My wife and I were blessed this year with our first child – our beautiful daughter Charlotte. What will I say to her when she starts attending public schools? How can I look her in the face and say that, realistically, she could get murdered at school, and we had a chance to do something to prevent that but didn’t?

When I heard the news of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., it was honestly hard to know if I was feeling depression, despair, anger or just ambivalence. Another one? Yeah, another one. This is the only country in the world where mass shootings happen so frequently. Might as well thank God that it wasn’t my daughter this time.

There has to be a solution.

We have a Second Amendment right to own firearms, but, as is the case with every other right warded to us by the Bill of Rights, that right should not be without limit. We have a right to firearms for the purposes of sport and personal safety, and as such, no private citizen has any business owning a weapon based on (and largely undifferentiated from) a weapon used by the U.S. military. Yes, that includes AR-15 variants, among other things.

Some argue that we need these weapons for the protection of our personal liberty in the event a tyrannical government should arise. This argument is in bad faith, and completely unmerited. The U.S. military today is the most fine-tuned, well-oiled instrument of total and complete destruction the world has ever seen. In a day of smart missiles, drone strikes, tactical nuclear warheads, Apache helicopters, and now, a new joint strike fighter, an AR-15 with a fancy red-dot scope is a blip on the map of irrelevance. Any illusion that its owner could take part in a successful guerrilla war against a tyrant-run military is simply that: illusion.

Still, others argue that these weapons are different enough from the military’s so as to warrant their ownership by private citizens. This, too, is in bad faith, and I’m not some namby-pamby liberal who knows nothing about guns. I enjoy them immensely, and hunting has been a hugely formative experience in my life. The simple fact is that an AR-15 variant, from and of several well-known manufacturers, has nearly the same capacity for fast-paced destruction of human lives as the weapons carried by our soldiers. Even if it didn’t, the market offers a wide array of resources to increase their killing capacity beyond even that of the military’s weapons, like bump stock and high-capacity magazines — and we haven’t even been able to outlaw those in a number of places.

My proposal is simple and three-fold. First, these weapons deserve a Class III specification. Very few of the mass shootings in the last 40 years have been committed with Class III weapons, despite their undeniable killing power. Why? They’re hard to get, and the license to own them is hard to get. Second, the background check system should be expanded, well-funded, and required for all gun sales, by businesses or by individuals. Third, outlaw sales at gun shows. We don’t need them, and the loopholes they pose to the system make our world a more dangerous place.

For the sake of all that we love, or claim to love, we need to do something. Inaction simply isn’t acceptable any longer. As Texans, our lawmakers are largely in lockstep with and in many cases financed by the National Rifle Association, and they have accordingly opposed every possible effort at meaningful reductions in gun violence.

All it has cost us was 17 children. Or was it 59 concert-goers? Or was it 50 nightclub patrons? It’s hard to remember.

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