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Opinion | No gun control? Fine. Open your wallet to pay for safety measures

On Memorial Day, we mourned for the servicemen and women lost defending our country. But today, most of all, I mourn for the children of Uvalde, Texas. I mourn for their classmates, teachers and parents. May 24 was a day every parent and educator prays will never occur in their community.

Tim Quinn
Dr. Tim Quinn is President Emeritus of Northwestern Michigan College and founder and former owner of the Michigan Leadership Institute. (Courtesy photo)

Unfortunately, over the past 23 years, this awful reality show has played out too many times – from Columbine to Sandy Hook, Parkland, Oxford, Virginia Tech and more. Innocent young people have been gunned down while simply going to school.

I’m compelled to write as a lifelong hunter and gun owner, a parent of educators, a grandparent of five school-aged children, and former teacher, coach, school superintendent and college administrator.

I don’t believe Uvalde will finally shame our national “leaders” into having the courage to wrest themselves from the control of the gun lobby feeding their campaign coffers. No leaders of any other civilized nation view the lives of children as “expendable” in protecting their next election.

So, if we can’t pass reasonable gun safety legislation, I propose an alternative for ensuring the safety of our children and their teachers: 1) Add up the total expense of security protection for our elected officials in Washington – the  capital police, secret service, contracted security firms, D.C. police, and National Guard. 2) Divide that amount by the total number of elected officials to get a per head protection cost. 3) Allocate that same per head cost to all schools (Pre-K through university) in the country, to be used for the direct protection of their 75 million students and teachers.

Will this be expensive? Absolutely!! Are the lives of youth and their teachers any less valuable than the lives of our federal elected officials? Let’s take a poll – I think we all know how that might turn out.

Here are two options for funding this protection. One, impose a national income tax, applied on a progressive basis from wealthiest to poorest. Maybe the rich won’t have as much money for taking joy rides into space, but, hey, everyone has to make sacrifices.

Or, impose an annual gun licensing fee, with proceeds earmarked for protection of children. I pay annual fees on my truck, ATV, and boat; annual licenses to hunt and fish and even for my dog. I possess six shotguns, two rifles and a pistol. So why don’t I have an annual fee for my guns? This could be on a sliding scale from a modest fee for a shotgun to a pricey fee for an AR-15 manufactured to kill many human beings quickly. Just an option. (I’m also required to have insurance on my vehicles. Why not liability insurance requirements for gun ownership?)

If Congress does nothing again, as I fear, brace yourselves for the next school shooting, coming to a community near you – sponsored by the gun lobby and their minions in Washington. In the meantime, make this issue a priority when you vote and get active in organizations fighting gun violence.

May God Bless America!!

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