and settled in Washington, D.C., the nation’s “murder capital.” While he feared the government, I was more afraid of muggers and rapists.
But Dad and I had this in common: the shooting at Columbine, just a few miles west of my high school, shook us deeply. When Coloradans had the opportunity to close the “gun-show loophole” by requiring background checks on private sales, Dad and 70 percent of his fellow voters said yes, because “something had to be done.” I went on to write a scholarly book critical of the “ban all handguns” approach of early gun-control advocates. I’d like to believe that Dad and I learned something from each other.
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