Letter: Common-sense attitude toward guns will save lives

As a Vietnam vet, an owner of both a rifle and a pistol, and as a not-so-successful sheep hunter, I am one of thousands of Alaskans and millions of Americans with guns as part of our lives. I am also a father. It is because I am all of the above that I know the sickening nightmare of the Sandy Hook school massacre challenges us to change.

The change we need has nothing to do with losing our rights. What we need is common-sense gun safety. Banning assault weapons, restricting ammunition magazines and requiring background checks on all sales is a start. The families and friends of the victims of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson and Aurora might ask, why did it take so long. I don’t know that answer. All we know is the shame we must share if we do nothing.

As a former elected official, I have seen the power of people to create change despite the opposition and clout of well-connected and well-financed organizations and lobbyists. So, I proudly join all of the vets, gun owners and hunters who understand and value the rights and responsibilities that come with gun ownership and have the willingness to state their case. Common-sense action of gun safety will not really change our lives as gun owners but it may change the life of one innocent child by saving it.

— Tony Knowles

former governor of Alaska