As a gun owner, here are new laws I support to help stop school shootings

·2 min read

As a practically lifelong gun owner (I got my first .22 rifle at age 12 and now keep that rifle, three shotguns and a Glock pistol in a gun safe), I’m somewhere between Second Amendment, pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-fingers absolutists and the confiscate-them-all anti-gunners.

I wrote gun policy editorials for USA TODAY for years, so I know most or all of the statistics, including the murder and suicide rates. I even walked around for a day once with a friend with a loaded .45 on my hip in open-carry Arizona to see what it was like. Cool, weird, no need to repeat it.

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After the failure of even minimal gun restrictions in Congress following the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, nothing surprises me.

'Red flag' laws could prevent violence

But I keep hoping. If I could wave a wand and make two things happen in Congress, they would be these:

Universal emergency protective orders (“red-flag” laws). Most of the guys – and they overwhelmingly are deluded and angry young men – who walk into schools to shoot kids have said or done extremely troubling things leading up to the massacres, usually enough to alert friends, family, teachers to their growing lunacy.

What we're teaching children: Who do you become when you are a child drilled to look for school exits and places to hide?

Give people the right – and if possible the duty – to report them, and a judge the power (where it doesn’t already exist) to confiscate their guns at least temporarily and bar them from buying more.

Yes, there a lot of problems with this, and it’s at best a partial fix, but we’ve got to try things.

Require background checks and safety training

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►Serious universal background checks, rigorous gun use and safety training, and make it a felony (or serious misdemeanor) not to lock up your guns at home. I know from experience how quickly you can get into a well-designed gun safe to get the gun if you really need to protect yourself. Two to four seconds.

I wrote an editorial once about the danger of kids getting their parents’ unsecured guns and accidentally killing themselves or someone else. I needed real-life examples, and I quickly had more than I could use, each sadder and more infuriating than the next.

George Hager, now retired, was a member of USA TODAY's Editorial Board and previously served as White House editor and defense and foreign policy editor.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas shooting - As a gun owner, here are the changes in law I support