To the editor: Gun owners, control advocates can find common ground

On March 14, I watched about 30 Leland and Gray students walk out of their school and conduct a 17-minute demonstration to honor the 17 students and teachers who were slaughtered in the April 14 school-shooting in Florida, and to demand action by national and state legislators to prevent such tragedies from happening again.

The names of the Parkland victims were read, Amazing Grace was sung, and students chanted in unison as a list of conventional excuses for inaction was recited. It was a well-organized, respectful and powerful act of civil disobedience, which was planned and conducted entirely by the students.

They deserve to be congratulated. I was especially impressed by one young man, dressed in a plaid hunting jacket, who spoke in support of the demonstrators and saluted their courage, while also stating that he loved guns and hunting. His remarks gave me a glimmer of hope that respectful conversation can bridge the gap between those who grew up with guns and revere them, and those who feel that there must be some restrictions placed on access to the most lethal weapons.

There is, I believe, a way to respect Vermont’s hunting culture and the Second Amendment, and also take prudent steps to protect our most vulnerable citizens – our children and grandchildren – by instituting universal background checks, better school security and a ban on the sale of military style weapons, bump stocks and high capacity magazines.

To begin a productive dialogue both sides have to set aside conventional stereotypes. Gun owners do not love their guns more than they love children. Advocates of limited gun control are not flaming liberals who want to disarm everyone. Extremists and fear mongers thrive on promoting such false dichotomies.

We can find common ground, but only if we stop demonizing the opposition and start listening to one another.

Bill Dunkel

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: CommentaryLetters to the Editor

About the Author:

RSSComments (4)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Joshua Carlisle says:

    I agree with Mr. Dinkle in part that there needs to be common ground and better protection for all kids but to ban any firearm is unacceptable for one simple reason as the most recent shooting in Maryland proves. Criminals or those going to commit a crime are not swayed by more laws or gun free zones and good people with guns do and can make a difference and like the 2nd Amendment there is also our civil liberties that says equal protection under the law so I ask how is it equal if only the criminal element can get whatever they want and people like myself have to either become criminal or abide by a ban ?

  2. Justin Turco says:


    The Second Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting. It’s all about making sure the common man and women is equally capable against a government or individual bent on doing harm.

    My Remington 7700 deer rifle is a “brown” military style weapon. FULLY semi-automatic and far more powerful than the little black guns you are presently after. There is no end to the list of guns you actually will see fit to ban.

    There is also no way you are going to effectively institute universal background checks on people who don’t want to be checked. “What….this gun?…oh..this was given to me by my dad.” That will always be the story. And how would you prove that not to be the case? You don’t know what my dad owns. The only way you could know…is if you instituted universal gun registration and then kept track of who sold what to whom. Guess what.. Nobody needs that information. Not having that information is what keeps tyrants and bad guys guessing. Just as the founding fathers intended.

    We’ve got plenty of options to increase school safety and they have NOTHING to do with infringing on ANY of the rights guaranteed by the constitution. That’s our only option and the only things that will actually work anyway.

    Making the AR-15 illegal DOESNT stop a school shooting. BEEFING UP THE SECURITY AT ENTRY POINTS AND PUTTING LOCKABLE DOORS ON CLASSROOMS DOES. And let’s give that heroic, football coach (Who gave his life in Parkland) a lockbox with a gun and some training. Guarantee you…he wouldn’t have hid outside the school like the safety officer did. He’d of shot the attacker right between the eyes.

    Layers…that’s what a school needs. Still a dangerous world, but there are plenty of things that can be done. Now let’s get to work putting these things in place.

    And finally, Tell the legislators in Montpelier…we don’t need them. They can light up a legal joint out behind the statehouse cafeteria uand when they are done, get back to figuring out how to get us us to register our bicycles and which home appliances need to be made illegal because they aren’t energy efficient enough. All things these folks have been working on in 2018.

  3. Bob DePino says:

    “Advocates of limited gun control are not flaming liberals who want to disarm everyone.”
    Judging by all the anti-gun amendments added to 2 bills, the anti-gun legislators are absolutely out to disarm law abiding citizens.
    Semi-Auto BAN, Magazine BAN, age change to exercise your right to keep and bear arms, 10 day waiting period, mandated storage at all times, and on and on…
    You can’t own a banned firearm.
    You can’t own a banned magazine.
    You can’t BUY a firearm.
    You can’t possess your firearm for ten days.
    Certainly seem like steps towards disarmament.
    Not a single proposal would disarm criminals, levy penalties on criminals, and not stop crimes with guns.
    But, stopping crime isn’t what these laws are about.

  4. Otis Nelson says:

    I am happy to hear Mr. Dunkel is paying attention to what the kids are doing at school. But, respectfully, it is obvious that he has not been paying as close attention to what the liberals are proposing in Montpelier!